The Worth of One
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The Worth of One • Posted: Nov 09, 2009 20:40:32Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

There is little doubt that one individual can make a difference. There is also little doubt that each single individual will make at least some difference to at least a few things during its lifetime. What seems imponderable but what one wants to ask is: what is the value of a single individual outside the very limited scope and scale of their everyday lives?

A parent will pay a great deal of attention to the welfare of their own child. They will pay less attention to the welfare of children not their own, and lesser still to the welfare of children living in another town they never visit or think about. The scope of their attention is limited. The scale of their concerns are also limited. They do not concern themselves with the workings of each individual cell making up their child's body, nor to the mechanics of each molecule within those cells, nor to the trajectory of subatomic particles within those molecules. And while they may pay some attention to how their child is fitting in at school and possibly to what kind of citizen they will become, they likely do not bother themselves with the role their offspring will eventually play within the evolution of our species, nor within the evolution of our planetary system, nor within the evolution of the galaxy through which we swirl.

One tends to believe there likely are consequences outside the scope and scale of our everyday attentions. But what, if any, substantive control can we realistically exert in those directions? Perhaps it's preposterous for us to even consider taking responsibility for those consequences. In that light, one might also wonder if well intended efforts to influence consequences within scopes and scales where we do seem to have control are actually ridiculously self-deceptive and ultimately futile.

Luckily for us, the universe we inhabit behaves in a predictable ordered fashion. It reliably follows very strict rules and does so, as far as we know, universally without exception. We currently do not know nor fully understand all of those rules, but they are there for us to discover. Doing so would certainly demonstrate your, or anyone's, worth as an individual.

May your curious explorations yield insights enlightening and useful to all of us.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007