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Progress vs. humanitarianism - why they don't need to be mutually exclusive

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

I believe that it is the responsibility of every person on earth to do their part for the greater good. But there is some debate about what that means exactly. Elon Musk has been criticized for his plan to colonize Mars, but I don't necessarily think that people should judge him too harshly for his vision. Because although now it may seem like a waste of resources to some people, we don't often see the benefits of many innovations until much later. A lot of people probably thought investing money in the development of many of the greatest inventions throughout history should have been used for humanitarian purposes, and yet these technological advances have brought us to where we are today. I doubt very many people would say that they would willingly give up their computer or the ability to travel on an airplane. I admit that not all technological advances are used for the greater good, but their development has lead to countless other discoveries that eventually do.

For example, most modern medical equipment uses various technologies that would never have been developed unless resources were first allocated to someone with a vision. Computers are probably the best example. No one could ever have predicted all the changes that computers have brought to our world. And I believe that technological advances may be part of what will return the planet to a state of balance, environmentally as well as otherwise. I believe people can change. And I hope that enough people will be able to change fast enough to each do their part. But we are all busy people and money feels like it is always in short supply. And if Elon Musk wants to use his self made fortune to finance his vision for the future of humanity, that's perfectly fine with me. Because at least he's not using the money to cause harm. And just like with computers, no one can say for certain that the research his team is doing won't lead to innovations that will help our planet as well. And his vision isn't stopping me in any way from doing my part. I wonder how many people who criticize Elon Musk are sharing their hard earned money for humanitarian purposes. People will spend 5$ daily on a cup of coffee but rarely will donate 2$ to the local food bank at the grocery store check out. I once walked out of Whole Foods after spending 20$ on healthy snacks and was stopped by someone on the street asking people to sign up to support Plan Canada, a charity that supports the education of girls in less privileged places. She explained how the charity works, and that it is only 40$ per month to support the girl and to provide her whole family with food if the girl goes to school every week, so as to encourage her whole family to support her education. So I signed up even though I was a student at the time. Because if I can spend 20$ in one store visit to buy unnecessary food for myself, I really should spend 40$ a month to support this girl's education and to feed a family for a month. Not to say that everyone needs to give all their money away. But everyone should give at least a little bit. The benefit is not only to the charity you support but will also make a person feel good about them-self for doing something good for someone else. Sharing really is caring, as a friend of mine used to say. So don't give up your phone. Or your daily coffee if those things make you happy. Everyone has their things, after all. But do try to give a little. Not that I'm telling you what to do. But you should.

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