Don’t let bitterness contaminate you
Confronting the world on a daily basis leaves traces in the form of bitterness that can be detected in people’s eyes. In order to continue living with a fresh and optimistic mind, we sometimes have to go against a whole lot of negative energy that can leave us destitute. Do we necessarily have to become a bastard because we live in a world where we can come across such people?
This is a common thought, it is easy to justify one’s own evil by the evil that one sees in others. If we do this, we are condemned to live in a perpetual war of aggression and revenge. What if instead we were to become the defender of this harmful chain? What if instead of returning evil for evil, we started to return good for evil? I know, this may sound naive, but it is deeper than it seems.
When we dwell on the faults and evil in others, we are only working for their expansion. If we point out the evil, we give it more strength. On the other hand, if we observe the good in others, they tend to reinforce it.
Ending one cycle to start another
When we decide to do inner work to avoid sending evil back, we start a new cycle that modifies both who we are and our aggressor. There are indeed universal laws worth dwelling on. If you can see beyond the apparent badness and recognise the good that lies beneath, you are making a positive contribution to the situation in question.
The need to educate yourself to do less harm
As we grow up, we become aware of our ignorance and eventually, the older we get, the more we know that we don’t know. This is also true for the harm we cause to others. Very often, it is through ignorance that we harm others. Take the example of eating meat. I imagine that many of you are not vegetarians, but for those of you who have made this choice, you have come to realise that you were eating sentient animals and that your taste buds were ultimately at the expense of their welfare and very existence. During all the years you were eating meat, you had to understand that you were eating sentient and intelligent beings. It is always the case that when you benefit from an injustice, it is difficult to see it.
This comparison can be taken up again by considering the status of women and the aggressive or toxic temperament of some men. The latter do not understand that their “assertive masculinity” could be experienced as a threat by women who find it difficult to feel secure in the face of overly “enterprising” behaviour.
Essentially, the problem is the objectification of the living. The animal we eat or the woman we desire to the point of wanting to “own” her is alienated from us, depriving them of their true essence. It is through ignorance that we take the animal only for meat or a woman only for a being on which to project our desires. In order to put an end to a narrow mindset that has difficulty understanding the world around it, more space must be given to the point of view of these groups. What reinforces this misperception is the fact that we are inundated with cultural production that is the work of only one part of human diversity. If today we are able to see more of the world through the eyes of a woman, this was not always the case. Since men are the ones with the most literary, cinematographic and artistic output, we tend to see the world as a man, even if we are women.
Doing less harm
Harming as few living beings as possible is a candid ideal. However, it is the ideal that can enable us to make a real impact on this planet. Without an ideal, little is accomplished. It is by having an unattainable goal that we give ourselves the best chance to excel. If each of us decided to stop harming others, we could transform the world in one generation.
Selfishness, the lure of happiness
In essence, humans are selfish, out of concern for their own happiness. Yet it is in the shared experience that humans find their true happiness. So rather than focusing on the personal success of the ‘big guys’, we should be showing the collective achievements that have been the result of a joint effort without any apparent leader. In reality, this is how life already works, the greatest achievements are the result of collective work that goes unnoticed. It is because of the need to create a narrative that one feels the need to highlight a personality.
The individual contribution
Since we are sometimes struggling alone, we should not seek the friendship of those around us if we see that they are trying to dissuade us from doing what we think is right. If your contemporaries sometimes disappoint you, it is good to take a look at the books. Some of them can be true companions on the road, since the thoughts they express are so much in line with your own. In the end, you are never alone, you are just not looking in the right place.