What are we responsible for?
There are 1.3 million identified animals species that occupy the Earth right now but none have changed the face of the planet more than the human being. The night sky can now be seen from space. One hundred square miles of land can be obliterated at the press of a button. We have built bridges connecting land masses separated by large bodies of water. Humans were blessed with this great power of intelligence which would allow us to rule the world. However, as Uncle Ben once said to Spiderman, “With Great Power comes great responsibility.” But what is this great responsibility that humans must fulfil? Who do we owe this responsibility to? If anything, we owe it to ourselves.
The philosopher Ayn Rand says in her philosophy known as Objectivism that an individual’s responsibility is to himself and himself only. This is absolutely true. The sole responsibility that humans or any organism has is to keep oneself content. Part of keeping oneself content is keeping oneself alive. This is the background for the sole purpose of almost every species on Earth. Survive. Most animals’ lives are centered around keeping oneself alive. Eat. Don’t get eaten. Eat. Don’t get eaten. Eat. Don’t get eaten. A constant cycle that an organism will go through its entire life only to keep itself alive, to keep itself alive. This the life of every species but one. Humans have advanced so much that the simply surviving does not satisfy us. The job of surviving is a far simpler task than it is for most species, and we can thank our ancestors for that. After not having to fight to survive for the majority of our existence as a species has made us bored of simply surviving and it does make satisfy us as simply as it does other creatures. Nevertheless, we still must perform our responsibility to keep ourselves content. So new ways have been found to keep oneself content. Whether it be a sport or a television, a tasty food or a lavish home, man has created and found new ways to satisfy himself. Sadly, the concept of scarcity butts in. There are limited resources to satisfy our unlimited desires. Here, the competition must begin, and here we see humans’ true natures show, their desire to benefit themselves, even if it is at the expense of others.
Humans’ one true responsibility is to keep themselves happy. Everything else is an offshoot of this one responsibility. For example, the responsibility to not kill another person is not a result of owing the other person a responsibility, rather owing oneself the responsibility of keeping yourself happy by not having to sit in a jail cell for years at end. One might say that this view of humans is inhumane and that it takes away what makes us different than the rest of the Animal Kingdom. However they are sadly mistaken. What differentiates us is our thumbs and our intelligence, not the nature of our being. We are powerful animals, but animals never the less. Our only responsibility is to ourselves. Why did we so radically change the face of the planet? It was for no reason than the fact that it benefited us. Whether it made our lives easier, made us money, or made us famous, we did it to make ourselves a little bit happier, we did it for ourselves