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OUR COLUMNIST AVILA REFLECTS ON ONE OF OUR 2013 TOP PICKS:

‘I like the significance of Thomas Hirschhorn’s “installation of last resort.” I wish all countries around the world would offer similar benefits to their citizens.

The unity of a country depends in a large way in the stability that the citizens acquire from the state, which in theory should defend their interests and should serve to their necessities. A state that takes a lot from their individuals and provides little in exchange, is a state destined to fail. Although the notion of sacrifice is very important for a nation, when a large number of the citizens feel that their basic necessities aren’t covered, and the struggle for survival is too great, sooner or later, to them any sacrifice would seem senseless. The famous J.F. Kennedy’s sentence “It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” can only go so far. In reality, if we observe human history up close, we could observe that the idea of a community is intrinsically tied to the benefits that it provides to its individuals. One individual could give his life for his country if he thinks that his children will have an opportunity to enjoy a better future; but if for whatever reason, he knows that the future of his children is less than bleak, the chances for a sacrifice would be greatly reduced.

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Socrates didn’t sacrifice himself for his country; he sacrificed himself for his beliefs, which where the closest aspect to his soul. Societies, like soldiers, fight for what they feel its worth it. If you ask a soldier in a battlefield what he is fighting for, the answer would likely be that he fights for his buddies in the trench, not for a flag or for his mother. The human connection between individuals is what keeps societies alive. If that connection is severed due to a conscientious lack of fairness and an ambiguous trust, the beliefs that could keep each others back safe could be worthless because the differences between the people that have, and those that have not, would be too great to render a meaningful future.’

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