The human thing we do

There are many conversations at The Doorway about the way life is and how it plays out.

It seems like a long time since I have heard or read new insight in the ‘longstanding’ conversation about how to understand ‘good and evil’ as operative in the world.

Recently I picked up Chris Hedges book ‘Empire of Illusion’. At the end he quotes Vasily Grossman’s ‘Life and Fate’. Grossman brings clarity. His thoughts are not an argument from any belief or dogma. They are gathered over a long time of a consistent looking at how the world works. A summary of his thoughts ends with the quote below.

“I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never be conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning.

Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer.”

I understood now in a new and profound way, the value we are struggling to hold onto as the current realities of our world unfold. It suddenly feels like a stadium spotlight has been turned on in my thinking.

In our communications with and about young people, we have been talking for ‘ever’ about ‘the power of one’, ‘the impact of individual attention and action’, ‘the importance of one thought, one change’, the potential of ‘one day can bend your life’ …

It truly came as a ‘moment of truth’ when I read Grossman’s summary. The undeniable sense it made was brilliance instead of a tentative candle flame. Powerful. Possible for every person.

This is why every day and every act is important. Scale is not allowed in the room. It disrupts the true agenda of the moment. Being human is not measureable. It is only experienced and witnessed.  Outcomes are not data. They are experienced as personal, one-offs, and sometimes are told as stories.

Each day we really might be the most important person in the world to someone. It is the human thing we do.


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