The advent of civilization changed culture and practices that were predominant in the ancient society. In the previous periods, humans obtained their livelihoods through hunting and gathering, fishing or other primitive measures. The caves provided a safe haven; offering security and protection from predators and extreme weather patterns. However, in the current day and age, we live in a society where people have enough time, opportunity and space to offer assistance to others. A lot has changed over time including goals and ambitions. Nonetheless, the significant difference is that modern-day humans have opportunities and time to offer care to the less fortunate within the society, which according to Father Arrupe should be the “least of our neighbors.”
However, it is not uncommon to encounter human actions that are not geared towards elevating the status of the lowly in society but for personal gain and ambition. Perhaps, this might be as a result of ungratefulness or utter carelessness about assisting others. Nonetheless, either of these impedes compassion and kindness which in the end leads to a world of loneliness and a society where no one feels grateful to belong. It is ironical that such a community poses critical negative influence on everyone within it. In other words, we need each other not only for survival but also to feel loved, cared for, considered and worthy.
Unfortunately, not everyone is driven by raw, selfish ambition to gain wealth at the expense of others. Some people rejoice in undertaking responsibilities that aim to serve and uphold social justice for each within society. One such person is our neighbor, Mr. Joe. He is a retired teacher. Whenever he is free, he always calls all school-going children in the neighborhood for free mathematics lessons. He volunteers to utilize his knowledge to assist us. According to him, every human has the responsibility to support others. “What is the need for knowledge, abilities, and information,” he often poses. He often says that it is not ethical to have a light but not use it to light other people’s paths – the least of his neighbors.
It is important to remind ourselves that Father Arrupe does not abhor loving oneself. However, according to him, it is a farce for people to isolate themselves from the world with the only ambition of serving their self-interest. Therefore, Father Arrupe urges that Jesuit education should transform individuals to be able to see the higher purpose that we can only be happy when at least our neighbors are feeling well. Therefore, the quote majorly reminds anyone of people such as Mr. Joe, who see the good in others as their responsibility. He has knowledge and information. Probably he loves himself and God. However, he has decided to share the love, education, and information with others. He is, therefore, a great inspiration to me and I believe we share something in common; service to humanity is service to God.
Indeed, the responsibility of humans in the modern world is to serve others. It is therefore imperative for all of us to utilize our God-given knowledge, abilities, and power and go past ourselves and assist others. It is my desire and hopes that each should focus on transferring their ideas and giving a helping hand whenever it is necessary. This should be the driver of education and learning just like it is among the Jesuits who believe that all human problems arise due to selfishness and self-centeredness.