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I understand that Paris is considered (2017) the dirtiest capital city in Europe and that the authorities there are taking serious steps to improve matters. It reminds me of the state of Dublin streets and alley-ways.

Some years ago while living in the suburbs of Dublin I hated seeing papers, plastics, cigarette butts, drug needles, and even dirty nappies, scattered on the roadside. So I regularly set out with my plastic bag and brush to clean it up. One day a teenager, passing on his bicycle, shouted at me: "Get a life". It made me think. What is life really about?

In general, the great ideal that people work for today is the self-made, self-sufficient, autonomous person who stands alone, not needing anyone and not beholden to anyone for anything. This is how we "get a life" for ourselves, how we discover our identity.

Individualism permeates almost everything we do. But individualism is psychologically, socially, politically, economically, spiritually and ecologically destructive. The effects of individualism appear to include alienation, loneliness, lovelessness, unhappiness, and an inability to maintain relationships.

On the other hand, in the past, inter-dependence, social coherence, and reliance on one another were the values that were appreciated. We became a 'person' through other people, our identity depended on family, friends and the community we related to and who related to us. Have we forgotten who we really are?


if my identity depended on other people i would have no identity
i am who i am - i have interacted with all of those groups for all my years
sometimes it went well - other times not so well
individualism is not destructive - it is creative
one of the tasks of life is to discover yourself
I don't do groups well, am too independent. I do think that things like social conscience (things like clean neighborhoods, etc) are a part of pride of place. When I've had friends up to my part of the US, they are amazed at how clean we are up here. I certainly can't take credit for that, but there are clean-up drives twice a year and a lot of smaller groups that take responsibility for short sections of roadways and pick up and bag litter. It's only right.

As for the teenager telling you to "Get a life," well, you have one, don't you know? LOL

- Erulisse (one L)
If nobody cares about the community, how will we ever live together? I think we've swung too far towards the "what's in it for me?" side. It feels good to care about others and do small things for them, like helping to clean up dirty streets.
"Get a life"?

I'd be tempted to mutter back "Get a social conscience." It's sad when parents bring up their children without any respect for their environment. I've seen parents wind down the windows of a car - with children sitting in the back - to chuck out rubbish.

But children don't have to be like their parents, and perhaps some of these children will grow up to find respect for the environment by themselves.
London is much cleaner than it used to be.