What Binds us Together as Humans?

A love of humanity.  A need to interface with other humans.  A love of country. A love of family.  All but the latter are generic and rather distant feelings that are hard to take to heart.  Perhaps it would be more constructive to see what divides us.  After all, isn’t that what all the riots, marches, protests, and rhetoric are really about?

So, I’ll try to present a partial list for consideration.

  •  skin color
  •   geography
  •   nationality
  •   politics
  •   types of government
  •   religion
  •   language
  •   size
  •   economic engines
  •   wealth
  •   power
  •   affiliations

I don’t propose that this is a complete list of what divides us, but it is a start.  These matters divide us as societies, as nations, but also as individuals.  Some of those items even feed other items.  However, most of them are much easier to take to heart and hold dear.  They are things and feelings that we can get our heads and hearts around, nurture, and live by.  They are things we can teach the next generation.  They are things that allow us to hold ourselves above others.  They are things that we can use to justify who we are and why we are the way we are.  They are things we can point to in assigning blame for whatever real or imagined condition in which we find ourselves.  They are also things that are as old as humanity.

As we are taught and practice these differences they become dear to us and guide our relationships and actions.  In effect they define us.

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that there are at least 3 times more things that divide us than things that draw us together.  Have things improved in the last 100 years?  Yes, I think they have.  I remember when civic clubs were closed societies as to color and religions.  So were social clubs and affiliations.  I was once the only white member of the IBPOEW in the world.  (A black civic club.)  I was also the only protestant member of the Knights of Columbus, a closed Catholic men’s organization.

Yes, things have gotten better in the last 100 years.  However, not fast enough for many and conditions haven’t reached that utopia that many wish for.  Society and culture don’t change rapidly no matter how much we want them to.  It takes generations and a lot of effort.

Will conditions get better over time?  Yes, I believe they will because it is ultimately in our mutual best interest for them to do so.  But, they won’t be helped along by violence, rioting, looting, burning, and murder.

So, my message to the young that are so impatient for radical and instant change is this:  Arson, throwing bottles, rocks, and explosive devices at police and others will simply create resistance to getting the change you so desperately desire.  You must find a better way and exercise some patience and self-discipline.  You must also look at who is engineering these events and seek out their real motives.


Ken Vincent
Ken Vincent
KEN is a 46 year veteran hotelier and entrepreneur. Formerly owned two hotels, an advertising agency, a wholesale tour company, a POS company, a leasing company, and a hotel management company. The hotels included chain owned, franchises, and independents. They ranged in type from small luxury inns, to limited service properties, to large convention hotels and resorts. After retiring he authored a book, “So Many Hotels, So Little Time” in which he relates what life is like behind the scenes for a hotel manager. Ken operated more that 100 hotels and resorts in the US and Caribbean and formed eight companies. He is a firm believer that senior management should share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of management.

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  1. Thanks very much for your clarity and insight, Ken.

    I’ve just started working a project (so far only a couple of t-shirts handed out to friends): “Character over Category.” The back of the shirt reads “What I am is a coincidence. Who I am is a choice.” I think you and I are on at least the same chapter if not the same page.

    What if humans’ default setting is to gravitate toward connection? If that’s possible, we can reframe our question/strategy toward focusing on removing the barriers that prevent that natural connective tissue from developing. We don’t have to inject, simply make room. Could we talk about this and perhaps pool our resources?

    And here’s a snack for thought:

    Have an engaging and serene weekend.


    • Gravitating toward peace, mutual respect, and a choice to help each other would certainly be step in the right direction. Thanks for your thoughts, Mac.

  2. Ken a very insightful article you gift us with. It is difficult to reply after moving out to the country I have very little interactions with people. The world has turn harsh and I choose to distance myself from it. I don’t watch the news or TV in general. I get up early and walk the dogs,sit for a while listening to the birds on the feeders and then have coffee with my wife and reminisce. Buddy my hound dog and I get in the truck and drive to the railroad crossing and watch the train pass. The rest of the day is spend gardening, writing or taking Buddy on the back roads to find old buildings to photograph. I also spend a lot of time with my Grandchildren teaching them the old ways. So what separates me is a choice to live out my life in peace. Thank you my friend for sharing your insights with us . You give us reason to ponder

    • Thanks, Larry. Christina and I spent 14 years living in the woods and it was perhaps the best of times. Sadly, the world has gotten crazier since then and I often wish I was back there. Stay the course, my friend.

  3. Thank you, Ken, for sharing your article. I must disagree with insofar as the items you mentioned that divide. None of them are divisive unless they are used as such. An old friend/ex-colleague redid my whole website for me in addition to creating a sales funnel picture. I am a white Orthodox Jew while he is black and belongs to the Muslim faith. Our political views are different. However, we are great friends. We relate to each other as humans and have great chats about how some of our religious practices mirror each other. My closet friend on LinkedIn is an American Indian who is also of Hispanic descent. We share the same feelings about religion ( he is a Christian) as well as political views. What separates us is miles. In essence, what I am saying is that if people relate to each other as people then the differences between them do not become divisive.

    • Yes, Joel, there are exceptions and you are clearly one of them. I don’t profess that the list I presented has to divide, I just find that they often do. If one wants to create division any excuse works.

  4. Ken, great write up here! I do believe we need to see the good. The riots, looting, and chaos will just push progress back. It is the law of nature to react. It is discipline that brings order. We need to look inside of ourselves and resist the urge to join in the wrong way so we can do it the right way. Thank you for this.

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