‘It is the business of the benevolent man to try to promote whatever brings welfare to the world and to eliminate whatever brings harm.’
Now I would ask everyone, especially those who have attained to old age, to sit down and think about this:
Go back over the countless people you’ve had dealings with during the course of your life. Go through this list and ask yourself, how many of them were really and truly honest?
I am sure that by far the majority of them were the opposite–that they were opportunists, sneaky, clever. Of course they are quick to express their indignation at any form of dishonesty except when they are responsible for it.
All animals are opportunistic and this ties the majority of humans to the brutes. We can say with certainty that most humans are really not more than slightly intelligent animals, with very little capacity for thought and always retaining the selfishness found in the animal kingdom.
What I believe all of us will find upon looking back at life from the wide perspective that old age affords, is meanness, greed, avarice, envy and possibly worst of all a devilish delight in the misfortune of others, the disgusting Schadenfreude– best illustrated by an old Norwegian proverb:
‘One’s own good fortune is best, but the misfortune of others is not to be despised.’
So prevalent are these awful qualities of Mankind that when one meets a truly noble human one is at first incredulous: How could this come about in the world? This soon gives way to admiration. For true goodness of heart is not something of this world but a transcendental quality–it has its origins in another realm.
In a film a coat check girl eyeballs Mae West’s jewelry:
‘Goodness!’ the girl says, ‘What lovely diamonds!’
Mae replies, ‘Goodness had nothing to do with it.’
True goodness cannot come from the weak, and most humans are weak. Goodness is the realm of the strong. To feel insecure is to be aligned with the reality of life’s transience, fragility and suffering. This is the basis of humility and compassion.
‘Goodness can exist only when it is not perceived, not even by its author.’
Photo credit ‘Hao’ Wikipedia Commons Images