Quality of a Man

When you walk down the street and someone rubs you the wrong way, what do you think? There are a lot of instances in our daily lives when we are faced by the opposition of our own species. There is a lot to be said about people. There are countless occupations devoted to humans that don’t even have to do with an individual’s well being. We are conditioned to be infinitely interested in ourselves, yet through this, we manage to be foul to one another.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not here to convince anyone that you should be kind and pleasant to everyone despite how they treat you. If that’s how you are, more power to you, but lord knows I certainly don’t think that way. I just want to express the importance of empathy.

There is no such thing as a bad person.

This could easily be a simple matter of individual definition of words (which is another post for another time.) As far as the actual definition of ‘bad’ (of poor quality or low standard) perhaps I’m wrong, however that isn’t how, from my experience, people use the word when talking about other people. To say someone is inherently bad, you are saying they lack goodness. Darkness in absence of light. That is where I disagree with the concept of a bad person.

People commit heinous acts. People are consumed with selfish desire. Does that make them bad?

I once had a landlord who didn’t perform well at his duties. He had a house, three floors nice space, perfect for its intended purpose. We (me, my mom and my sister) moved in with intent to foster children. His monthly rent was $1400 or $2000 with furnishings. We decided that, because of my mom’s foster situation, we would be able to afford the 2000. The landlord made himself so difficult to work with that the foster system decided that we had to either move out and get a new landlord or they wouldn’t work with us. The landlord took weeks to do as much as look at any problems we had and when we realized we couldn’t foster, we asked him to remove his furnishings and he refused. We tried to get out of the situation and he tried to sue my mother for $27,000. Luckily, my mother was able to get the court to settle on $5000. Not ideal, but far better than the alternative. There is much more to be said about that landlord, but for the sake of time I’ll leave it out of this post.

As far as me and my mother were concerned, he was a bad person. We couldn’t comprehend how someone could treat someone else like that. But that’s what it was all about wasn’t it? We didn’t understand. We couldn’t comprehend his thought process so in place, we labeled him bad. I don’t believe that was the case. He didn’t do that for the sake of putting someone else down. The best explanation I have would be selfish desire. The pursuit of money regardless of the cost. That may not even have been the reason because again, I don’t understand him.

All humans have selfish desire. We are born with it; driven by it. It wasn’t too long ago that ‘selfish desire’ was called ‘survival instinct’ which it still is in the animal kingdom. The only difference is it has developed over time and changed as our civilization has changed.

Can you think of the type of person who hurts others for the pleasure of it? Anyone who puts others down with nothing to gain but joy? Psychopaths, Sociopaths, bullies; people who are mentally ill. People with something clinically wrong with them. People who experience abuse and use weaker people as an outlet. Misguided, confused individuals who need help.

Isn’t it our responsibility to help them, not demonize them?

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