Generally, we should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us. That’s the basis of moral behavior. We could not have evolved as a species if we had not recognized the need to balance our wants and needs with the wants and needs of others. But survival trumps balance, and when there is competition for limited resources or an imbalance of power, all bets are off.
There’s a large part of me in which would like to theorize that humans are self-sacrificial for the entirety of the human race, out of compassion…
Sadly, however, if I believed such a thing my world would not only seem unrealistic, but I wouldn’t be able to dub myself anything but overoptimistic and naive…
So instead, I try to find a balance. Such a balance that will leave room for what seems to be out of reach.
There’s this book called The Road by McCormick McCarthy,
The story in it takes place in a time that man kind and the world around it is going extinct;
Everyone is a scavenger: they eat babies, they eat trash, they kill each other, make each other slaves…basically do anything for survival.
In one of the scenes, a father and a son leave their grocery cart of food and belongings nearby, yet out of their site…
A ragged stranger comes up the road and sees the cart, presumably sneaks around and sees the father and son distracted, and throws all they have in the cart then takes off with it down the road.
He has left them with nothing. He is starving and dying of sickness. He is aware of his poor state, but nonetheless he takes; he steals from another man out of selfishness.
Now the father and son (a little boy) undoubtedly catch up with the thief, the man has a pistol and wants to kill the thief but the little boy pleads for the thief’s life.
The father comes to a compromise, telling the thief to take all his clothing off and put it in the cart, which he does, and they leave him with nothing; as the thief was going to leave them.
The little boy still pleads to his father upon leaving to give the man his clothes, and some food. The boy is starving but tells his father he’d rather he gave his food to the thief.
In the end of the book the little boy survives for he carries the fire; a hope for mankind from within the goodness of his beating heart.
I bring this up because I’m in awe of the world in its becoming. The fire is so slim, so heavily flickering, and its intensity seems to weaken as time passes.
Will we be able to reverse the damage we do by having this “survival instinct,” this lack of compassion for one another?
I struggle to believe that if we get to such a point the world would engulf itself and just end out black, like a start exploding in the night sky.
I struggle because I wish something better of ourselves, of each other.
If one of us starts by making a pact to carry the fire, could it catch on to hearts of the rest of the world?
Well I think fortune favors the good, so I guess we’ll just wait and see.