A sense of obligation

A man said to the universe: “Sir, I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “The fact has not created in me “A sense of obligation.”

From Stephen Crane’s collection of poems in War is Kind.

The pessimism of Crane’s poems is excessive, but, nonetheless, insightful. Indeed, the universe seems to maintain no “sense of obligation;” except: by it we were created, by it we experience the beauty (and sometimes the ugliness) of life, by it we create (and destroy). The universe, for all its non-concern, has provided for us a sense of obligation, but a sense of obligation that lies beyond the universe itself. For some, it is simply a metaphysical existence, for others it is a spiritual existence. “For which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him ca stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 9:7-11, ESV).

Whether or not one believes the universe should have a sense of obligation, it is generally felt that somewhere, somehow, there is a sense of obligation in the universe: man to man, God to man (or however one conceives the metaphysical universe).

© 2017, Mark R. Adams. All rights reserved.

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