Posting a graph like this probably puts me in the “asshole” zone.
But so be it…
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about politics lately — we all have, I think — and I’ve been trying to sort out in my own head what bugs me about the state of discourse online these days. And while I could write a whole rant about the bane of internet trolls and the various perceptions of what it means to be a good person in twenty-first century society, I’d rather just do it this way.
None of us are perfect. What makes us good is what we do, how we do it, and the degree to which it affects others. Which is worse: A bad parent or a corrupt politician? Who does more good in doing their job well: a civil servant or farmer? It’s a qualitative judgement with loosely quantifiable factors.
See, we all know what it means to be a good person, but sometimes how our behaviors rank doesn’t quite become clear until we map them out. For example, in Fig. 1 above note that my assholery in drawing and publishing this chart fits somewhere on the scale of taking a medium sized group (say, the readership of this blog) and pushing them down (say, by implying that our behaviors are not as perfect as we think they are!)
I should really know better.
What this all means is that while you can probably figure out if the things you say or do (or write) make you a good (or bad) person, and while you can probably do this on your own, it’s real simple to forget that all of this lays on a basic spectrum of behavior.
Question 1: Is your behaviour or interaction lifting someone up or pushing them down?
Question 2: How many people is your behaviour or interaction affecting?
Alternatively, figure out where you want to live on a chart like this one and behave the way that can make it happen. You can shout and scream all you want that life doesn’t treat you fairly, and you’re right: life isn’t. But you are and forever will be judged by how you treat life (and all the people in it) in return.