Relativity: Yesterday evening, discussing with Barrie about the trials and tribulations of the world, he questioned the relativity of poverty. What does it mean to consider my lucky position in relation to those worse off than I? Any good deed I push out into the world seems inane as I return to my well stocked refrigerator and heated apartment despite the starving masses across the world. What happens if we admit that there is no end to the relativity? If I were to give up everything I own and live in a mud hut, there would still be someone worse off than I. And, anyway, what is helpful about forcing myself in to poverty? It's defeating to think that there is little I can do from a position of poverty and also little affect that my good will can do from a position of affluence (or relative affluence).
Utopia: I believe, though, that acting with kindness, making benevolent decisions about how to interact with fellow humans, and using compassion as a life compass will have an impact. It will not save the world, it will not cure Ebola, it will not end world hunger. But, like the eucalyptus on the el train, if everyone carries a blossom of kindness, perhaps the air across the world will smell a little sweater.