Monday, October 18, 2010

No Man is an Island

I went to the Global Oneness Banquet tonight, and it reminded me of a lot of things that I have experienced in the past. Before anyone got into the room, we were assigned a role: everyone was split up into high income, middle income, and low income. The high-income group got to sit at tables with candles and they got served a three-course meal. The middle-income group got to sit in chairs and got to have beans and rice, along with the choice between water and lemonade. The low-income group, however, had to sit on the ground, and only got rice and water. Not only that, but women in the low-income group had to wait after the men got their meals. Of course, with my luck, I was in the low-income group. As soon as the women were allowed to eat, I went to the front of the line. I noticed there was only one tray of rice, and immediately I thought as part of the role-play, that would be the only food allotted for the low-income class. Because of this, I only took half of a scoop so everyone else would be able to get a decent amount.

This event is very similar to something my sophomore history teacher did to our class. While we were studying the caste system of India, she made our class become a sample of the caste system. Of course, with my luck, I was an untouchable. Being an untouchable meant that I could not speak during class and had to sit on the floor in a corner. No one could talk to me of a higher class could talk to me, nor could I attempt to talk to anyone else. Immediately, like in the Global Oneness Banquet, I could feel the separation between myself and the other groups. There was no equality, and the smallest group of people had mostly all of the power. It reminded me of almost an oligarchy of the world; that the world is run by a few individuals, all those who have money.

Something that really hit home with me was the fact that we are all a part of the same Earth. The banquet was about Global Oneness and that phrase really struck me because it reminded me of the John Donne poem called “No Man is an Island.” The poem essentially states how everyone in the world is connected, no matter what. Donne even goes as far to say, “If a clod be washed away by the sea/Europe is the less.” He really puts emphasis on the fact that we are all connected, a sense of global oneness that I know this banquet wanted to achieve.

Another aspect of the banquet I found interesting was that one of the speakers mentioned that everyone on Earth has the same basic needs. Immediately, it reminded me of the poem “Common Ground.” It reminded me how everyone eventually will return back to the earth, to a common ground, and the circle of life is complete. It also made me think of how everyone, regardless of their income level, has situations they can relate to. No matter where you are, there will be issues of gossip and heartbreak, if it’s in a high school locker room or in a village in the Amazon. We all have common themes, common aspects in our lives that affect all of us as a whole on this planet, but obviously in different ways. I know I sound like a hippie right now, but it really got me thinking about the whole unity and harmony between the earth and its inhabitants.

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