Beyond What We Owe to Each Other

For those of you who don’t know, I had to put my horse down this Monday. It hurt me on a far deeper level than I ever would’ve expected — at random times, the pain will hit me and I’ll be rendered unable to breathe, to speak, to do anything but cry. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that I’m currently experiencing all five stages of grief simultaneously. However, what’s truly shocked me is how kind everyone around me has been. Even when they don’t know what to say, they adopt some of my pain as their own, even if they don’t fully understand it. This, to me, shows some type of deeper altruism of which humans are capable. The title of this post is a play off of a book on moral contractualism entitled “What We Owe to Each Other”. Now, I’ve never read said book and am by no means well-versed in philosophy, but my interpretation of what little I know of it is that humans treat each other in ways they can justify; essentially, they base their actions on what others can accept and what they owe to them as mutual citizens of planet earth. This, to me, harkens back to the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. This type of worldview, in which your altruism is based strictly on some sort of contract between yourself and the rest of humanity, has always struck me as selfish and not fully understanding the true depths of human kindness. Humans are, in fact, rather stupid creatures. We give our love unabashedly, often expecting nothing in return. We help others with no thought for ourselves, we put others above us, we act in ways that are evolutionarily pointless and harmful. And yet we still do it. I loved my beautiful horse Ava with reckless abandon, and after losing her others have done so towards me. So be human today. Love beyond the boundaries of what is sensible, and make sure those who you love know that. Do not do only what is owed to you or only help people so far as you’d want to be helped yourself; that would make for a very cold and utterly inhuman world. Instead, act wildly and irrationally and totally and absolutely like the unpredictable, inefficient human being you are. Love others to the point of senselessness.

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  1. I love this so much and think it is such a good reminder to a lot of Williams students who try to ration the shit out of everything (me included). That’s not what love is about. It’s about letting your heart guide you and not overthinking it. I’m so sorry about your horse. I hope this quote might bring you some comfort: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

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