By Nicholas Warner
Life… What is the point? Where are we going, to whose end and for what
purpose? I had an argument with my friend recently; he said life is pointless
and I vehemently argued it is not. In arguing with him I felt as if I was only
regurgitating with no real conviction as I myself have serious doubts.
More and more I see kindness and benevolence as a mask to the ulterior motive of
self-gratification; most individuals driven to do good only when there is some
benefit to themselves; adhering solely to the “What’s in it for me”
attitude. It is so pervasive in society, it is disgusting; from the highest
echelons to the lowest reaches, from the politician to the hustler, everyone
trying to forge ahead at the expense of others. Do you live in a society, which
is victim to the “crabs in a barrel” syndrome, where the only way to break
the glass ceiling is climbing and clawing on the back of a brother? Do you feel
you live in a society where doing right only makes you an underling?
Everyday I become enraged when I see others doing wrong without consequence and
moving ahead. I suppose one might attribute it to the unfairness of life and
leave it at that, but are we too willing to accept this excuse? People forget,
to a large extent, that we determine if life is unfair by being eager to take
advantage of the misfortune of another and by accepting behavior, which is less
than forthright from those around us.
“No,” you say, there are still good people on this earth, God fearing men
and women. This is true, but what motivates their actions; is it hope of reward
in the afterlife, or fear of reprisal in this one. Once I was a member of a
community organization and I would go to feed the poor and so on. However, on
one occasion I witnessed the organizer bluntly refuse a vagrant’s request for
food that he had in his hands. I believe many religious people pass up practical
occasions to do good and when they do good a grandiose show is made of it. If
you look around you it is quite difficult to find total unselfish acts made on
the behalf of complete strangers. It is sad to say but we exist in a world where
you are called naïve if you believe in the good nature of people.
I frequently ponder if people realize that change begins with themselves, too
often we wait for momentous events such as marches to effect change and in the
meantime do nothing. Most people fail to realize change begins on an even
smaller scale. Yet can one individual make a difference? I sometimes feel so
helpless and insignificant in this daunting world of ours. I know for change to
be effective it has to be unanimous but some are too engrossed in their own
materialistic and insignificant universe to comprehend this point.
What I sincerely desire is for each individual to realize that he has an
inescapable obligation to better the lives of those less fortunate. At the end
of the day we are not here to make ourselves happy, as so many do, but to enrich
the lives of others.
© 2001 Nicholas Warner