What if we treated other nations as if they actually were our neighbors?
This is part 2 of a 3-part series. For part 1, see: A World of 100
For many years, our small planet has been populated by just three people. It’s a cute little planet with a beautiful assortment of flora and fauna, the circumference of which you can hike in about two hours.
In the beginning, the three occupants of this little planet settled on three equal parcels of land. Then greed and discontent grew. Big Man pushed Little Man back into the forest and stole most of his land. Big Man proceeded to make himself rich and powerful with resources that weren’t lawfully his.
You did not feel good about this — because YOU are the third citizen of this little planet.
Not wanting to oppose Big Man, You organized Summer Mission Trips to deliver snacks, toothbrushes and blankets to Little Man in the forest. Meanwhile, many of the world’s diverse natural resources were lost to Big Man’s aggressive consumerism.
In time, Big Man demanded taxes from You in exchange for “protection” of your property and person. Next thing You knew, Big Man was waging war against Little Man … with your taxes financing the war. Seeing Little Man’s injuries, You assuaged personal guilt by reminding yourself that You had no other choice than to be a good citizen and obey Big Man’s laws.
Even when Little Man’s forest was diminished by half, he was able to eke out a modest living … until Big Man built walls around the forest, cutting off Little Man’s sources of water, food and minerals. Then Big Man offered Little Man a Really Good Deal, requiring Little Man to sell lumber in exchange for Paper Money (made from Little Man’s trees). Big Man also sold provisions to Little Man from his company store, at inflated prices.
Which brings us to today. The Really Good Deal is no longer sustainable. All of Little Man’s trees are gone, as are the creatures in his forest. Feeling sorry for Little Man, You double your shipments of snacks, toothbrushes and blankets, organizing both Summer and Winter Mission Trips.
In desperation, Little Man sneaks out of his land, visiting yours and holding up signs asking for Paper Money. At night, Little Man sleeps under Big Man’s bridges.
One day, Big Man finds Little Man squatting on his land.
“You vermin!” Big Man says, and he kicks Little Man back to the place formerly known as The Forest. This becomes a recurring pattern, with Little Man sneaking out, begging for Paper Money, sleeping under bridges and getting kicked out.
You feel as if You ought to be more compassionate but You don’t want to get on the wrong side of Big Man, and You certainly don’t want to make a Little Beggar out of Little Man. You understand the value of hard work. You have read books about laziness, codependency and disempowerment. Sometimes You see Little Man pushing a shopping cart down the street at night and You feel creepy. You wonder where he defecates. You don’t even know if he takes baths anymore, now that his forest is gone. So You install alarm systems and deadbolts on your doors.
The whole idea of Little Man begging in your neighborhood puts a huge damper on your Summer and Winter Missions Program. How can You go to the former Forest and save someone who isn’t even home? Besides, You miss that feel-good moment of giving snacks, toothbrushes and blankets to the needy. The fact that Little Man is creeping through your neighborhood has really messed up your mission plans.
Trying not to feel guilty or get angry at Little Man, You remind yourself that it really isn’t your fault. Big Man was the greedy one, not You.
One morning over a smooth cup of mocha-choco, You consider doing all you can to fix the problem.
But You tell yourself, “The problem is too huge. Nobody can stand up to Big Man. He’s already taxing me for all I’m worth. And look at Little Man! He’s so pathetic, it would take a miracle to fix him.”
To settle your mind, You take a walk to a pretty walled garden that only You and Big Man can get into. You always feel rested here. You sit by the fountain, watching the bees alight on lovely flowers.
Breathing deeply of the nectar-scented air, You remind yourself, I shouldn’t feel so bad about the mess this world is in. It wasn’t my fault. Besides, I’m only one person and there’s only so much that one person can do.
And so life continues as it has, on this little world of three.
This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. For Part 3, see: A World of One.
For Part 1, see: A World of 100.
Image by George Becker, Pexels.com.