Sometimes, when my mind grows restive, a discussion touches a life-thread and thrums in rhythm with my thoughts, reverberating through my memories, awakening lost dreams. When I woke today, I did not expect to journey where mirrors gleam and shadows dance away -- among the foundation pillars of my life. What follows are mostly my arguments and opinions...the only ones I truly own. Not all were shared online. Your mileage may vary...
Owing a great debt to one who saves (or spares) your life is a common enough literary theme. From Robinson Crusoe to Pacific Rim and from Star Wars to Harry Potter, fictitious characters pledge their own lives to repay a perceived obligation incurred when another ensures their survival. Such commitment to an ideal and willing acceptance of such responsibility adds stature and dignity to each imaginary individual in the story. But, is there translation to real life?
I posted to a discussion this morning, in which one person was saying that, if the world owes him nothing, he owes nothing to the world. At this point, we had not resolved what “world” meant. Was it the Earth beneath our feet, or the totality of humanity, or a bit of both? Oddly, the target of each dart seemed aimed somewhere in between the extremes of each definition. The article under discussion was from a judge who lectured youth about their responsibility to a world that did not owe them a life or a living. Of course, being who I am, I tried to argue the case for responsibility -- for both definitions of our world.
Terra Firma and All the Rest of It…
Take a breath of air. Take a drink of water. Open your eyes and see the daylight coming through your window. All the basics of life spring from the Earth -- from the world as we physically define it. Many do not readily perceive the value in these things, but as someone who has faced dying, I value every breath, every drink of water, every break of dawn. The fundamental fabric supporting my physical existence is a gift and I am responsible for preserving it for my own use and for the use of others. Perhaps, I owe the world a life debt?
At this point, the old "Humanity is an infection on Gaia" argument put in an appearance; i.e., “The world would be better off without us!” (humanity). I found this a great segue to:
The Culture Club
The world as referenced in the newspaper article under discussion was (or included) the totality of humanity. Without us, there would be no world. There would be a beautiful, blue planet spinning in space -- with no one to see it, touch it, change it, damage it, care for it, and/or love it. Earth would be a gorgeous, but eerily silent and spiritually sterile terrarium in perpetual flight about its sun.
Imagine visually stunning vistas that no human eye would perceive and no mind would love. Imagine the same vistas, but underscored by soaring music and preserved in the flight of poetic prose. Now, imagine the same vistas damaged by human hands. We change our world, for better or for worse.
Geologically, our minds tell us the Earth has been here approximately 4.5 billion years, always changing, always in motion, always in danger of some sort, yet always here. Our recorded culture extends back little more than 4,000 years and tells us the world started about 2,000 years before that. Belief systems and faith often paint a very different world than the one our current tools can detect.
Multiple interpretations of our world coexist, often uncomfortably, in an ever-changing evolving relationship. Yet, despite our different views of the same world; it remains the only game in town. It is our responsibility to preserve the world on which we live, regardless of how we view it, and to coexist, despite our differing world views. We are both nature and nurture and perhaps owe a life debt to our cultures as well as our planet.
It was an interesting discussion; one that touched some basic chords within my personal symphony. I love living and experiencing my world, and co-existence with my friends and family means most everything to me. Our world is the perfect home for humanity.
Maybe that's why God put us here.
Good day and God bless,