The section of the document continues the focus on expanding the basis of human identity:

At the collective level, this shared identity, which is spiritual in nature, serves as the basis for regarding humanity as one. Not only does it override differences that arise on account of birth or upbringing, but it also inspires action by uniting people and leading them to cooperate, to form relationships and build communities. It is only in this way that human beings can fulfill their dual purpose which is to develop their individual potentialities and to contribute to the advancement of society. The principle of the oneness of humankind is an expression of our underlying reality.

The analogy of the human body illustrates how the principle of oneness can govern social organization. Within the body, millions of cells, with an extraordinary diversity of forms and functions, collaborate to make the existence of the human being possible. They give and receive whatever is needed for their individual function as well as for the growth and welfare of the whole. No one would try to explain the life of a healthy body in terms of concepts used so freely to describe society nowadays, such as the concept of self-interested competition for scarce resources. Nor would one argue that in order for the body to function better, all of its cells should become identical; such uniformity would make the body incapable of carrying out any of the complex functions necessary for its existence. The principle that governs the functioning of the human body is unity in diversity. It is possible to conceive of human society in a similar way. Society is composed of myriads of individuals and groups who have various affiliations and secondary identities but who also have a primary identity, rooted in the spiritual nature that they share with the rest of humanity. This identity that reflects the reality of all human beings forms the basis of their collective efforts to advance the common good.

There are undeniably groups of people in the world today, women most certainly among them, who experience oppression and whose positive sense of identity is being undermined.  The identities of such groups who have been oppressed need to be recognized and affirmed.  Yet, a mature humanity must needs go further and recognize the broader identity shared by all in order to overcome the injustices facing so many.

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.

Advertisements