Beware the Riverbed

When did what we possess become the basis of how we measure ourselves? Does it really make you a better person if you have that cool phone that needs an invitation to even purchase? Yes, it has a million apps and it makes you feel superior that you have something that most don’t, but that’s it. It does not enhance your usefulness on this planet in anyway.

Our lives have become so chockablock with gizmos that everything comes down to ownership. You have a certain kind of car and that makes you part of some club. You live in a gated community that only a select few can afford and you automatically rise to a certain class of the privileged. You tag along with a bunch of people based on your religious preferences and that becomes your litmus test for any individual. It’s easy to fulfil what is expected of you when you have a set role that only requires you to fit in. Those practices and ideologies would only make sense in that context. If you had to mix with the everyday folk and try to explain your personal beliefs to them, you’d have a completely different response. But that is how you gauge your worth. Your effectiveness. Your ability to validate what you claim to hold as true. Not how long you’ve been a vegetarian or the Ph.D that looks impressive next to your name, on an invitation to a seminar on Apologetics.

It is easy to dismiss these flagrant misrepresentations on how society values the individual’s role on a global scale. And even that has its limitations, because celebrities like politicians and movie stars do make an impact by their choices and policies. Their wider reach equips them to influence the common man’s thinking and in the case of the government even effect everyday life. So is this what ones worth boils down to? Being in the limelight and impressing your principles onto others. I daresay no.

Let me simplify this. A sharp stone on the banks of a river might seem utterly useless to most. After all, it’s a stone among thousands of others and will probably be carried along by the water without causing any catastrophic change in world events. True. But is it so far-fetched to believe that somewhere in that stone’s journey somebody stamped on it and went “Ow, shoulda worn my slippers?” It is definitely possible. You’d ask, “So does making someone wear proper footwear signify our worth?” That is an interesting theory, but no, that’s just circumstantial. A sharp stone might get polished and maybe even flattened to be picked up by someone trying to skip stones. Or it might erode away into the riverbed and form the silt that sticks to your soles when you venture into the water. Whatever the case, as a sharp stone its very nature alluded to harm. And though that might not have been its sole purpose– I’m sure there is some use for them that I’m not aware of– it carried out its role in warning people to be careful. That is how we ought to understand worth. By our innate capabilities that in no way make us better than others, but only help us comprehend how the most unlikely traits can make a world of a difference.


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