The image below, unless you have some sort of resizing of your screen or browser, represents one fifth of the current world population as 400 x 350 pixels. That means each pixel, each of the smallest dots in the image, the width of the black edge, the single black dot in the middle of the pale blue square in the upper left, is 10000 individual human beings. If you’re not a hive mind, an alien intelligence or a terrestrial species capable of reading blogs that’s not Homo sap. (if you are, please leave a comment), that makes you one ten thousandth of a pixel in this image of just one fifth of humanity today.
The pale blue square, mainly there to make it possible to find that single, 10000-person dot, is about the population of Norway, 5 million people. The smaller black square next to it is how many people are born on this planet, each day, about 37000. And the smaller dark blue square next to that again is how many die, about 16000.
What about the big pink area? That’s the population of China. Nearly a fifth of humanity all by themselves. India would fill up nearly as much, while Europe and the US together nearly get to play in the same league.
What this means is you’re a miniscule part of humanity. Your desires, hopes and fears may be the most important thing in the world to you, but you’re only one of 7 thousand million people that make up humanity. All your actions are, most likely, swamped by the actions of the rest of us, and if there was a vote between pleasing you, and pleasing everyone else, you’d lose.
On the other hand, so would everyone else. The doings of humanity are made up of the actions of every individual. And as you’re reading this, you’re likely to be one of the part of humanity with the most freedom to act, the largest share of humanity’s surplus, the biggest influence. Thus, by any reasonable system of ethics, you also have the most responsibility to consider the consequences of your actions.