James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Making the World a Better Place

This is my latest at the Partial Observer. Excerpt:
Is an ant scurrying on a sidewalk New York City responsible for the welfare of an ant moving through the grass in Wichita? While we have little understanding of ant consciousness, we do acknowledge them live in collectivist societies. But do they each think of themselves as personally responsible for the welfare of all ants? Do they individually advance the cause of "anti-ity" by worrying about all ant colonies of the world, or by focusing on their own?


  1. (I also posted this on the Partial Observer).
    Jim - good comments. The issue seems to be an ancient one: "Who is my neighbor?" The problem comes down to how you define your little corner of the world. If I live in a wealthy neighborhood or suburb, are the poorer people who live in the innercity or surrounding rural area my neighbors? Or is it enough that my gated subdivision is taken care of? Or should I care only about my immediate family? Certainly, that is my primary concern and moral responsibility. But I would hesitate to draw the boundary of my 'neighborhood' too narrowly.

    It seems that, like it or not, we do live in a global, interconnected world. I also wish our government would stop meddling in other countries and clumsily fanning the flames of ant-Americanism. There are some things we can do collectively to make a difference in the world - though not necessarily through our government. As a Lutheran, I think of the excellent work in the USA done by Lutheran Social Services, and in the world by Lutheran World Relief - help given to all people regardless of their religion. I would not want to give up that kind of collective work, and think like ants or cats.

  2. only if they have read the zen of ant, or done one of the chemicals proferred by timothey leary. however, i have been into my navel of giraffedom...