OK, so the world is in a mess. But does this have to affect us personally? Is it possible to hide? Does it matter? Can we survive in such a world?
Students and other young people often think deeply about these questions. How can we change the world? How can we rescue the environment? We want to end injustice, stop hunger, banish sickness. This idealism is good. Yet so many people have given their lives to change these things and become disillusioned. Despite their efforts, things have got worse.
Others have felt the problems of the world are too big, and have just tried to live their own lives. Neither way of living gives a real answer.
The shortest letter
Many years ago, in the British TIMES newspaper, the editor asked for comments on what was wrong with the world. Among the many letters which came back to him, was the shortest ever letter to a newspaper editor. It read, 'Dear Sir, I am, Yours faithfully....' The writer was G. K. Chesterton, well-known author of such books as 'Father Brown'.
He had put in two words what many of us took years to find out. He meant that what is wrong with the world is a problem of the human heart. The problem is - I am wrong inside. We are all wrong inside.
I have a mind problem, a heart illness. It shows itself in so many ways. But all ends as one thing - self. The world's problem is my problem. I want to run my life my way, on my terms, for my benefit. Today's people have often been called the 'Me Generation'.
And even when I try to do good things, I find that I often fail. I do not seem to have the power to be the sort of person I would like to be.
And if I am honest, I sense that there is something wrong inside, something missing, an empty feeling.