Maria Popova

We are never as kind as we want to be

...in our culture, it has been aptly observed, "we are never as kind as we want to be, but nothing outrages us more than people being unkind to us." In his stirring Syracuse commencement address, George Saunders confessed with unsentimental ruefulness: "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness." I doubt any decent person, upon candid reflection, would rank any other species of regret higher. To be human is to leap toward our highest moral potentialities, only to trip over the foibled actualities of our reflexive patterns. To be a good human is to keep leaping anyway.

~ Maria Popova in the brainpickings.org newsletter, "Leo Tolstoy on Kindness and the Measure of Love"

The North Star of their native moral compass

"Under conditions of terror," Hannah Arendt wrote in her classic treatise on the normalization of evil, "most people will comply but some people will not...No more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation." Under such conditions, counting ourselves among the few who refuse to comply has less to do with whether we believe ourselves to be good than it does with the deliberate protections we must place between unrelenting evil and our own sanity and goodness, for among the most insaning aspects of tyrannical regimes is the Stockholm syndrome of the psyche they inflict upon us — upon ordinary people, not-evil people, people who consider themselves decent and good, but who slowly, through a cascade of countless small concessions, lose sight of the North Star of their native moral compass.

~ Maria Popova in the brainpickings.org newsletter, "Against the Slippery Slope of Evil"
Figuring
By Maria Popova
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