The Same but Different


Let’s compare apples to apples as the saying goes. It means let’s be sure we are comparing the same things to each other, not confusing apples with oranges. And yet in the world of apples there is quite a variety of options. Some people like yellow or green apples, others will only eat red ones. There are as many varieties of apples as there are people who eat them. Crips ones, mealy ones, soft ones, ones good for baking, others good for feeding livestock, and still others that are sour or sweet. This photo from a Japanese grocery store reminded me that even though they are the same apples can still be different from each other.

Listening to the radio today I heard generic terms being thrown out within the media which assumed that everyone who was identified by that label – democrat, republican, liberal, conservative – were all the same; they thought the same, voted the same, spent the same, believed the same. This photo reminded me that this assumption does not ring true. Not everyone who identifies with any of those labels are exactly the same, just like all apples are not like all other apples.

It is easier to assume that people we label are the same, then we don’t have to take the time to get to know the real person. We can simply dismiss them because we ‘think’ they are all alike, when in reality we are not thinking at all. No two people are alike, think the same, act the same, even love the same. By putting labels on them we are minimizing our own ability to see the truth, we miss the sweetness under the peel or the sour that makes a caramel apple worth eating. Our label shows our own ignorance, our own self centeredness, our own inability to delve beyond the surface.

The discussion on the radio made me mad. It agitated my kindness  and bothered my sensibilities, so I turned it off. I rode in silence and let my own thoughts and ideas swirl around my head, making me think about the labels I use to compare apples to apples, or apples to oranges. It made me think about the labels I use, the assumptions I make, and reminded me that all apples are not alike.

Fruit will always be easier to classify than people; with people we will always be the same but different. We all want to be loved, to have something to do, to have somewhere to go. No matter the label we all want to be happy, have peace, a safe place to sleep, and a full belly. We want to care for the ones we love, and protect those who are weaker than ourselves. We may go about it in different ways and use different words to describe our views and opinions, in the end we are the same yet still different. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?

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