Friday, September 10, 2010

Majorca is an island in the Mediterrnian Sea. Its main business today is tourism. (At the last count there were 2400 restaurants on the island.) But before the tourists came Majorca was famous for something else. It is the home of Majorcan pearls.

Pearls, as everyone knows, are made by oysters. They are the main industry of islands in the South Pacific. Majorcan pearls do not come from oysters. They are made in a factory. Small glass balls are coated with a concoction of pulverized shells, mother of pearl and fish scales. When this mixture has dried the balls are polished and sanded. This process is repeated thirty times or more. The result is something that looks like a pearl, but isn’t.

A Majorcan pearl isn’t a pearl at all. It is a fake. Its flawlessness gives it away. Real pearls are each one of a kind. They are not quite perfect. Every pearl is different from every other. Majorcan pearls can be made to be any size. Each pearl will be exactly like others the same size.

That is the difference between things that are created and those that are made. An ipod reproduces music that is the same every time you play it. When a performing artist creates it every performance is a distinct event. Each performance is different. Two creative painters do not produce identical views of the same subject.

In this sense the world is created, not made. There is an endless supply of individuals. Even creatures that appear to be alike are not. A school of fish is in fact a large number of unique individuals. Everyone who owns a kitten knows it is different from all the others. Your DNA sequence is solely your own.

You and I are not Majorcan pearls. We were created, not made. Nobody else is like us. Everyone who tries to reduce people to a uniform class or to a race denies their humanity.

We are more than the stereotype of our race or religion. We are more than our neighbors think we are. We are what no one else in the world is. To be human is to be unique.

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