We Are the Virus

September 27, 2010
By Serelss BRONZE, New Rochelle, New York
Serelss BRONZE, New Rochelle, New York
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Humanity is a virus. We the people, considered to be the top of the food chain, act as if we are the bottom. We go around finding resources for ourselves. Once that resource runs dry, we go find another, not caring what effect it may have on the larger life system. We behave as miniscule unicellular organism just caring about ourselves, not considering future generations or other forms of life’s needs. We plot and scheme to harm others, just to make things a little easier for ourselves. We steal, we kill, we lie and we torture all just for the advancement of ourselves. As Emerson correctly stated: “The civilized man is a more civilized and experienced savage.” Humans are worse than viruses because viruses use up resources in order to survive, while we use them merely for luxury.

As a student in an extremely competitive school, where the students’ main focus is their grades, I see this sort of behavior on a regular basis. For example, before big tests, people go crazy about copying notes. They even abuse the person who is generously taking time to makes copies of the notes they have compiled over months of attentiveness and note taking in class. This behavior demonstrates pure selfishness.

Recently, we had a huge history test. The day before the exam is a perfect example of this greed. While a quiet little girl in my grade copied notes for the exam in the school library, other students burst through the door, demanding she make copies for each of them. Not only did they disrupt all of the students who were studying intently in the library, but they also burdened this poor, innocent girl, without taking her feelings and time into consideration. These students were so loud and disruptive that the librarian had to throw them out of the library for yelling across the room. They demanded that this student make them copies and staple the packets. They insisted that when she was finished, she deliver the copies to each one of them in their respective classrooms. This event is a perfect example of the human tendency to find the best possible scenario for ourselves, no matter the cost or effect on others. Not for the benefit of ourselves as a people, but for each as individuals. Often people do not look out for each other, but rather for the good of themselves.

While walking down the streets of New York City, I notice that there are many businessmen in suits and very nice clothes that just pass by homeless, disabled people, begging for some money. The fancy businessmen walk by as if the poor were not even there. They offer no help at all, nothing, not even a single dollar, which would help the poverty-stricken person. Some of these wealthy men make a surplus of $100,000 so money is not an issue for them. They do not even give the poor guy a minute of their time. Yes, it’s true that at a particular moment one may not have money to spare or is in a rush. But when one can be of assistance, it is an obligation as a human being to help another out. As a group we have failed at this mission. Some can argue that the poor should be self-reliant, one of Thoreau’s major philosophies, and find their own way to make money. However, self-reliance is only possible if you can afford the basic essentials. Even Thoreau had to work two months out of the year in order to support himself. For the most part these poor in a dire condition cannot find a job or have mental health issues and therefore cannot get themselves out of poverty.
Any time I can, I try my best to give at least a dollar to the people who beg for money on the street. For instance, today I gave two dollars to a poor guy holding up a sign on a street corner. While to me it may seem like just a measly two dollars that money could mean so much for that man. It could mean his first decent meal in a while. It could mean he can buy himself an umbrella so that when it rains he will keep dry, preventing him from getting sick. It could save his life and literally mean the world to this one individual. You could potentially save a life, or at least extend one, by giving a few dollars to someone who really needs it. In a perfect world, where no one was so self-indulgent, there would be no world hunger or poverty. While some of us in America spend time debating which expensive restaurant we should go to, or whether or not we should serve caviar at our lavish parties, there are people out there that are trying to scrounge up enough just to get another meal, so they won’t die. We are worried about luxury while they are occupied with survival.

We should all strive to live by Thoreau’s statement, “If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself.” We should worry about justice not about indulgence. People, unrightfully, consider themselves superior to their fellow human. It all goes back to that famous line by the great William Shakespeare: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?” one is not different from his fellow human being. Just because some people have had more luck than others or were born into wealth, does not mean they are better than the pauper that needs to scrounge around and has to lower himself to beg others for help to afford their next meal.
The most disgusting and inhumane attribute in the world is greed. Rich people who want more and are not happy with what they have, even though its surplus to their basic living essentials. That is greed. A perfect example of greed is the case that personally affected me and my friends, the infamous Bernie Madoff. My school, along with many other establishments and charities, had money ripped from under them by this thief. Here is a rich man who just got greedy and looked to benefit himself no matter what he did to others; he even stole money from charities! He drove many people to poverty and in some cases suicide; because they could not live with the financial turmoil he put them through. He did all this indescribable behavior when he should have been donating money to charities and people less fortunate than he. He should have aspired to be more like the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, who founded his own charity and who has given hundreds of millions dollars to this charity. Or like Warren Buffet, the world’s second richest man, who donated 37 billion dollars, the largest charitable gift ever in the US to Gates Charity. These are true heroes. They realize how lucky they are and that they should give back to the community. I try to do the same, I cannot donate 37 billion dollars, but I do donate my time volunteering on an ambulance to help those who have injured themselves or require some kind of medical assistance. I attend training once a week to ensure these people get the proper treatment they need. It’s the least I can do to help the people less fortunate then I.

On a daily basis we all see these transcendentalist ideas, either practiced properly or improperly. It is our job as human beings to try our best to disprove Emerson and to set what Thoreau said as a goal for how we live our lives. We should not be self-indulgent savages; rather, we should be just, moral and caring individuals looking out for mankind as a whole. What we do has an affect on the larger picture of thing. If we do not change, our Carbon footprint will destroy the world, along with our children, all of mankind and everything that resides among us.

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