Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The world owes you nothing; the rest of us do

A man said to the universe: "Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation."
- Stephen Crane, writer (1871-1900)

It's an artist's way of saying that just because you're here doesn't mean the world owes you anything.

It's important to note that this refers to adults, not to children. A parent owes each child a great deal as part of the responsibilities of parenthood. To adults, the world owes nothing.

We are each alone in the universe. We can pray to God, but God will not ease that aloneness without help from us.

In other words, what we make of our time on Earth depends entirely on what input we are prepared to make to craft a life for ourselves.

But some people have not participated in a childhood that provided them with the skills and knowledge they need to survive and thrive as adults. Many, in fact. It's to them that the rest of us owe an obligation to see that they get a fair try at life.

We can say that it's not our business, but neglecting to provide this human service causes us a huge financial cost and emotional expense as we cope with crime, abuse (road/workplace/home), addictions, breakdowns, divorce, or just plain miserable or unhappy people.

The world doesn't owe these people anything, but it's in our best interests as citizens of the world community to see that everyone gets what they need to live a reasonable life.

By helping others, we make our own lives better. They don't need our money so much as they need contact with us. They need those who have full lives to share with them of themselves.

Tough, ain't it? Take a big swallow and get on with it. Some people are leading pretty miserable lives. Some express misery we can see, others hide it within.

They all need your help and mine. We need each other.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show how demonstrating our humanity to others is in everyone's best interests.
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