If

If everyone in the world vanished in an instant and you were the only person left, how much of civilisation would be safe in your hands?

I asked myself this question after reading Immanual Kant and the idea that ethical behaviour may be described as those actions anyone would do in the same situation. To know what those actions are you have to ask the question, “What would others do?” This inner questioning, this study in ones own actions fascinates me. It seems to me that if we do not carry our ethics within us without reference to what others do (only educated by it), we are highly unlikely to be truly ethical.

In A Shropshire Lad, Houseman points out in the poem which starts Good People Do You Love Your Lives, that each and everyone of us is an entire universe. When we die it is the end of everything for us. This is not the same as being alone. We are not alone. But we are all separated by inner circumspection from everyone else.

And I hope when you answer you can say, “As much as strength and time would allow me to make safe.” Because that answer is the mark of the depths of your humanity.

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