It has been quite a while hasn't it? Just a quick update: I am currently working to save the world, one elderly person at a time. In a world that puts value on those that make money or produce a future work force, those that are seniors or disabled can find it difficult to recognize their own importance and contribution in life. Over and over again, in my line of work, I hear people talk about their struggles and thoughts of ending it all. The line most often heard revolves around being unneeded or having nothing to do.
The body or the mind break down, but that doesn't mean a person doesn't still have hopes and dreams. These are individuals who have done many things in life and suddenly, they find their days are supposed to revolve around bingo and that once-a-week ice-cream social with sugar free ice-cream. The human soul doesn't downsize that fast. What did not content us as a child will not content us as adults until we no longer have the ability to imagine possibilities. That is, after all, what propels children into the world; the curiosity to see more and the belief that we can achieve it.
Yet daily, I speak with those who determine that the world might be better off without them. It is difficult to help people understand the worth of the soul when a soul is no longer considered of value inherently just for existing. If you remove the concept of a soul, then the value of existence can be redefined. It is no longer of worth because it is a soul. Now, we must justify and validate our very existence. And there are only too many who are willing to redifine the value based on what they want or what they fear most.
This is why we see organizations and governments and programs and individuals put emphasis on what we do, how much we earn, how many children we raised...these are all attempts to justify our lives. It is also why there is talk about overpopulation. When a person has no value except through what they can produce or create, then talk about resources and how they should be distributed gains traction. When you know someone has a soul and that soul is valuable, you would never discuss a world population of 500 million people (eliminating 5.5 billion of the rest of us instantaneously). You would no longer view those society might consider 'broken' (no longer or never functioning to an outsider's standard)as a burden that perhaps, in hard economic or global times, we can no longer support.
I have talked with these individuals. Every day for over 2 years now. And I can say without any hesitation that each person is unique. Each has a soul. Each, just by being, is of value.
Time is the last gift we were given in mortality, the first being life and the second being agency. If we take this gift from others, they have no ability to reflect, to decide, to gain peace and make right all the things they realize they can and want to. We remove the last mortal opportunity a soul has for progress. Even those who would do it out of mercy (Let us not mistake the fact that actions loudly proclaimed to be done out of thoughtfulness are not always as pure as claimed; there are some who will always sing "I'm Only Thinking of Him" while really considering only their own place in society) demonstrate a change in the compass of humanity and value. Perhaps only by a degree or two, but still differing from our guiding light. One cannot reach perfection by missing the mark.
Although one could argue that life of the elderly is valuable b/c they have already contributed or b/c we can learn something from them, these are ultimately still justifications. And justifications mean that one is still unsure of the foundational argument's veracity. There need be no justification beyond this: they live. "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalieable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Declaration of Independence)
To hold a truth self evident means that it does not require proof or justification beyond itself. It is truth and truth is fact. It exists. Our agreement or disagreement, our desire to justify or nullify, our need to polish to feel important is irrelevant. The truth does not need us. It is. We are the ones in need of it. My sister once said that 'truth is truth, and though it can be villified, it cannot be nullified.'
Our foundation is beyond reproach. We are created equal. Without adding in the importance of a job, or a body, or social class or marriage status. We are equal because we are. And our lives have been filled with rights. One of these is Life. Not just life, but Life. Not just liberty. Liberty. And Happiness, not the Pursuit or struggle of which is emphasized, but the Happiness itself, which means so much more than we often wish to admit. The Founders were not just speaking of those who were Anglo Saxon Protestants. Review their own writings. Review those who founded this country. There were men and women of all races and religions and social classes. Those who say otherwise are either ignorant of our foundation or deliberately obfuscating.
When you see someone, whether young or old, whether working at home or 60 hours or too 'broken' to work at all; remember that their very existence reaffirms Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It is hope. And though people without hope are easy to control, those with it create an ever expanding universe where all can rise and reach dreams. Even dreams that come to us as we age. We are not Broken. We are a part of the Great Clock and each piece is purposeful in the Eternal Now.
We only need to understand and remember.