I don't think we have a choice - life is full of suffering, and how we deal with it defines who we are. A charmed few don't have to deal with death or pain until late in their lives, but it's nearly impossible to avoid. The attitude we bring to the problems we suffer in our own lives makes all the difference in our happiness, whether we're living on $500/day or $1/day. I think those of us who came out ahead in the lottery of life have an obligation to help those who are not as well off. And I agree with Michael that we have to start with one person at a time or the sheer amount of suffering is paralyzing.
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