Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NPR- A human life

I was listening to NPR Morning Edition this (Wednesday 4/25/07) morning before going out on a photo trip, specifically the stories on the Russian orphans, suicide bombers from Morocco, and abortion rights fights in state legislature, I began to think about the value we put on a human life. There are over 6 billion people in the world today, and likely as many who have lived before and now just history. So why do we treat other people so badly to the point that to many a human life isn't worth very much.

I know I'm thinking out loud, and everyone generally talks about how much they value "human life", but this view is more about humanity than a human life. What's the difference between "human life" and "a human life"? For many, probably nothing, and a semantic argument, but the inclusion of the word to focus on one life makes the difference in the discussion. It's easy to understand how anyone can value humanity, but then I find they discriminate against people or groups, or use some philosophical or religious basis to call other people "enemies."

And that's what I don't understand. We argue so much about life here in "America" but then decide it's only our America that matters, not those who don't fit our definition. I don't get it. What happened to the adage, "For there but the grace of God go I."? Have you spent time to understand someone else who you think you may dislike or worse, such as so offensive to your way of life and vallues? Or find someone just doesn't seem to be human?

With all the diversity in people, it's easy to see all of us discriminate, even hate. Not surprisingly, it's human nature. Maybe something in our evolution to fear people not like us, and we've taken it to the extreme in the modern times. I don't really know. I just wonder sometimes when I hear, read or see people mistreating others, and often worse, reducing others to objects beneath their dignity to respect or treat decently, like in the news stories.

Why this topic? Well, I like to walk around places, especially downtown Seattle and Tacoma, and photograph what I see. And while walking around it's interesting to watch all the people going about their life. In the process of walking around I often time to talk with people for a few minutes whether I'm focusing on something or not. Most of the time it's a positive experience, and you meet some interesting people.

But occasionally I get into some situations I'd rather not be, but I usually find it's a test to see how much I value a human life, to spend the time with this one person for a moment in our lives. Sometimes it's hard, such as talking to transients, or belligerent or obnoxious people, and I often give up or just walk away. I don't until it's absolutely clear it's a lost cause to get through to them.

Anyway, I was just pondering thought after the news and the day walking around. It's a big world and a lot of people we have to deal with every day, along with the many we rely on for everything we have or do. How much do you value human life and a human life?

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