While I was writing another article, the word 'sinister'
cropped up and sparked another thought in my mind. If you have a little bit of knowledge of
Latin (or of Asterix books), you will know that 'sinister' is the Latin
word for left. The word for right is dexter, the root of English words like dexterous and dexterity.
The fact that a word which originally meant left is used in this manner in English betrays a deep rooted tendency
in our culture to confront difference with fear and mistrust. About 87% of the adult population is right-handed.
It was only a few hundred years ago when left-handedness was used as evidence of possible witchcraft and led to
persecution, torture and sometimes gruesome death.
That might sound ridiculous, but this still goes on today. It has just shifted to other differences. Race, nationality,
sexual preference, disability etc. The irrational fear leads to mistrust, discrimination and in extreme
circumstances to war and death. On a personal level, the fear of being different psychologically enslaves
people as they try to fit in with the crowd by suppressing their true personality and talents.
Perhaps the powers that be have a vested interest in maintaining these irrational fears. I recently went to watch
Prince Caspian with my children.
I was struck by the fact that all the bad guys looked like Iranians. Subtle Hollywood!
Embracing difference is the path to psychological freedom. The path away from fear and into a loving and fulfilling life.
The path to a better future for the human race. In my opinion, the only way we can ultimately survive some tough times
which will face us very soon as the population begins to outgrow the planet.
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