When we are born our world is very small.
What we identify with begins at a personal level. We identify with our own physical body, property, and ideas. We may be hurt when they are criticized, and react strongly to defend them.
We also learn to identify on a collective level. Identification with our family, clan, and race are extensions of identifying with our body. The city, state, and nation become extensions of our property. A person’s philosophy, religion, and ideology are extensions of one’s ideas.
This natural process of expanding identification cannot stop there. If our sphere of identification is limited, then anything outside is a potential enemy. When the enemy is perceived as too threatening, we may justify killing. Wars result from identification that is too limited, confined to the collective and individual level.
Our survival depends on expanding our identification to include the largest frame of reference, the whole of humankind, even our “enemies.” Realizing that we are neighbors forever with a shared, yet diverse, humanity, we can begin building our common future.