Theories about the creation of people, that I know about anyway, seem to come down to three:
God created Adam in the Garden of Eden.
All people evolved somewhere in Africa.
Some combination of the two happened.
Maybe that is 2 1/2 theories.
In any case, it hit me that they all have something in common. At some point, there was only one: one creature of both sexes or one man (depending on the version of the creation story you are reading in the Torah), or one person (beginning the evolutionary chain).
One. One body. One soul.
Think about that. Today there are over 7.5 BILLION. From one to 7.5 billion.
(You can watch the world population number go up here: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ if you are that kind of person. Apparently I am. I found it oddly fascinating to watch the page tick off births, deaths, and today's population increase.
And I had to check: The US has the 3rd largest population in the world. Israel has the 98th largest, which is kind of scary.)
Anyway, back to the point... which is that everyone alive today is, at base, related. We all came from that one body and one soul.
Religiously I'd been taught that before but it never really resonated with me. You know how sometimes something is just words, then suddenly you realize, on some deep level, what the words mean. I had been told many times that the reason God made only one man during creation was so that no one could claim their ancestors were created before other peoples'. After all, everyone came from that same guy.
And I've read a little about evolution. In fact I have a book in my unread book pile about evolution right now. (Perry Marshall, Evolution 2.0 - no recommendation, after all it is in my unread pile, but it seems like it will be a fascinating read when I get to it. He is a Christian who believes in intelligent design and science. This book is his reconciliation of the two.)
Yesterday, my rabbi was NOT talking about this. But, in talking about repairing the world, he explained that we could envision that original one soul being fractured, like dropping a very large glass bowl, into millions of pieces. (He went on to say it is our job to help find and put all the pieces back together, but that is not what this piece is about.)
That image, though, shook me up and gave me one of those "light bulb" moments.
We all came from the same soul, the same breath of God being breathed into one lump of clay. Or, if you don't believe in God, from whatever evolutionary nudge caused an aquatic creature to become a land based creature drawing its first breath of air.
It was a wake up moment for me. That that first breath of air (wherever it came from) was my first breath of air, was everyone alive today's first breath of air.
Yoko Ono, of all people, (not my favorite anything I have to admit, even though I don't think she broke up the Beatles. If you don't know who the Beatles are, don't worry about it) did write a poem I always thought was kind of profound. It's called AIR TALK and strangely enough, it sums up what I've been saying:
It’s sad that the air is the only thing we share.
No matter how close we get to each other,
there is always air between us.
It’s also nice that we share the air,
No matter how far apart we are
the air links us.
No matter what some racist, pseudo-scientists may say about the inherent differences between the races, that first breath of air links us all. It will always link us all.
It might be a better world if folks would think about that before maiming and killing; or even before just being rude or nasty to other people who share the same life's breath.
I am certainly going to make an effort to keep it in the front of my mind before I open my mouth to deliver, what would previously have been, some off-hand cutting remark to the person next to me who shares the air.