Wednesday, February 27, 2013

No One Is An Island

The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that this occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

(from John Donne's "Meditation XVII," 1623)

Except for the occasional hermit, Robinson Crusoe or egomaniacal psychopath, no one is entirely self-reliant, autonomous or independent of propinquitous social fabric.

To anyone so naive, foolish or downright menacing as to think they are completely self-reliant "do-it-yourselfers," ask yourself some questions.

Did you pave all of the roads and paths you travel on?

Did you make your own money or fiat and then pay yourself?

Did you make your own medicines and administer them to yourself?

Did you make all your own texts after having taught yourself to read, talk and think?

Did you carry yourself through pregnancy and then deliver yourself?

Do you intend to bury or cremate and remember yourself?

This actuality -- that we are not isolated islands -- is a core component of how one ought to see the world. Answer wisely, for the bell tolls for all.

Today's Rune: Partnership.  


jodi said...

Erik, I love it that I need people and that they need me. It gives a certain purpose to things.

the walking man said...

I am no Island I am a continent, nay I am the land and the sea of the planet that is diminished daily. Some roads were paved upon me and others carved out of my soul but in the end with the passing of a species and any wise thought from the back of me then the bell tolls once again for me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Agree with that. And too many folks depend on others until they get to the top and then think they are suddenly an island. They forget about the stepping stones they used to get there.