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          Life too short to get caught up in small differences

          Tiffany Oliver

          Issue date: 4/9/10 Section: Opinion
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          I have often heard that the tragedy of life is that we die. However, I tend to think the true tragedy is our failure to acknowledge that we are all interconnected, choosing instead to ignore other people by creating barriers and differences that continually pull people apart. We make categories that label people by physical characteristics or belief systems that serve to differentiate instead of unite.

          As humans, we are on a shared journey through existence, and our timeline is so miniscule when compared to how long the world has existed. It is tragic that we have such a limited amount of time to live, but so much of our lives are dedicated to activities other than attempting to extract the most out of life experiences. Countless times, I've seen students holed up in study rooms on weekends spending time on achieving a letter. Instead of going out and sharing experiences with other people, students obsess about grades. Sure, getting good marks affords students the opportunity to attend top graduate schools, but in the larger perspective, grades are irrelevant. I doubt before people die, they remember life by what grades they received, or what graduate school they attended. I would guess that people recall the experiences they had and what emotions they held, not how much they learned in academic terms.

          People are people. We all are related because we are the same species, and should be focused on helping others experience as much as possible before dying. Instead, people are focused on separating themselves from other people through dehumanizing crimes and atrocities such as rape and murder, genocide and war. Humans have created all the bad that occupies the world, and still attempt to destroy each other. The fact that we have great difficulty truly understanding how limited our lives are holds us back from living for experiences, not tangible goals.

          People get caught up in the cycles of life, the pressures to conform to certain values, and eventually we become tied to things that do not matter. We cling to ideas and beliefs and spend time ridiculing others instead of attempting to see the world through a different perspective, which can be a powerful experience. Instead of combining differing opinions into a catalyst for enriching our world view, people become combative. Accepting that different societies have different views, and that these differing views create an atmosphere that allows people to have distinct experiences, is crucial in our journey to understand life.

          Although each of us has a different path through existence, all of us are on a shared voyage, and are moving along a timeline where they occupy such a short segment of time. The voyage is a continued cycle of matter coming into and out of existence, and as people we have the same fate. As people, we are a part of one another, in that being human makes us all part of the same journey. Our journey is to have as many experiences as possible, and to be content with these experiences when we die. We should seek to help all others accomplish this task instead of configuring ways to destroy our unique connection.
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