The Place: Prison
The Time: Around 300BCE

Crito: I know some people who are willing to rescue you and get you out of the country. Why throw your life away?
Socrates: My dear Crito, I appreciate your warm feelings, if, that is, they have some justification. Tell me this: isn't the really important thing not to live but to live well?
Crito: Why, yes.
Socrates: And to live well means the same thing as to live honorable or rightly?
Crito: Yes.
Socrates: Then in the light of this we must decide whether it is right for me to get away without official discharge. Is it not so that one ought to fulfill all of one's agreements, provided they are right?
Crito: One ought to fulfill them.
Socrates: Then consider the logical consequences. Suppose while we were preparing to run away from here the Laws and Constitution of Athens were to come and confront us and ask, "Do you imagine that a city can continue to exist and not be destroyed if the legal judgments pronounced in it have no force, but can be nullified and destroyed by individual persons?" Suppose they said, "Was there a provision in the agreement between you and us for you to disobey, or did you agree to abide by whatever judgments were pronounced?" What are we to say, Crito? Are we not bound to admit that we must obey?
Crito: Indeed we are bound, Socrates.
Socrates: That, my dear friend Crito, is what I seem to hear them saying, just as a mystic seems to hear the strands of music; the sound of their argument rings so loudly in my head that I cannot hear the other side. Do you wish to urge a different view?
Crito: No, Socrates, I have nothing more to say.
Socrates: Then give it up, Crito, and let us follow the proper course, since God points out the way.
(Note: The following may not have actually been said, but I believe it probably was)
Crito: So, it could be the last time you see me alive?
Socrates: Yes. For society to continue, this must be.
Crito: Holy Shit! You must die to preserve life on Earth as we know it!
Socrates: Goodbye, my dear friend.

Life on Earth as we know it is always evolving. As we know it, it will not be in 100 years. Just look at the lifes of people and how they constantly change and adapt their social norms, values, attitudes and you'll see it.

Look at the evolution of everything you know. The world is changing. And for you to keep it the way you know, you must die. Death kind of puts a milepoint in the world as you know it. You know - the world before it and after ...

Preserve that what is dear to you.

Die.

What you have to ask before sacrificing yourself to preserve life as we know it is: Will my action make the world a better place?

Imagine this scenario: A vaccine is designed for a horrible disease that kills hundreds every year, and has a 5% fatality rate. With the help of this vaccine, the disease is eradicated entirely from the world, down to the last lab samples. The vaccine has a 1 in 1,000,000 infection rate. Nobody has the disease for a generation. This is undoubtedly a good thing.

After two or three generations, people barely remember the people who have died from this disease. It's history. The disease is non-existent. Evidently, vaccination is stopped, because the disease no longer exists. There is no point in risking lives when there are no recorded instances of infection in the last seventy-five years.

But then, someone is bitten by a monkey. Monkeys have never been vaccinated. This person has not been vaccinated. The disease spreads like wildfire: People have lost any immunity they had; the fatality rate is now 85%. Most of the world's population is killed.

You can never fully gauge the effect of any 'big gesture', i.e. any action that effects a lot of the world. The world is not a big truck on a straight road, where your actions are simply keeping the truck on the road. The entire area, as far as you can see is paved. You can drive in any direction you want. There will be bumps, but there will with most directions.

Life on earth no longer being 'as we know it' can be either a good or a bad thing. Take this into account when you decide whether to save life as we know it. Your 'leaving your mark on the world' may lead to massive death. Your procrastination may also lead to massive death.

Anyway, here's my point: You can never fully judge the effect your actions will have. If you do something you regret shortly after, it could still have good (or bad) consequences. Think about this when deciding if you want to save life as we know it.

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