From “A Rage for Revenge”, book three in David Gerrold’s series
“The War Against the Chtorr“.
His chapter on responsibility is from book one: “A Matter for Men”.
Heartily recommended if you like SF, Gerrold is one of my favourite authors, and I reread his books often.
Daniel Foreman is speaking: *
“You are either a guest on this planet or a host.
Guests expect to be taken care of. Guests make messes without wondering who’s going to clean them up. Guests don’t pay their own way. We invite guests into our homes because we enjoy their company, not because we enjoy cleaning up after them. If the cost of cleaning up after a guest becomes prohibitive, the guest becomes an enemy. Remember that.
Hosts are the people who take care of other people. Hosts are owners. Hosts clean up messes wherever they find them. Hosts keep their homes clean so that guests will feel welcome and taken care of.
The question is: Are you a guest or a host on the planet Earth? Are you leaving a trail of trash in your wake? Dropped cigarettes, candy wrappings, crumpled paper, orange peels, soft drink containers, and all the other garbage of your life? Do your relationships look like Dachau? Are you leaving a trail of dead bodies behind you? It’s all the same. You are expecting someone else to clean it up. Or maybe you don’t care if it ever gets cleaned up.
A host cleans up trash wherever he finds it – it doesn’t matter who left it there. He is a host, it’s his responsibility. He enters a room and cleans it up because he can’t stand seeing the dirt on the floor. He takes care of his relationships because he can’t stand seeing people damaged, incomplete, and in pain. A host cares about the place he lives in.
I live on Earth. Where do you live?”
* I think. I’ll have to check with the book to be sure, but first I have to find it.