Division is a big business

Below is Whisper #10 from my latest book, 48 WHISPERS, which is a collection of photographs and personal meditations created across a decade of travel to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the surrounding northern plains. 

Division is a big business—perhaps the most powerful one on Earth. Gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, political persuasions, and geography are all opportunities to divide. Each divide creates a kingdom. Every nation needs a government, every state, a governor. Every religious institution needs a holy man, every constituency, an advocate.

Imagine viewing Earth from the moon. From that vantage point you would see a single tribe sharing a spiraling blue planet. Or imagine traveling back in time to witness that all anatomically modern humans originated in Africa.

While both views have a perception-altering allure, they also bring considerable risk to the status quo. Many positions of power would be compromised if all humans were to unite under a common banner or flag. Unity, despite its appeal, would topple too many castles, capitals, and corner offices. Additionally, our clan alliances help to create our identities and define our stories.

Are the social, economic, and historic challenges at Pine Ridge only an Oglala, Lakota, or Sioux concern? I hope not. But ultimately the answer depends on how far back we are each willing to walk our view.

The pull of the past divides, but the potential for a better future can unite. Humanity’s challenges and opportunities are now global, but our alliances are still local. This is a disconnect that must be bridged, one human at a time. If the only truth you can respect is your own, then you are a contributor to the big business of division.