sim diff



The post is a kind of meditation on ‘similarity and difference’ which takes thoughts to and fro and back again making one a little dizzy in the process with possibly some meaning dawning finally at the end.

In the Big Bang of creation the unity of the Universal Essence transformed itself into an unimaginable diversity with intimate linkages to retain its essential unity. What therefore emerged was similarities and differences. Therefore even our thinking processes are marked by this characteristic process, to contrast and relate through comparisons. Our memory and ability to recognize can only work through this dual faculty of relating and differentiating. Our behaviour and emotions also arise through the application of this dual approach in observation. Racial prejudice from discerning differences in colour and feature, humanism from identifying similarities. We wish to retain our particular identity and culture (similarity) and repel alien influences  (difference) or  again imbibe appealing  foreign influences while maintaining our essential identity.

Thus our behavioural reflex begins to be determined by relationships of  brother, cousin, clansmen, racial type, foreigner, alien. Each category of similarity and difference produces a typical and strong reaction: sympathy  towards a similarity, as with ones siblings, ethnic group, race, nationality and the human species; interest in and curiosity for the difference  in  foreigners and aliens; or then, repulsion towards similarities and attraction towards differences as in sex ( the majority that is) or again antagonism towards differences as with alien forms and types that are dangerous, repulsive and sinister. In certain cases similarity appeals in others it repels, likewise in certain situations difference attracts in others creates opposition. Both help us relate to and understand the other who is linked in some way with us.

Nature also evolves by  introducing further variation (difference).  The Order Parrot has subdivided into numerous species and subspecies. Their similarity is that they share the features of the same order but thereafter they have numerous differences. In a larger spiral we link the parrot with  the class called birds and birds onwards to animals all with similarities and differences.  ( I am not a biologist so I may be imprecise in my broad definitions). Nature while producing variation is careful in maintaining distinction. Thus at the one end are the limits to hybridization and at the other the inefficacy and prohibitions of  inbreeding ( I call it the Brink or the Abyss). Nature refuses to allow untenable hybrids thus the mule ( horse + donkey) is a genetic punctuation mark beyond which no further confusion of  the species is tolerated, as the mule is always neuter. The Ligers ( tiger + lion) are neither attractive nor genetically strong and frequently sterile. The maintenance of distinction (different identities) is the necessary basis for sustaining creation. More variation is necessary for evolution but only up to a limit – man cannot be allowed to grow wings or birds develop hands – no unfettered permissiveness allowing haphazard mergers of attributes leading to an anarchy of unimaginable monstrosities leading to obliteration of identifiable and regulated entities  and types that are viable. However it appears that some mutations are experimented with, like the growth of the brain of the ape into the mind of man – risky but worth the risk! but no x- men for now.

At the other end is a danger of a different sort. We saw that through untenable mergers the death knell of creation could be sounded because it would lead to a tragicomic chaos and obliteration of definition through a kind of genetic babel. Equally the death knell can sound if too much order of uniformity was allowed, leading to a world of clones. Inbreeding taken to extremes could mean the production of  identical entities cloning out all differences, which of course would be like putting all your eggs in one basket. Linked to  the ‘sin’ of inbreeding is the phenomenon of asexual reproduction in some lizards where the offspring are all clones that perish together when afflicted by  a particular disease. As too much mixing ( difference) can erase identities, so also excessive uniformity (similarity) can merge them. Nature strikes a balance by allowing wide variation within reasonable limits, a great deal of variety without licence – a great many connecting links and similarities without a monotonous and repetitive homogeneity – nature allows a diverse essence. Furthermore even within the same species no two men are alike, neither their natures nor their fingerprints, not even for twins. Yet the linkages underlie the similarities connecting them stage by stage, level by level to the whole animal world and that world to the whole universe.

We are permitted a great many differences in a sea of similarity which links us to a common origin. Withdraw the difference and creation collapses into a great unity, supremely concentrated, supremely introspective, contemplating the next big bang of creation. Then from this unity again arises a chain reaction of variation, blossoming forth into creation, cycle after cycle after cycle.