We use the term ‘co-human harmony’ a lot here at Harmony Interfaith Initiative. It’s the name of our flagship program and the title of an upcoming book that we are publishing in January 2019 with Flaming Leaf Press. To us, it’s an important term with vital connotations. It deserves a concise definition.
Understanding the difference between the human and ideological personas is one of the central ideas we work with here at the initiative. Each human being is a blend of both.
The human persona consists of everything that human beings share. We are all born, we die, we breathe, we eat, we sleep, we feel, we suffer, we laugh… the list goes on and on.
The ideological persona consists of values and beliefs that cannot be independently proven or disproven. Every –ism, be it political or religious, falls into this category.
The term ‘co-human’ relates to the human persona. It’s an expression of our shared humanity. Using the term helps shine a brighter light on the things we have in common.
Harmony is the coming together of many disparate notes to form a pleasing whole. Harmony exists on a spectrum. A garage band creates one type of harmony, a barbershop quintet another, and so on. Harmony does not have to sound like the Vienna Boys Choir to be pleasing.
Furthermore, harmony is not uniformity. A symphony is created with many different instruments that all have their place. The same is true about the human orchestra because diversity is baked into the cake at this point. The only thing we need to decide on is whether or not we want to work towards harmony or increase divisions and acrimony.
Putting the Words Together
When we put the words together the term ‘co-human harmony’ means the coming together of shared human elements to create a pleasing whole. We are not seeking harmony between different ideologies that have little or nothing in common. We are seeking harmony between the co-human elements that we all share.
The first step in this process is to acknowledge each other’s co-humanity. The second step is to use strategies to start working towards harmony. In the same way that musicians utilize music sheets, private teachers, and lots of time to rehearse, we can apply a step-by-step approach to the process, practice diligently, and continually get better at it.
This seems simple enough, but, as you well know, simple does not equal easy. Most of the divisions we experience today stem from ideological differences. The disparities are important and need to be discussed, but when that task is approached without respect for our co-humanity, discussions make no headway. Dialogue is replaced with contempt and every attempt to have a meaningful exchange ends in trench warfare.
The task of getting people to focus on each other’s co-humanity can appear both overly simplistic and nearly impossible. But there is reason why we have placed co-humanity at the center of our efforts. I have seen firsthand what it happens when it is honored—even when people vehemently disagree ideologically—and it’s well worth the effort.
We can get there, step-by-step, and one willing person at a time.
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Bridge Building and Social Harmony
We are an educational and social good interfaith organization. We envision a world where people have access to strategies, methods and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge building across divides.
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©Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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