The Value of a Life

What is a life worth?

Does the quality of someone’s life diminish his or her inherent value of being alive?

Is letting people die to prove a political or social point acceptable?

I spent four years at a university, and two of those years were spent getting this one economic concept deeply ingrained into my mind: correlation does not imply causation.

In other words, just because two events are related to each other, it does not mean that one causes the other.

I watched a documentary entitled “The Drop Box” this weekend, and it told the story of a man who saw a need in the Korean city of Seoul. In order to avoid ruining the viewing experience for you, I’m going to be as vague as possible and let you watch it on your own (it’s on Netflix now as well as iTunes). His response to this need was critiqued by the media as well as social groups that argued that by providing this specific avenue for those in desperate need, he is encouraging negative behavior from individuals who were not in as dire straits as those that he created this avenue for.

While I understand the whole concept behind trying to minimize unforeseen negative behavior that may be encouraged, I do not understand how people can be so ignorant as to question and critique a system that is saving lives (Keep in mind that these lives would have otherwise been lost), without  proposing an alternative AND implementing that plan.

From where I stand and from what I have seen, our world right now is great at talking. We tweet, post pictures with words on them, write blogs, sit in interviews, critique Facebook statuses, and argue vehemently against anyone who might dare to say or do something that is against what we think is right.

The question is: how many of us are doing something about it?

This isn’t so much an antagonistic post aimed at the critics of the Drop Box, so much as it is a call to action for all of us who are yelling our loudest in the stands while accomplishing nothing but putting text on virtual paper and speaking superfluously in interviews.

We need to stop talking and arguing and actually do something. Let’s stop hiding behind our usernames and internet browsers while we try to crowd-fund building wells for children without water in Africa without ever seeing those who we are helping. Instead of citing research on studies we never performed, on people we never knew, on an issue we don’t actually understand, let’s go and educate ourselves through experience. Let’s sacrifice some time and resources and see for ourselves how bad it really is for many people who also share this same earth with us. Let us stop denying that our world is troubled. Let us see the starvation, the lack of clean water, the young people being trafficked, the neighborhoods with poor schools, the war stricken countries, and the forgotten orphans and let us return to our place in society with a new goal of how to change the world for those who are less fortunate.

Sadly, whether or not we choose to believe the statistics about those that are dying due to malnutrition and lack of clean water, they will still die. Whether or not we choose to believe that unwanted babies are being abandoned on city streets and left for dead, they will still die. Whether or not we choose to believe the reported numbers of innocent girls that are being trafficked and abused, they will still be trafficked and abused.

What is the value of a life? What makes your life more valuable than any of those that die because they don’t have access to what you have? Should not being able to save everyone affect how furiously we should try to do as much as we can?

Imagine what we could accomplish if all of us began to actively address the problems in our world by altering our lifestyles and redirecting our resources to help those who need it. If you don’t trust the middle men, then maybe it’s time to make your efforts first-person. Not trusting charities or organizations that aim to provide relief to impoverished countries is not a good enough reason to do absolutely nothing.

Before I went to Mexico City to help with a safe house that rehabilitated under-aged human trafficking victims, I based my views of human trafficking and prostitution upon assumptions, the media, and my own perception of what different people said about those two issues.

It wasn’t until I stepped into that safe house that it became real. Something changes about how you view wealth and what makes you happy when you see people with nothing but tragic stories who are happier than you have ever been. You begin to see the beauty of life in its pure and unadulterated form. You begin to realize the reason why certain people are willing to sacrifice their lives of plenty to give these fellow humans a fighting chance at life. You realize that no amount of money can buy happiness, but that money when used properly can give those who did not have a fair chance at life, an opportunity to not only survive, but to thrive.

Life is beautiful.

Life is valuable.

Life is worth saving.

Words can not save lives alone.

But actions can.

In the paraphrased words of Bob Goff, love does not only “say” things, love does.

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