What is the value of u human being’s life these days? And how do we express that? Is money a proper unit? And does the fixed amount apply for everybody or should we distinguish different types of people?
A question (of conscience)
Who is worth most to you?
- A millionaire or a homeless person
- A soccer/basketball player or a garbage collector
- An average citizen or a criminal
- A white person or a colored person
- A healthy person or a disabled person
- A child or an adult
My personal conviction is that every human being has an equal value. Although I must admit that sometimes I categorize them unconsciously. If that’s the case I point out to myself that this person also has a life story. A history that molds a person to what he has become. And if you know the underlying story, you sometimes understand why somebody acts in a certain way.
In our society it’s all about achievements. If you don’t perform you don’t contribute and in fact don’t count. Sportsmen? They are often heroes. But why? They only showed an achievement in sport. Don’t get me wrong, I too admire those performances and like to watch them. But I mean this: are achievements really the standard for the value of a human being? Someone who comforts or helps, someone who encourages or inspires, can someone like that also be called a hero? Can you call someone a hero if he shows love to a person that is being looked down upon?
And what about criminals? Do they have the same value even if they did the most horrible things? In my view they do, but I very well understand this view needs some clarification. Because I also think it is dreadful what people can do to each other and everything in me revolts when I hear of certain crimes. But wouldn’t it be extraordinary if we can make a distinction between the person and the crime? De crime itself is bad, but is the person who commits a transgression immediately lost also? Or can and do we still want to see the value of that person? And are we still prepared to invest in such a person?
Nuances are also hard to find in expressions about refugees. Then I think: would you trade places, really? Do you really want to arrive here after a grueling journey without any possessions? Well, you would possess something: deep traumas, unprecedented misery and a sad and uncertain image of your future.
A new wealth
Maybe we should look at people in a different way. In that respect we can learn so much from children, who in their purity are a great example for ‘us grownups’. Maybe we should get more wise instead of more intelligent. Move the accents of value. Recently I told my son that it’s very special if you can say sorry to someone else. At first he didn’t understand and replied: “A diamond is very special”. And in fact he couldn’t be more right and I could confirm: “Saying sorry is just as special as a diamond”.
We have to understand more and more that being important has nothing to do with status, being valuable has nothing to do with achievements and being rich has nothing to do with money. And like it already gets plainly clear in an ancient book: one human being is worth more than all treasures on the earth.