Is a life worth more than others?


The gospels tell us of the tale of how Herod the King ordered the death of all children below a certain age because he felt threatened by the birth of the perceived future King of Israel. Thousands of children paid the price for his insecurities with their lives. However, the life of Jesus was more critical and therefore was led to safety.

History has taught us that such happened in antiquity. It was usual for Kings to order the death of those who are perceived as the enemy of the throne.

The Biblical accounts of the birth of Moses, as well as the birth of Jesus, reveals that some lives seem to matter more to the realms of man than others. A person born into a royal home is perceived to be more precious than a pauper. This kind of importance is based on social class or generational roles. 

The life of Moses and Jesus deals with a different kind of importance, which is that of purpose. Moses was meant to lead his people out of the land of bondage, while Jesus was meant to be the son of God, and the embodiment of the essence and nature of God as well as to die for the sins of his people. Their life was termed more important than others not as a result of social class or status, but rather because “they were born to perform a divine assignment.

Lives were not spared for their sake. Thousands of people can give their lives so that such a person can thrive. What is this trying to teach us about our precious human lives? It’s believed that all humans are born equal, but what do we mean by we are all born equal?

How do we begin to reconcile this realization that in the grand scheme of things in humanity, I don’t matter much? Or if we are in the position of privilege, how do we reconcile the fact that our lives are more important than others? It doesn’t matter the kind of “price” or “importance” of our respective roles, is it true that some lives are indeed worth more than others? If we say all lives are equal, how do we reconcile equality with “prophecies”?

Here’s where I find a closure. Human lives are indeed equal, but little is said about equity, and equality doesn’t mean equity. Some people are born into privileged households, and for that reason have access to things that those that are less fortunate can’t have access to: both the rich and the poor and intrinsically one. NO life is more precious than the other. All lives are precious. However, we all don’t get to have the same opportunities, privileges, and purpose in this world. That we are equal doesn’t mean nature deals with us all equally. 

With that said, Where we all missed it is that they make the mistake of identifying with the “roles” we play in this world. We consider a role as more important than others, which are true. However, we often personalize such roles and find our identity in them. That’s where we all missed it. 

Our lives are precious, we all are the same but fulfill different functions. If we judge our worth by our purpose, we automatically place a price on our lives which ought not to be. We begin to see some lives as essential while others are less important when the truth is that no life is more important than others. The fact that we serve different roles, and judge some roles of greater worth than others doesn’t mean our lives are less significant to others.

When we let go of the roles we’ve been identified with, we’ll realize that the feeling of importance is egoistically generated and has no foundation in the truth. 

In the end, I believe that when people complain about how their lives don’t matter, or how important others are, they aren’t referring to their life but rather wish they identified with a different role than the one they presently identify with. We are not the roles we perform. That’s the ego in us talking. No life is more important than the other. Our egos though consider a role as more important than others, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that except we experience true life outside of the delusions of the ego.