A good friend of mine recently packed her bags and headed to Senegal with the Peace Corps. She will be assisting with small business development while seeing a new part of the world. While my intentions here are not to delve into her personal reasons, I find the Peace Corps an interesting organization. Rather I find the motivations for joining interesting.
I find myself talking about the atrocities in the world, then going back home and taking a nap (my personal greatest luxury in life) while watching TV. We sit in class and talk about cosmopolitanism, but who can really practice it? Anyone can think about things, but few people will do anything. But, do we have to help everyone we can? And when we help, should we run off to Africa and hug the little children? Is that what proves that we act upon our beliefs? Or is giving that extra change to the Salvation Army outside the mall enough?
Sadly, I don’t have the answers. I do however think it’s not enough just to talk and think. Something has to happen. Yet, not everyone has the capacity to drop 2 years and go to Africa. Does that make them bad people? Or are the people who run off to Africa the ones yelling “look at me doing good things for humanity” the bad ones? How do we do a good deed?
I find honesty a good place to start. Honesty is not going to sign your check book and pack your bags, but it will keep the ego in check. It seems that we know what we ought to do for humanity. And when we do help out, we want everyone to know. I think our honesty can help us not blow thing out of proportions.
Although, I’m still at a loss of how to assess the worlds problems while enjoying my particular luxuries. Does this conflict with cosmopolitanism? I think it does, but I can not seem to find a comfortable resting place between these two ideals.
Maybe that’s the crux- we aren’t supposed to find a comfortable place. We are supposed to constantly be uncomfortable by the terrors of the world and our place in it.