This week the thing that hit home with me is the idea of what I will call catalyst personalities. As a society we value youth, strength, and intelligence. So what does this mean for those who find themselves with none of those qualities? What makes a baby who will never grow to hold a job or finish school valuable? Do they have a value to society? How about a grandma who is slipping slowly into senescence because of Alzheimer's? Are these lives worth living? In class the professor talked about how there is an idea that not every life is worthy of life. So if these people are not going to be "productive members of society" then what function can they play? Are our ideas of youth, strength, and intelligence the only measures of what makes life worth living? That is a lot of question marks that need answers.
So as I sat in class pondering how to describe the value of every life I thought of the whole human race as one living organism. Just life a human body there are things that we notice all the time: muscles, brains, stomachs, and bones. These are the major structures of a functioning body but there are also tiny molecules that have essential roles to play. So these less thought about people in society can be thought of as catalyst personalities. When a person has the ability to bring out virtues in others they can play a role even if they lack the abilities commonly seen by society as useful. A person with a disability can give those around them greater empathy, patience, and help them appreciate the little things in life. So the true measure of the value of an individual life can not be standardized or quantified because each individual has a different role.
Now that this has been brought to light in my mind I feel the need to see around me the value that can come from even the most bleak of lives. A person that may only live from birth until 3 years old will make an indelible mark on his parents. They can learn the value of love and patience even through the sorrow of loss. I now hope that I can be, at least in some small part, a catalyst for positive change in those around me.