Perhaps most people no longer consider themselves to be active members of society who feel valued and respected. The average person operates in a personal microcosm that is virtually disconnected from a larger community that is simply an unpleasant environment devoid of personal stimuli. For people to be easily preoccupied by convenient technologies is maybe a clear indication of their general lack of attachment to local communities. Individual self-interest is the primary motivator for most people, so the idea of participating in community based activities, or discussions is unappealing.
However, we do live in local communities that are based on interdependent needs and services, so we have to maintain a regular interest in the quality and status of our communities. To be so increasingly disengaged from our communities does not bode well for the future of our societies, which thrive on empathic interaction between its members. For me, it is really disheartening to see so many people in my neighborhood who are decidedly apathetic about communal responsibility, yet take for granted its benefits. Being psychologically and emotionally glued to a television, computer, or smartphone won't develop the real social skills that are vital for our continued existence as community based creatures who require face-to-face empathy for real meaningfulness and true happiness.
At any time, when we enter the public space, we are all responsible for its overall quality, safety, cleanliness and freedom. These are benefits that can't be taken for granted, if we want them to be sustained. To act imperious when we go into the public space and act as if other people should be responsible, so we can be engrossed in our self-centered interests, will lead us towards a society that can be manipulated and ruled easily by cynical bullies and thugs. If people can so carelessly abdicate their communal responsibilities, then they shouldn't fein to be insulted when their communal rights have disappeared.
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Obama is "heartbroken"? It's a patronizing response that suggests Japan is on the brink of chaos. It's an event of nature that Japan is capable surely of handling without foreign parenting.
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