Modern societies have developed welfare systems. Their purpose is to create systems of mutual assistance that enable people to avoid toxic dependency on others and to replace it with a healthy welfare dependency.
If I accept that what I might take to me mine was in fact given to me, then I realise I can only use it by also giving it away. I cannot hold on to anything and I cannot look within me to find more.
When do we tell the truth? How do we fight slander? How do we speak truth to power?
What are the institutional patterns of thought which dominate our minds from within?
Institutions are far worse than prisons and yet we have not weaned ourselves from using them to exclude and abuse people. We've not made people aware of how unnecessary this all is.
We must be careful how we try to change and influence each other. Superficial changes in language can create cynicism and undo the possibility of genuine change.
"the optimist sees injustice as something discordant and unexpected, and it stings him into action. The pessimist can be enraged at wrong; but only the optimist can be surprised at it"
Language lets us feel we have connected. Yet we are not always sure and so we invent jargons, idiolects, little groups in which we can feel assured of membership. Yet even this reassurance can feel hollow.
Evil can grow in many places - but the bureau - the office where no one rules - is particularly prone to create unfeeling harms.
We must never lose a sense of our own individual moral responsibility - if we do we stop being human.
Kent M. Keith & The Roches offer some wise advice on setting sail in this troublesome and paradoxical world.
We can understand why some had to collaborate with the totalitarian regime. But why did so many others join in who had nothing to fear?
Why - when we are rich beyond the dreams of any earlier generation - are we not free?
Halldor Laxness teaches us that the poor rarely benefit from the generosity of the rich - which is mostly wasted on themselves.
Maimonides offers one of the most important accounts of how we reconcile charity and justice in practice.
The poem Euthanasia by Elizabeth Jennings imagines life after assisted dying becomes normal.