That Pesky Problem: Can You Save The World?
Can you save the world? Prolly not…
The problem with saving the world is that it is made up of people, 7 billion people, all in different stages of mental clarity (or not). And they really don’t think they need you to save them.
I was talking with a young woman in her late 20’s who declared (with raised chin and flaring nostrils) that her entire life’s purpose was “To Save the World.” A noble cause, I would suppose, but impractical and unrealistic, not to mention a tad arrogant.
First, it’s hard to save something that doesn’t apparently want to be saved. I was reminded of earlier missionary excursions to the far-flung islands of the Pacific. As the joke in Hawaii goes, “The missionaries came to do good, and they did very well…”
Second, what exactly does it mean to save the world? It means you think you and your ways are better than theirs. Maybe. Maybe not.
I asked her if she had ever traveled to these far flung places she was going to save. Turned out she hadn’t even been out of Arizona except for a brief vacation in Rocky Point, Mexico. I suggested she take a few long trips to the places she wanted to save, and maybe read the CIA Factbook before she left.
Shortly after our conversation, I spent an afternoon at the Musical Instrument Museum. This marvelous collection of world music and history is a reminder how we earthlings are both very much the same, and also very different. I made a mental note to recommend it to her. (Not to be missed if you ever visit Phoenix.)
So what do you think? Can we “Save the world?” What does that mean? IMHO if we can’t even stop ourselves from eating that last Danish, or chowing down on Thanksgiving dinner till we burst, how do we think we are qualified to tell anyone else how to live out those 26,000 days each of us is allotted (give or take…)
Maybe the Life Purpose we should all dedicate ourselves to is saving our own lives. Achieving that is a noble goal and allows us to provide love and support (not be a savior) to those around us.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.