Monday, August 12, 2013

A Tale of Two Foster Homes

Imagine if you will two separate yet identical foster homes, both of which are completely self-sustaining, they both have complex water purifying systems, and a massive organic garden along with animals for food as well.  Everything is provided in abundance for everyone in the household so long as it is properly cared for.  Both homes house a variety of different races and religious beliefs, yet the parents have done a very good job of keeping the peace.  One day, the parents leave, telling the children that someday they will return.
                Let’s take a look at the first house, once the parents leave, they decide that they are going to neglect their responsibilities and just have fun, after all, the parents will be back soon and they will fix everything.  Instead of cleaning out the water purifier, they let it accumulate debris and rot.  Instead of caring for all the crops in the garden, they find a couple of different plants that grow the fastest and are easiest to harvest and decide to wipe out everything else to make room to plant more.  The monoculture system that they create is more easily susceptible to insect and rodents, leading to destruction of crops.  They then decide to begin using pesticide to deal with the insect infestation and to use chemical fertilizer to make the foods grow faster.  The chemicals are absorbed into the soil and into the food, eventually weakening those who eat it.  They soon begin to run out of food and water, and start fighting amongst one another about how to distribute the work that needs to be done.  They start to notice the differences in appearance and beliefs amongst them and begin to band together in separate groups.  The groups decide that there needs to be some kind of order, so they decide that they are going to have a vote to elect someone to put in charge.  Behind closed doors a select few tally the votes, and then put someone that they feel will do best in charge, disregarding the majority.  This “leader” begins to alienate the groups even more, pointing out flaws and traits of groups that are not his own.  The work begins to be unfairly distributed, some groups work much harder than others, yet they receive a fraction of the resources.  Gossip occurs and the “leader” begins to build on it, having his followers walk amongst the other groups and stir up trouble.  Eventually the groups begin to fight against one another while the “elite” group sits back and watches.  During these fights, crops are destroyed and sections of the house are damaged beyond repair, making less living space.  “Lesser” groups are forced to live outside and are given inadequate sustenance.  “Don’t worry” the "elite" group would assure everyone “someday the parents will come back and fix everything.”  The majority of the remaining crops are used to feed the farm animals so they can be slaughtered for meat for the “elite” group.  Soon all the others are too weak to do anything and are unable to go on, while the “elite” group hordes resources and luxuries, everyone else suffers.
                Now, let’s take a look at the second house.  The children do not know when the parents are going to be coming back, so they are constantly prepared.  They keep the house in the same order that it would be if the parents were there, they clean the water purifier, care for the crops and animals, and love one another just as the parents love them.  The work is distributed amongst everyone based on capabilities, everyone is eager to help and the rewards are also distributed, regardless of color or beliefs; after all, there is more than enough to go around.  Because there is an abundance of different crops in the garden, pests and rodents cannot easily adapt to eating just one type of plant and so are easier to prevent.  The animals are regarded as friends and are rarely used as food.  Instead they are used to help with the labor in the garden, as well as fertilizer for the crops.  They realized that milk from a cow and eggs from chickens can feed many people for many days, whereas if the animals are butchered they have a limited supply of meat.  The home flourishes, and with everyone working together, the work load is lighter and there is more time for enjoyment.
                So now I ask you, how does this story end?  Do the parents ever come back to save the first house from themselves?  What if our “parents” came back and saw what we have done to our “home”?  What would they think of us?  We have been given an enormous responsibility, and to put it blunt, we are screwing up.  It just may be time to start to think about this from a different perspective.  Will we continue to let the “elite” group tell us who to hate and what to believe?  Or are we going to care for our “home” and our brothers and sisters as if our “parents” were still here?  Will we love each other as our “parents” love us?