For all of the shortcomings of our modern age, we enjoy likewise many benefits. Today rarely finds us beating our clothing upon a rock, hoping to dislodge from it the many mites the garment had accumulated since its last annual washing. Most simply walk the aisles of vast supermarkets to collect nourishment for our bodies rather than hitching oxen to plow and tend to fields hoping to someday eat. And parents are unlikely concerned about wolves lurking as their children venture outside for play.
Comfort and safety bring innumerable pleasures. We relax, resting upon the accomplishments of our forebearers and ourselves, assured that danger is long since eradicated by our own superior intelligence and blocking from our collective memory the suffering of the past. We rewrite the narrative to overconfidently boast of our triumph over the wolf.
Perhaps, we are right in our hubris and deserving of the bragging rights. But could it be that the wolf is still there, lurking in the shadows, waiting for us to lower our guard? Are our children safe from a different but equally dangerous predator? Will a drug dealer in their classroom lure them into the woods? Will socially inspired sloth lead them to miss their potential? Will circumstances leave them vulnerable to countless threats, many nearly impossible to predict or undo?
Even as we celebrate the eradication of old threats do we overlook the new ones emerging? Do we have an endless affirmative responsibility to identify and shine light upon what we imagine to be developing concerns, or can we stop looking once we’ve overcome the first? If our duty as humans is to love one another, is there love when we don’t strive to protect others from danger? Or should they take care of themselves as we imagine that we do?