The comments on my Credo, both on line and in emails, indicates some unclarity about the meaning and purpose of my effort at a fundamental statement. I was not presenting a philosophical defense of a certain moral principle, and I certainly did not intend my reference to lone prairie riders and barn-raisings as the sort of silly-clever thought experiments that some philosophers are so fond of. Rather, I was trying for a brief, simple vision of the human condition, something that could inform and guide philosophical and other reflections on the particularities of our present situation. Free market enthusiasts employ a competing vision, of isolated individuals whose most important relationships are market contracts. That, I believe, is simply factually wrong as a vision of the human condition.
Now, there is a great deal to be said about my bonds with persons very far from me in time and space, and there are always conundrums regarding people in comas and so forth. There is plenty of time to worry about such ephemera.
Had I wanted to lengthen and complicate my account of our interdependence, I would have invoked developmental psychology, the works of Erik Erikson, and much else, to explain why the notion of an isolated and independent individual owing nothing to anyone is simply a [culturally conditioned] fantasy, corresponding to nothing at all in the real world.
Now, if anyone wants to engage with me on that level, fine. But please, let us not waste time on wondering what I can possibly owe to someone whom I do not need.