We have all heard the phrase “I’m only hurting myself” or “it’s a victimless crime”.  In reality, every decision we make and every action we take does involve or affect others in some way or another.  We are all linked and no one is truly independent or self-contained.  If I decide to grow my own food to save money, there is someone out there who will lose a sale and possibly the income they need.  For ever action there is an opposite and equal reaction (Newton’s 3rd law).  If I decide to engage in a health-endangering activity, are there not societal costs involved?  Doesn’t my lost productivity impact the world around me?  If I call in sick because I’m hung over isn’t someone going to have to take up my slack that day?  When I destroy my own life are not the people who love, care, or depend on me suffering too?  While guilt and shame are ultimately counter-productive, the understanding that our very being is important to the world around us can be motivating.  When we realize that we do, indeed, matter, we may being to take our lives and our decisions seriously.  We all do matter and something as simple was whether I buy gum or candy does, in fact, influence the world around me.  A butterfly flapping it’s winds in Africa can, indeed, affect the weather on the other side of the world (The butterfly effect, Chaos Theory).


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