The last box asks a profound question: What is our fundamental duty? | Entertainment/Life

We have been in our new house for four months. As we sat at our table that was too big for the space and had dinner last week, I noticed the banker’s white box. He had been in the room for so long that I had stopped seeing him, but I realized something quite monumental: “This is our last box.”

Our house is far from assembled, but I was struck by the depth of the last box. I noticed on the side the words “Basic Duty”. The words made me think, “What is our fundamental duty?”

This is a question to be interpreted in several ways. Starting globally, the big question is, “What is our basic duty as human beings?”

I decided to ask the last box question to the wise and thoughtful people I know. Their answers gave me hope and comfort.

“I’m going to tell you what comes to me first, and then I’m going to question my first reaction — that’s the philosopher in me,” said Baton Rouge attorney Amos P. Davis. “I believe the fundamental duty is to leave the place better than you found it. …Ever since I was a kid, I’ve thought that whatever professional success I’ve had, the way I’d measure my life’s worth is basically if I’m a good father. If I am able to help my children grow up and lead useful and meaningful lives.

I realized I had a lot of avocados on my list and decided to mix things up and call Clare Cook, Creative Director of Basin Arts in Lafayette.

“Our fundamental duty as humans? To stay curious,” she said. “Curious and kind, if we get to the point, that would be the thing, right?”

I agreed.

Then I called young Ian Faul in New Orleans. At 18, he’s an old soul in a young body.

“It’s funny you mention it, I just finished Lolita last night and there was a quote about it, but that’s not my thought,” he said.

There was a long pause.

“I try to ask myself if it means for others or for ourselves. Or if it’s binary? I feel like something that sets humans apart from other animals is this idea of ​​having a sense of self and identity,” he said. “Cultivating your individuality and your sense of purpose is one of the most fundamental things. … Cultivating this and understanding what makes you unique is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others simultaneously.

Each week, we’ll highlight the best restaurants and events in metro Baton Rouge. Register today.

Then I called Matt Jones, a lawyer in Baton Rouge.

“At a minimum, everyone can agree, on the Latin phrase, ‘primum non nocere’ – do no harm,” Jones said. “It’s just kind of an introverted duty. It is not fully actualizing yourself as a moral actor. The second part is to love and give to others.

He explained that when you show up in someone’s life, they should feel a little better, which doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert.

“You can give people just by being there,” he said.

Jones then quoted Matthew 25: “..inasmuch as you have done it to one of these least of my brethren, you have done it to me.”

“Basically, give more than you take — if we all did that, the world would be such a better place — and not just give your family,” Jones said. “Beyond that, don’t be a fool. It’s so easy to be nice to people. Smile at people. Say hi.'”

Father Michael Bordelon, priest at Saint-Barnabé in Lafayette, sent me his answer by SMS. He explained that the truest Christian response is to live in the image of God – and to remember that God became human.

“Notice that it is not about escaping this world but about turning this world into paradise,” he wrote. “Almost 70% of what Jesus said had to do with forgiveness – it makes you wonder.”

Then I called Cathy Pratt Curtis, my college roommate and best friend, in Mississippi. She was a missionary in Africa for 12 years and happens to be one of the wisest people in the world.

“That’s a good question,” she said. “I think our basic duty as human beings is to love well and help others on the journey. The beloved part isn’t always easy.

Fran Phares, a lawyer who lives in Covington, was next.

“My answer to that question is the rule of thumb,” she said. “Life is short and there is little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us – our fundamental duty is to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.”

Comments are closed.