We Are All on the Same Team
As I was scrubbing dishes and listening to the audiobook titled Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential — and Endangered by Bruce D. Perry, I had an epiphany.
“There are specific networks in the brain devoted to determining whether an individual is one of ‘us’ or one of ‘them’– and if someone is categorized as ‘them,’ the facility of empathy can be deeply reduced, even shut down entirely.”
This idea was not entirely new to me, and it is probably not new to you, either. The majority of us would agree that the us-versus-them type of thinking is at the core of hate crimes, wars, genocides, and other atrocities.
In the next portion of the same chapter, the author continued to discuss how it is naturally easier for us to empathize with those who share similar characteristics with us, such as race. But “when people are seen as ‘being on the same team,’ there is evidence that race fades in importance, even on unconscious measures.”
I might be, yet again, desperately searching for a silver lining in this whole situation. But what if the microscopic particle, SARS-CoV-2, is the reminder that we are all on the same team? This pandemic has caused us so much grief and anxiety over the past few weeks, and it has also highlighted inequalities that exist within our society, which is an entirely separate topic. But it has also reminded us that there is an invisible thread connecting all humans. This virus does not care what we look like, where we live, who we know, what we own, to what political party we belong, or what we believe. To this virus, we are all the same.
And while there remains a great deal of unknown, as Oprah Winfrey said, “…I know for sure there is no them – there’s only us.”