The World We Inherited

One thing my professor has mentioned at least once in each of my classes is the idea of what it is we are inheriting. Many people are keen to shirk responsibility of the state of our world, both the natural one as well as the one structured by our individual cultures. It is not an uncommon attitude that this is simply not our mess, so we don’t have to hold responsibility for it.

There are few things which will make my face turn red in anger when it comes to debates. I am a huge believer that every one has a valid view and point, and part of what helps us all to grow is to hear each other out. However, this is one that I am a brick wall about.

While the state of our economy might not be what we created it to be, if we don’t work together to fix it, then we are all f’d. What’s more, the same goes with the environment. I read an article a while ago that said that because the ice caps are melting, the weight of the ice is no longer pressing down on the earth’s crust. This is allowing the tectonic plates more mobility, which is allowing them to shift more freely, which is why we’re experiencing an influx of earthquakes. The environment is important, and what’s more, it was the choices of yesterday which yielded the great problems of today. Continuing on supporting those choices is only going to cause bigger problems tomorrow.

I was in a conversation with a friend of mine. We get along in every aspect except for this one, during which–and I’ve told him this–I want to strangle him, and I’m not a violent person. His argument is “I am just one person, what I do doesn’t make a difference.”

How many thousands of people say the exact same thing?

My instructor says concisely what has taken me speeches to express. “If there is I, then that implies that there is not-I.  We need to stop thinking in terms of I and  thinking in terms of us.”

Everything is bigger than each individual. It took a mass of people to get us to where we are, and it’ll take a mass of people to get us out. So why are we considering ourselves as I, when clearly that creates a divide, which puts the individual us outside of the playground from the rest?

Let’s consider what my friend said, but replace the singular, first person pronoun, with a multi-person pronoun. “We are just one person, what we do doesn’t make a difference.” When there are thousands of people saying what my friend said with their singular personal pronoun, they are really saying what was just reworded. And it sounds ridiculous.

We have inherited a broken system. But no one’s going to fix it but us. Look at the pronouns you use, how do they define your reality and your perception of the world around you?


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