Since being good and being foolish have always gone hand in hand, today everybody, trying to avoid being labelled as foolish, chooses to present themselves as evil. They claim to be protecting themselves in that way. It’s better to appear unapproachable than dumb, it’s better to be unresponsive to communication than someone who’s easily made a sucker. By way of some twisted logic, it has become better to go through life convincing others you are not that good to banish the possibility they might think you are either foolish or stupid.
The proponents of this idea, that hypnotised army that supposedly respects itself at the expense of showing respect for others has become with time impervious to goodness. Someone told them once that “If you don’t respect yourself, nobody’s going to respect you”, they heard it somewhere that “The end justifies the means”, that “It doesn’t pay to be good”, and that old advice, worst of all, “Just mind your own business and keep quiet”. All this has created a confusion in their minds, so they have mixed up self-respect with arrogance, ambition with opportunism, frugality with selfishness, caution with fear, good with evil and evil with good.
On that path, moving away from the essence of their being, they got confused by the multitude of options of becoming whoever they wish to become. They think they have opted for themselves by rejecting others, that guarding themselves against others they work on themselves, that by just minding their own business they are not in other people’s way. Nobody has told them people are only happy when giving of themselves, that they grow only through their relationships with others, that only by giving can you gain, that only by sharing can we prosper. Nope. It is passed over today. They haven’t been told they can’t protect themselves from life.
Nowadays things are only partially explained, only to a degree we are ready to accept and that does not require any effort on our part. We only get one part of the explanation, the other part is where we are being lied to. Nobody tells them that once they choose a path of self-love, coming back is hard. Once they become thick-skinned, they may never get hurt by anyone, but then nobody will be able to make them happy either. You can’t be a little dead or a little alive, therefore you can’t be a little good or a little evil.
They think that not doing harm to anyone makes you good. No. That is the devil’s work, the most sordid of all, deceitful and dangerous, which changes our self-awareness, which blurs our vision and stores our goodness in vain because it goes past its expiration date. Goodness that is not given at the time when it is most needed becomes useless. Kindness that is not always unconditionally shown, without a moment’s hesitation is not kindness but calculation. On a scale between good and evil, there is only one right choice. There are no nuances, no biased interpretations or theories. There is doing good and doing evil. Not doing anything good is evil. Not doing any good when we can do something is evil. Not doing anything evil is evil until it means doing good. Only when we switch from not doing anything to doing something, can we be considered human beings.
By making excuses that we do not do any harm, we delude ourselves into thinking we are good. Not good enough. This world is not going to be saved either by the intelligent or the rich or the successful. We are not going to be cured by knowledge, money or titles. This world today needs boundless humanity, not just a speck of it. Devious ways have led us astray to such an extent that these metastases of morality cannot be cured by inactivity. These diseases of humanity can only be cured by taking action, by providing examples and raising your voice to convey the message that without the common good for every human being there won’t be any personal good for ourselves either.
Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović
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