Sunday, June 03, 2007

Coffee Talk

Human Responsibility

There have been several events over the last few weeks that have caused me to think about human responsibility. First "The TB Guy", Andrew Speaker, who flew from Atlanta to Europe with the knowledge that he already had TB. Second, the continued talk of global warming and the steps each person should take and how their actions affect society as a whole. Finally, reading a recent interview with author Tao Lin and learning of steps he is willing to take to alleviate the suffering of another human (or animal).

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to fully comprehend how our actions will ultimately affect others. When I put this cup of black coffee to my lips and take a refreshing sip, I don't know how that coffee was grown and if anyone had suffered during any part of that process. If I chose to drink organic coffee right now would the effect be any different? The reason I don't know is because I have chosen not to know, but is it my responsibility to understand how each of my daily actions affect society? As a vegetarian who chooses to buy organic whenever possible, who uses the greenest household products, recycles, donates both money and clothing, utilizes a community freecycle program to trade away items I no longer need, how much more of an effort should I make?

There is a moral obligation to understand, to the best of your ability, how you affect society. You must be a consumer, but how often do you think about what you are consuming and how that product was made? Is that your responsibility or does that fall on the retailer's shoulders? How often do you consider your social responsibility to the people directly around you, be it disease, smoking, reckless behavior, etc? How do you define suffering? Talk Amongst yourselves...

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