Great Things and Great Suffering

In the last 30 minutes, I watched two videos. One video was about the invention of these small, autonomous, agile, flying robots. These robots are not only quick enough to fly through a hula hoop being tossed into the air, but also smart enough to build things with other flying robots. Our technology has advanced so far that these machines can figure out where they are and how to maneuver entirely on their own. And since they're so small, they can be used as first responders after natural disasters. For example, when it's unsafe to enter a building after an earthquake, these robots can go in instead. And perhaps the next time there is an emergency at a nuclear reactor, these little guys can fly in and scan the area for radiation. The applications for such a technology are endless.

The second video I watched was about this 700 pound 23 year old man pleading for help. He said that he had tried to lose weight before but was never successful and so he was now asking for anyone and everyone to help him. When I watched this video, I could tell right away that this man was suffering a great deal and that he truly wanted to change his life. He said he wanted to be able to see his niece and nephew grow up and perhaps even have his own family one day. I couldn't help but cry after watching his desperate plea, and at the same time I couldn't help but feel entirely useless because I knew I couldn't and can't do anything to help him. But this is not to say that he can't be helped. On the contrary, his suffering can be relieved, he just needs to meet the right people.

And so now we come to the point that I'm trying to make. Too often I find myself not the right person to relieve anyone's suffering. Unlike the engineers in the first video, I won't be able to save people from a collapsed building or scan an area for radiation. I won't be able to invent any cures for cancer or any other type of disease...

I can't even help this 23 year old man lose weight.

In about one hour, I will walk to the library and take a practice GRE exam in preparation for the real thing in two weeks. If I score high on the test and do well throughout this year, I might be able to get into a PhD program. If that happens, I will spend the next 6 years of my life developing my theory on what a just society looks like. If I am successful in attaining my PhD, I will spend the rest of life being an academic and hopefully inspiring young people to fight for justice. If I am able to do all that, I will die happy knowing that I tried to make this world a better place. However, I know that in the end there will be a part of me that wished that I could have done more.