Monday, July 6, 2009

We need a slight change of mindset

Be honest with yourself: If you ahve ever found a wallet lying around in public, obviously accidentally seperated from its owner by the laws of physics and gracity (ergo the poor guy dropped it), you have taken great pains to to return it, or to hand it to an authority figure, but only after helping yourself to the cash inside.

You try to rationalise this behaviour to yourself by reasoning that "he will be glad to get his credit cards/driver's licence back, so he won't miss his cash all that much, and besides, it could have been much worse. And waht's the chance of me getting a financial reward for my good deed?"

But in actual fact, the money is not your's to begin with. The owner of said wallet is under no obligation to fork over his hard-earned cash. Yes, it is an unwritten rule that you hand over ten percent of the money in the wallet to the good samaritan, but there is no pressure to abide by it. It is still theft, even if you don't get caught. Even if the man earns more in a month than your entire household earns in a year, it still does not change the fact that you are stealing.

We are living in a society where we are brought up to believe that we are somehow "entitled" to certain things. And I am not referring to natural laws like "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", but to concepts like the unfair redistribution of wealth, rewards for doing what is expected of you and punishing people for being successful.

We have lost our sense of hard work. History teaches us that each and every single time a people become self-righteous, it is only a few short years until they are wiped from the face of the earth. This has happened to both the best and worst peoples ever, and we are no different: Rome, Ancient Greece, Persia, Egypt, even Biblical Israel.

A close friend has moved to Australia to make a better life for his family. He told me this sobering account:
He filled up his car at a self-serve gas station. when he entered the shop to pay for the gas, he asked the shopkeeper/owner how he could be sure that someone wouldn't drive off without paying, because it surely seems easy. The man's reply: "why would you want to do something like that?". Makes you think about how we look at the world...

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