You Make Me Who I am

By Don Arnoudse

I read a very sad story about Richard W. Daly, a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, in the Boston Globe last week. Under the headline “Legislator faded away, died alone” was the report that he had been found next to his bed by his landlord. He had been dead about a week. The Globe reported: “He
was a 32-year-old freshman legislator, impeccably dressed in a
pinstripe suit, crisp button-down shirt, and bow tie, when he strode
through the halls of the State House almost 40 years ago…. Those who
knew Daly then have been remembering that part of his life as they
prepare to bury a man who apparently left no money for his own funeral
and had no known relatives to claim his body…a virtual recluse (who had
been) living in a $130-a-week rooming house."

live in a country that deifies the hardy, self-sufficient
individual—the person who asks for nothing, owes nobody anything, and
“does it their own way” without compromising to others. We have
extended our legal definition of individual rights to an overall
definition of what it means to be human. Bad mistake.

My friend Mark introduced me to the traditional African concept of ubuntu, a very different philosophy that focuses on people’s

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