All Men are not Born Equal

All Men are not Born Equal

I believe all men are not equal. I do not hold this to be true in a racist or prejudicial sense of the expression but do so from a deeper and wider level of reflection vis-a-vis the complexities that surround man’s birth, recognition, acceptance, aspirations, achievements, and death–within society. When it is said that all men are born equal, what is the core thing being meant? That all men where born with the same mix of talents and abilities? That the genetic codes within our cells qualifying us to be labeled humans also directly qualify us to be equals deserving of the same degree of respect, privilege and remuneration? Should the belief in many quarters that all humans are equally intelligent, destroy every iota of belief that inequality between humans does and should not exist?

On a very objective, if not mathematical level, we can say that one thing is equal to another if it possesses the same set of physical qualities as the other. However, we can also say that intangible qualities can make seemingly equal things unequal. For example, if two exact copies of the play ‘The Trials of Brother Jero’, by Wole Soyinka, are presented to an individual, there really can be no rational reason to place one above the other on the scale of equality–and by extension, price. However, if this individual knows that one of the copies was in the possession of Wole Soyinka for a week while he was in prison in 1967, a rationale for belief in their inequality might come into play. The individual, depending on his reverence of the author, might immediately place a higher value tag on that book and thus might be willing to obtain it for a higher price. But the two books are the same. In content, appearance and authorship.

Now to genetics. It has been said, based on the decipherment of the human genome, that humans are virtually clones of each other. Assume this is completely true. Can we then weave a convincing theory of human equality on the fact that our most basic programming was based on the same code? Can we isolate this from the gigabytes of information that stream into our minds over our lifetime, and the myriad of influences that shape our lives–like time, association and locale? Isn’t the formation of the concept of a human being not a long process that continues well after birth?

If there is something like destiny or fate, then the argument for human equality falls flat to its face. After all destiny, at least within the sphere of earthlihood, can never be the same or equal. For great men have indeed traversed this earth, humbling many men in the blanket of their shadows; and greatness as a concept can not survive if all men are deemed equal, even from birth. Many men have struggled to make a mark, struggled to do well in school, struggled to be wealthy–even in conducive climes, but have been unsuccessful. And that brings me to the story of my friend Paul (not real name).

Paul was dull. Really dull. He had repeated classes twice and was on the verge of doing so a record third time. Here was someone who, while writing an exam in our SS2, furtively copied the letter of another student, concluding it with the same student’s name. When I was in SS3 and he in SS2 (he had just repeated the second time), Paul moved to my room so he could wake up at midnight and study together with me and be encouraged by my words of advice. Paul was determined to be promoted this time. On one of those days he was in my room, I took the liberty of skimming through his notes while he slept. I was shocked by my discoveries. I couldn’t make sense of what he had written because they were terribly structured grammatically, and mis-spelt words abounded. And to think these notes were copied as a teacher dictated…within the four walls of a class in a secondary school respected nationwide. How was I to believe all men were born equal?

Again, I will draw a similar example from the intellectual world–I believe intellectualism is at the heart of the theory of human equality. In my JS3, Saidu (not real name), began to draw close to me to help him academically. He was supposed to be a class ahead of me but he had repeated JS2. We were preparing for Junior WAEC and he needed my help. A day before the English paper, he came to my side to study. As I warmed up to tutor him, I made an unbelievable discovery. Saidu could barely read. He didn’t know what nouns or verbs were and couldn’t even comprehend sections of passages not to talk of answering questions based on the passages as a structured whole. I am by nature a very resilient tutor and I can go to extra lengths to make a person understand what I am teaching, but that day I saw what it meant to be hopeless…and to be in a hopeless situation. Twelve hours to the Junior WAEC English Language paper and Saidu didn’t know what nouns were. And he held a 200 page English Language text book; peering into it and flipping the pages.

So much for being equal. Here were people who genuinely wanted to advance academically but were having it real rough because naturally, assimilation came on a rough platter of clay. These examples were not the last I witnessed personally as I climbed up the ladder of academic learning.

Why all these words on the subject of equality? I believe, as found in nature, that balance (or equilibrium) not equality should be the prime pursuit of mankind’s civilization. Such balance must respect the basic rights of all people to life and happiness, creating conducive climes for the attainment of such. It is the same way I believe men and women are not born equal…(Oops! I am not a chauvinist! That analytic journey will come another time). I believe that within the context of present time, position, geography and other related factors, every human being must know and appreciate his place and seek happiness from it; even as he engages in the development of self, and in the pursuit of greener pastures.

27 thoughts on “All Men are not Born Equal” by chemokopi (@chemokopi)

  1. All men are born equal. Differences develop later through external influences, which in turn are from environmental influences.

    1. @kaycee: ok sir. At least you read my opinion on the subject. Thanks for the input.

  2. A baby that has been damaged in vivo by the habits of its junkie mother can’t be equal to a baby who was born normally…
    God,church et al says we are equal, but then Shit happens and make some ‘more equal than others’…Nice Discourse chemo…$ß.

    1. Thanks for your comments @sibbylwhyte, and yeah such a scenario as the one you have painted does support my arguments but from some research I have undertaken I believe even God didn’t create men as equals…and possibly for reasons tied to destiny. You can remember what God prophesied about Jeremiah, Abraham and other great figures of the Gospel. Thanks for the input.

