Why do I care?
Why do I bother?
Being so sensitive to what the world needs in a world so insensitive is self-inflicted
For what purpose do I swim against the current?
Is this wasted effort?
We’re promised one thing in life, that’s debt – death comes after.
We’re indebted to earth for a body rented at birth
And journey in search of happiness – ours
And if we found true happiness, we’d know it’s in service to others.
But what is happiness worth in death?
Why do we kill ourselves in pursuit of happiness, when we could kill ourselves and have no use for it?
What would we lose by trading in what’s left of ourselves?
Why not avoid the dreary stroll into the unknown?
Why not skip the falling from grace by passing our best by date?
– “Why Bother” by Ervin Welsh
These are my thoughts. But while I haven’t giving much thought to the prospect of “trading in what’s left of myself” and I wasn’t particularly discouraged by the seemingly impossible challenge of impacting my world which I took upon myself, I did have questions. I’ve had this uncertainty about the need for my sacrifices.
If not me there’d be another, I’ve thought. I mean, concurrently, there are already others. If I decided not to carry the weight of the responsibility I do, it will be shouldered by someone else. When I die it must be shouldered by someone else so why do I bother, why do I sacrifice?
I chose to bother, I choose to sacrifice, I am motivated by, the fact that sacrifice is all we can do to bargain with the future. Just searching our experiences makes evident that sacrifice brings dividends. We need to ask ourselves, “what must I sacrifice for my vision of paradise?” The greatest reward comes from the greatest sacrifice and the greatest thing we can sacrifice is self.
I’ve asked myself about purpose and I’ve concluded that’s up to us. As far as I can tell, the best thing we can pursue is social progress. The way that’s pursued by each of us will be different. Social progress is what we’ve had from the way things were to the way they are. It’s why I can even even afford to think the thoughts I do today.
I grew up on a Caribbean island with sugarcane as its main source of income — sugarcane my ancestors were forced to plant and harvest; sugarcane I saw with my own two eyes as their decedents followed suit as living remnants of a tragic past.
I could have been born then but my concerns then would have been much different. Would I have the luxury of choosing not to bother back then? Would it have been so desperate a circumstance that I would have thought it futile to bother? Back then, would my decision to concern myself with social progress be a voluntary sacrifice or would it be a fight for the right to life itself — equal and free? Bear in mind this is just one reality of from where we were, to where we’ve come.
The atrocities of yesteryear — the world over — were not spawned by malevolent men but indifferent ones. And what about today? What if I were born in a different place, a differently-able body, a different gender, a different race, a different household, born with a different collection of abilities? Would my experiences have been so pleasant?
The cocoon in which I evolved was something close enough to heaven from my vantage point — the family I inherited, the environment within which they raised me; my experiences. But I lived within eyesight and earshot of others who lived in hell and I could have been anyone of them. It wasn’t agency, but lucky inheritance, that my reality was what is was, rather than what was theirs. Raised in such hell I’d likely be different.
Fortunately, I am who I am. I know who I am. I , like you, am powerful. Who wields power bares responsibility. I’m motivated because I feel a sense of responsibility — not obligation but responsibility. I feel responsibility for my entire family (us all).
I do it for love.