Declaration of Rights

“Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.” (Article 29, #1)

Drafting Committee of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsThese are some of the writers of a profound philosophical assertion, written in reaction to WWII, called the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Is this as radical as I think it is?! There is so much going on in this one statement. It needs to be “unpacked.” What did they mean?! Especially if there are unsavory, psychotic personalities out there. Remember, this declaration was written in response to a warring world.

Even so, I believe this doctrine presumes not only an innate goodness in people but an active willingness to give back to the community which nourishes your true, healthy personality. Without this innate social drive, how could society function? It would starve. It seems to draw no traditional boundary lines — you have duties ONLY to the community which serves the essential you.

The reality we bump into, especially if we’ve ever lost someone close to us, is: our individual lives are short, limited by death. So short, actually, that it seems you might be best off by nourishing your personality through your duties. That way, the relationship is always a mutual one. If writing was the way you best expressed yourself, you would serve society through your writing as best you could.

Though I suppose you could also take turns, performing duties for your community in return for the way it enables your personality to blossom… Say, working as a mechanic, a postal worker (there are some lovely ones, too, from my experience), or a teacher, while writing creatively on the side. What do you think works best?

FULL development of you as a person. This is quite a beautiful idea.