“Just as a target is not set up with the intention of missing it, evil does not exist in the world naturally.” – Epictetus
Most people, even people who end up doing some pretty heinous and evil things aren’t aiming to be evil. They aren’t plotting what would be the worst possible way they could deal with the people around them and then acting that out. In almost each instance, people are trying to do what they think is right or best in advancing their particular idea or way of life.
Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy for us as humans to forget that our actions effect those around us. It is also unfortunately easy to convince humans that other humans with different ideas or ways of life are less human or in worst cases, not humans at all.
It is also easy for us to ignore the consequences of our actions if they do not directly affect us or people we care about or if the effects are delayed for a long period of time. It’s just the way our brains work naturally.
As a result, we are capable of doing despicable things and not realizing in the moment that what we are doing has severe consequences.
Remembering this when people are rude, hurtful, or even when they do really bad things to us helps to put things into perspective and allows us to create enough emotional space to detach from the event and recognize that it is not really about us. In fact, it is not about us at all because we are not being considered, at all.
We would also do well to consider these things as we navigate our own lives and reflect on our own actions and intentions.
virtus fortis vocat