The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. – Albert Einstein
What does that mean?
The quote starts by saying the world is a dangerous place, which it always has been, and likely, always will be. However, the quote continues by saying that the blame for the world being this way isn’t due to the people who do evil. The quote finishes by pointing the finger at the rest of us.
We are the reason that the world is a dangerous place to live. Not through our actions, but through our inaction. Because good people often do nothing. Our inaction often allows evil to flourish. Taking action can be dangerous, time consuming, tedious, and a real pain in the neck, but it is the thing that is most effective at minimizing the danger and evil in the world.
Why is action important?
Action is what gets things done. Inaction means nothing gets done. Pretty straight forward, right? Action, in the case of this quote, is about doing things to either thwart, retard or deter the evil acts of others.
The actions necessary to thwart evil acts is probably the most dangerous and the most rare. Breaking up a fight, scaring off a robber (or worse), these are actions of extreme bravery. It is an action the evil-doer is not expecting, as it is so rarely done.
The actions necessary to retard or deter evil acts are what most of us can do most easily, and with little to no risk. These might include joining (or forming) a neighborhood watch group, keeping your neighborhood clean, well lit and unappealing to thieves.
In each case, the point is you took action, and the action has in some way made it harder for evil to succeed. That is the action of which the quote asks of us. The results of the action is why action is important.
Where can I apply this in my life?
As I mentioned in the section above, there are lots of things one can do to help in the eternal fight against evil, and to make the world less dangerous. While I previously mentioned standard thievery, there are other ways in which evil spreads, and makes the world less safe.
When people lie, and we don’t call them on it, the world is rarely safer. While the common ‘white lie’ (think: no that dress doesn’t make you look fat) is about as harmless as lies get, it becomes more dangerous when it allows for a thief to gain an alibi, and therefore evade capture to rob again another day.
Lies are more dangerous when they are spoken by more powerful people. When your boss lies about how close the project is to being ready, evil is slipping into your cubicle. Depending on the scope of the lie (is it a slight stretch, a wishful thought, or a complete fantasy?), it could cost you your job.
I’ve seen projects canceled due to a boss lying about the progress. Somehow, the boss keeps their job and the underlings are fired, laid off or declared redundant. The people now out of work (which may include you) are in that situation because you did nothing, and evil prevailed.
When such a ‘code of silence’ becomes part of an institution, it has become, by definition, corrupted. In the realm of politics, one only has to think of any number of third world dictators. There are always allegations of this behavior in police forces, and from time to time it is found to be true. In business, you get massive failures, like the Mortgage Crisis.
There are many other behaviors besides lies that can lead to evil, and therefore to a more dangerous world. Take a few moments and think about your place in the world, and where you see the seeds of evil, the smallest beginnings, which can be stopped before they start.
Take a moment and consider what the proper course of action is for each of the parts of your life where you think that evil may lurk. What will you do to help stop it before it gets started? Are you willing to take the heat for putting your foot down and saying ‘No!’ to bad behavior?
As an example, one of your buddies wasn’t supposed to be out drinking and carousing, but he did it anyway. Now he wants you to say he was with you watching the big game. Do you lie to cover for him, enabling his continued bad behavior? This could include a possible dependence or addiction to alcohol, damage to his relationship, and possible DUI arrest or wreck. Or do you do the right thing, and help him get things right?
In the end, it comes down to a decision. Which is more important to you, a friendship built on lies and deceit, or your reputation as someone who is trustworthy and honest. That’s between you and your conscience. This was just one example, you will need to work through the issues that are your personal circumstances.
Evil is everywhere, and the wolf is always at the door. What are you willing to do to make your part of the world less dangerous, and to help diminish the evil in your back yard? It won’t be easy, but I believe it will be worth the effort.
From: Twitter, @GOP_Chica
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins143096.html
Photo by dsb nola