There is a saying that “the whole world was created for the person” (Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, “Introduction to the Book of Zohar”). It means that we are ultimately responsible for the whole world, i.e., for all humanity.
The question then becomes, why do we lack feeling responsible for the whole world?
It is because our nature acts through a self-serving “maximum fulfillment for minimum effort” filter, which blocks us from feeling such an immense responsibility.
Feeling responsibility for the whole world would add an unbearable weight on our shoulders, so in order to spare ourselves from such a constant burden, our self-serving nature seeks a more comfortable worldview. It eliminates the feeling of responsibility for countless other people, and preoccupies us with our own personal needs, desires and concerns.
We perceive the world as a projection of our inner qualities. Therefore, if we make no motions to rise above our narrow personal interests in order to benefit others, then we perceive the world accordingly: as a world overflowing with individuals who prioritize their own interests, often at the expense of others and nature.
However, the more we can rise above our narrow personal interests and aim to benefit others, then the more we will develop feelings of responsibility and consideration toward them. By applying ourselves to benefit others, we will sense each other as closer and more dear. In other words, the more we develop new altruistic attitudes above our inborn egoistic ones, then the more we will feel responsible for wider and wider circles of human society, until we eventually feel responsible for the entire world.
Moreover, today’s world appears more interlinked and interdependent than ever before. We live in times when our global interconnectedness becomes increasingly obvious through global economies and technologies. The coronavirus is also a key example of our global interdependence, showing how a minuscule particle that emerged in one city became a global pandemic. Therefore, responsibility and concern only for an individual, a select group or a nation will fall short of securing our lasting happiness, peace and safety. Today, we are in a major transitional era where we will need to start taking responsibility for humanity’s well-being, because our benefit or harm depends on the extent of benefit or harm that humanity experiences.
Featured in Quora