I’ve been incredibly depressed this week, feeling hopeless about the state of humanity. Everywhere I looked it seemed the evils of society were reflected back to me and all I could think was, “What’s the point?” I can’t say I’m completely out of that melancholic spell, but what I’m realizing is being a good person isn’t good enough.
It’s not enough for me to be a law-abiding citizen and treat everyone with kindness. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to be kind to others, but it’s not enough to counter all the ugliness in the world. It’s not enough to eradicate all of the terrible things people do to each other. Being kind to my neighbor doesn’t go very far in reducing homelessness, poverty, and violence.
I think a part of my depression this week has been seeing passivity. I watched a movie and all the seemingly good people were slaughtered or went along with the bad guys because they were scared to do otherwise. I get that. I so get that because if someone held a gun to my head and told me to recite a script, I’d probably do the same thing. What I’m realizing though is if we, the good people, don’t band together, don’t rise up and get in touch with our warrior selves, we’ll keep getting mowed down. The bad guys will carry on doing what they’re doing because there’s nobody to stand up to them. There’s nobody to stop them.
I love superhero movies (they’re my favorite genre actually), but as much as I kind of wish Thor would descend to Earth and save us from ourselves, I don’t see any evidence of that happening soon. Batman is more of a possibility because he’s human, but why should all the work fall on his shoulders? My spiritual teacher says, and this is paraphrasing, that the strength of five good people is more than the united strength of a hundred immoral people. I take that to mean if we all unite together we can overpower the dark forces in the world. We can stop the terrors and tortures, but it requires more than showing up for work on time.
I don’t know how to do this, and that’s a part of my frustration. I don’t know how to engage in the world in such a way that I’m stopping people from inflicting malice on others. I don’t know how to move beyond being a good person, but I’d like to believe speaking up and speaking out is a part of it, and engaging in service for society whenever I can is another. I’d also like to believe that if we, the good people, put our heads together that we can come up solutions.
I dream of a world where the good people of the world unite to keep the immoral people in check. A world where help each other out and refuse to sit idly by as we watch atrocities continue to happen. A world where we realize being good isn’t good enough.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.