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Regarding David Shribman's June 17 column "You're Nothing Special": He makes a valid point. I believe that much good and ill fortune in life is bestowed upon us by fate. We mistakenly believe that we have earned our good fortune through our strength of character, our hard work and superior individual efforts. We fail to realize that most of the good things in life come to us unearned by the caprice of fate. Were you born graced with strong physical and mental health, intelligence and strength of character? Were you born to loving, responsible parents who cared and sacrificed for you? Were you born in a time and place of peace, freedom, opportunity and prosperity?
Is it not the ultimate hubris to believe that we have earned all our good fortune by dint of our virtuous self-efforts? And what of those who are born into a debilitating culture of fear, ignorance and hate or the ravages of war, political oppression and disease, or are the victims of negligent, abusive parents? Are such people somehow responsible for their wretched circumstances? And what of those born into abject poverty or an oppressed racial or religious minority? Can we justly fault such people for their failure to lift themselves up by their boot straps?
Yes, we all have a responsibility to make the most of our gifts and to assume responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones. But those blessed by fate with abundant good fortune must also recognize the capricious nature of their gifts and resolve to give back to the larger society in meaningful ways.
At this point in human history, it is all the more urgent that we do so since we are all increasingly interdependent upon one another via technology, government and commerce in a world of rapidly growing population and strained natural resources. Ultimately, we all share a common destiny.
The days of the isolated, self-sufficient pioneer are morphing into a world where interdependence, cooperation, depth of knowledge and social justice are essential to achieve a better future for all.
First Published June 23, 2012 12:00 am