    2. Thanks for your input @aturmercy. I completely agree with you…especially about God and the bible where faith, destiny and prophesy point to the fact that all men are not equal.

  3. Chemo thoughtful writeup. You are right.

    God did not create men equal, neither does the Bible suggest he did. Some of us are born with defects and based on these defects or the limitations they placed on the individual, the success and opportunities presented to said individual will be determined by so many factors which in themselves tell us that not all fingers are not equal.

    George Orwell in Animal Farm states that “All animals (men) are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

    We all have a right to happiness and success dependent on destiny, the design or the Will of God. I can become successful as a carpenter or mechanic, the measure of my success is not dependent on anyone’s measure but by what I measure and consider success.

    Some are content with little, others more. To each his own.

    Nice thinking Chemo.

  4. This is good @chemokopi. But sincerely, I don’t know what to believe especially when it comes to I.Q.
    But you’ve voiced your opinion.


    1. I know that feeling @babyada and I struggled with it for a long time before I finally jumped from the fence.

  5. We may have no control or say about how our begining but we do have a say about our present and future. Therefore being born equal or not is the issue for me.
    Even though we may have different destinies, I strongly believe there are no basis for comparisons, because we were not designed to compete with each other, but with ourselves.
    However, you have articulated your opinion brilliantly.
    Well done.

    1. Thanks for your very insightful input @igweaj. The truth is if we don’t examine the issue of equality from birth, we might create excuses for being inconsiderate of other peoples shortcomings. The end of the matter is we must show empathy to others whether they be our equals or not.

  6. RIO (@riowrites)

    Very well articulated. I do agree too, all men are not born equal, some are truly more equal than others.

  7. hmmmm very interesting write up it raises a lot of questions in my mind . Well articulated & structured. Thanks a lot

    1. Thanks @naboulove. Do ponder on those questions and formulate your answers…*wink*

  8. So which is it…Nature or Nurture?

    1. @dottaraphels: Both. Thanks for reading, I am on your turf.

  9. @dottaraphels: both, it’s the particular mix that determines individual outcomes.
    I like to think that Paul and Saidu could excel in other fields, so expertly that @chemokopi ‘s role of tutor would be completely reversed. They might also be victims of undiagnosed medical conditions excluding retardation and other truly helpless ones.

    1. Nice one @lelouch, your point makes sense but then I still think it is intelligence and not skill that separates humans from animals. In that vein too, I think it is intelligence (brilliance, wisdom, understanding) that has been the basis for classification and assigning roles since time immemorial. Now whether that is wrong or not I can’t say but then again, it is still intelligence (of a higher form) that separates humans from gods and God.

      1. Intelligence: the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience.
        There are…conditions that make individuals unsuitable for conventional learning methods. It’s not that they’re dull, they just perceive reality differently.
        If you were stranded in the middle of the Atlantic, recently escaped from a troubled ship and intimately besought by violent waves…who would you prefer as the ‘captain’ of your dinghy?
        An Einstein-class genius in literature and philosophy or a simple-minded, thoroughly skilled boatman?
        Intelligence, might be overrated. Some gifts tend to the intellectual, most others to the physical…the event should determine which is preeminent.

        1. @lelouch: But then, an event is an isolated case. We are talking about life as a whole which is a string of events and in that regard, being born with a greater IQ or better appearance or special abilities, gives you a headstart over others as you begin to experience the string of events. You don’t think so?

  10. @Chemokopi,

    Interesting article, but I’m somewhat confused. Apart from @Kaycee perhaps, I don’t think anyone in this universe believes that men are born equal, so I don’t even think you should need to challenge the point.

    Perhaps you are referring to this declaration. But the sense I get is that equality here is about equality before the law; person A may be richer, stronger, smarter or more attractive than person B, but they both deserve the same treatment at the hands of those who administer justice.

    Of course, the reality is that because person A is richer, stronger, etc. than person B, he is more likely to get better legal representation and take better advantage of the law, but that’s another discussion. :)

    1. @TolaO: Take a survey. You will be very surprised by the answers you get from people as regards this topic. The truth is many people believe that all men are created equal. That is why you hear statements like ‘ is it not the same brain you both have? Why are you failing in school?’ from parents.

      I read that article you mentioned while writing this piece, and while I agree that it points to man’s equality in his dignity as a person, I found out that that statement ‘All Men are Created Equal’ is the foundation of the anomalous belief that all men are born equal.


  11. ‘all men are born equal’……silver spoon,gold spoon…..No spoon doesnt change the fact. But ‘all men dont die equal’ *wink*

    1. @brytandre: Well, you have voiced your opinion and I am grateful you took the time to read my humble piece. Thanks!

  12. No two people are equal. I agree with your conclusion. Find your place in the scheme of things, and be happy there. I failed woefully in physics and chemistry and math. I couldnt add one and one and get two as a result. But when i changed to the arts, I was representing the school in competitions. Do not find equality with anyone. It doesn’t exist. Simply carve your own niche. Much simpler. @chemokopi, nice work as always.

    1. @omojola: And you paint it beautifully brother! We are not born equal but how we invest the abilities we were each given from birth becomes the deciding factor of how greatness embraces us.

  13. all men are not born equal
    some were born in the hospital
    some at room
    some in the bathroom
    some in the car on the road
    some in the church
    name it
    and all this places are not equal……….

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