In the movie Equals, we find ourselves in a dystopian future devoid of human emotion. Everyone is the same. Everyone is equal. Except there is a problem. Some people are experiencing emotions. They are “diagnosed” with SOS (Switched On Syndrome) and quarantined until they kill themselves from despair.
In this future, equality is actualized as a lowest common denominator.
In 1943, C. S. Lewis wrote about equality and democracy in a thought-provoking essay titled “Equality.”
I understand that Lewis was addressing the nature of equality in general, but he then goes on to apply it specifically to women and men, and even more specifically to the marriage relationship. However, let’s explore a couple of Lewis’s points as they apply “equally” well to various other relationships:
Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.
This, for Lewis, leads into the next point, but I feel we can pause here and consider that this is similar to the concept of “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Except here, Lewis has found the root of the problem—not in the power, but in the already absolute corruption that exists in man.
I need to remember that I am prone to behave like a fallen and depraved man. Giving a madman the switch to a nuke is a really bad idea. So keeping in mind that I am a madman and being sure that I stay well-covered with accountability and checks is not just for my safety, but for all those around me. If you are a leader, the importance of this is multiplied many times.
Legal and economic equality are absolutely necessary remedies for the Fall, and protection against cruelty.
That all people are created equal in the eyes of God should be simple and self-evident, but apparently it is not. At Kimray, we are all valued as people for the same reason—God made us and gave us life at the same level. I am not a better or more valuable person because of my title, position, or paycheck. The inherent value of human beings is why we should not tolerate racism, sexism, religious persecution, or any other method or mode that dehumanizes another person.
However, there is the necessity of differentiating people for the purposes of organization and responsibility. There are types and kinds of “superiority” that are necessary and good, which leads to the last point from Lewis that I want to look at.
When equality is treated not as a medicine or a safety-gadget but as an ideal, we begin to breed that stunted and envious sort of mind which hates all superiority.
To think that all people should be treated equally in all things is what Lewis calls “the special disease of democracy,” which will “kill us all if it grows unchecked.” The man who won’t work might be given enough to sustain him, but should not enjoy the same fruits as the one who will. There are lots of ways this corollary can be described and displayed. In short, it is not okay to evenly distribute the results of the team effort unless everyone is bringing the same resources to the table and executing the same as the others.
At Kimray, some general reward comes to all who are part of the team. Those team members who excel due to their skill, gifting, and effort might get opportunities and rewards not available to every person.
What is the cure to that which Lewis calls an “envious sort of mind which hates all superiority”?
Humility. Gratitude. Respect.
It’s simple really. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else” (Mark 9:35 NLT). That’s really all there is to it. If I am a leader, I should be the servant of all in my heart. Yes, I must lead, and decide, and bear the weight. However, the people who rely on my leadership should feel that I am there to serve their interests—not for my glory but for the glory of God, not for my gain but for their good, and finally, for love.
That’s what Jesus did.
It just so happens…that’s The Kimray Way.