I have always been a movie lover and a fan of horror stories. I remember watching the Hollywood horror movie SAW and seeing how the Jigsaw Killer tested his Victims’ will to live by facing them with deadly games where they had to inflict pain on themselves and choose the body part to cut off to continue living. At one point, I paused and asked myself: if I were to lose an arm which would it be? I honestly did not need to think of it much as it would be my left hand since I am right-handed. The thought that I favored my right hand over my left hand had me thinking of how impossible it is to argue for equality when the human complex is fundamentally biased. If, for example, we say every life is equal and of importance in society, does this mean the life purpose of some is to fill the order of mediocrity or die, for some others to enjoy life? If this is the case, is it ‘smart’ to say every life matters for the order of society to matter? If we all can’t be equal, should our frustrations go to God for making us different or to religion for complacent beliefs that our destinies are all different? Or should we blame ourselves for stepping into a world our life upon birth would forever be subject to the color of our skin, the class of our family, our physical attributes, or the nation or region of our birthplace?
Once upon a time, I witnessed the killing of a cow for meat. The gory sight made me sick and to detest animal butchering. On that spot, I started considering becoming a vegan and, when I had my first slice of roasted beef, I had to reflect on what it means to be a vegan; That I won’t kill or take any products of animals, and that I would become pro-animal life. I couldn’t even mention this to my close friend Sammy who had long concluded I was a cannibal since she discovered I eat rabbits. She is not a vegan, but to her, the life of a rabbit should matter. Above all other livestock for meat; cows, birds, etc. In reality, the more comfortable we get as humans, the more we raise the banner of what matters in society. If faced with some scarcity or hunger, we would eat everything that comes our way, either animal, nature, or people.
To say all life matters is to argue for equality of all belief, equality of all desires, equality of all satisfaction, equality of all history, equality of all decisions, equality of all development, equality of all knowledge, equality of all perspectives, equality of all interests, equality of all mistakes, equality of all sins, equality of all suffering. To believe all these are possible is the beginning of the end of a mortal mind.
Let’s take, for example, the case of Black Lives Matter (BLM), a decentralized political and social movement that seeks to highlight racism, discrimination, and inequality experienced by black people. While this is a supposed movement by black people globally, black people in America and Europe do not see themselves as equals to black people in Africa. Black people of lighter skin in Africa do not see themselves as equals with black people of darker skin in Africa. Black people with ancestral lineage to land do not see themselves as equals with other black people in Africa. Hence, while there can be equality in identity amongst persons and groups, there can’t be equality of self amongst persons and groups. If there can’t be ‘equality of self’ amongst persons and groups, why, then, do we act surprised that some deaths are merely quantitative while others’ are phrased as “The exit of an icon”?
What we consider as ‘The Truth’ is subjective to everyone, and that we all have our ‘The Truth’ is a reminder that our moral grounds are designed differently with windows from different angles. If ‘The Truth’ is that all life matters, then we must reflect deeper to see if this ‘The Truth’ is not a confirmation of our unintended life role of fitting into the scales that balance order in the society. If we all matter, then we all become equals. If we all become equals, then it means we all care. If we all care, then it means we all become aware. If we all become aware, what stories do we tell?
In the end, time will always tell what matters.