Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy.
– Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)
Ahh…pettiness. It eats away at the very fabric of society. Narrow minds, ideas and views corrupt the very souls of people, causing a lack of civility and generosity. And that’s sad. Anger, deceit, jealousy, distrust and greed, all petty little emotions that turn potentially decent people into puerile imbeciles. It makes me weep for the future, because each and every one of them will pass their mentality and moral degeneracy on to their children. It’s deplorable. It’s with narrow minds that we learn to hate those around us. Whether it be a neighbor, a co-worker, a fellow shopper in a store or someone who had the nerve to drive on the same road, is anyone really deserving of our contempt? And what for? Because they don’t have anything in common with you? Because they got the last box of your favorite pop-tarts? Because they dare pull out in front of you and go the speed limit? Or because you don’t like the way they look or the way they dress? That’s what we call pettiness. There are 6.5 billion people in the world, 298 million people in the United States, of which 8.7 million live in New Jersey, with that many people, not everyone is going to like each other. And that’s okay. It’s when we take it a step further, when the dislike turns to hatred, when hatred manifests itself as acts of aggression, that our morality comes into question. It’s a lesson in depravity. And the lengths to which people will go astounds me. Gossip, back-stabbing, lying, wishing ill-will, etc. Are we so devoid of morals and empathy that we could, with intent, undermine a fellow human simply to satisfy our own needs? And if we can, what does that say about us? Can we think of ourselves as good people knowing that we targeted someone, willfully, out of spite? Your malevolence is noted. Don’t ever think that your hostility towards someone goes unnoticed. Despite your best efforts, facial expressions and body language will give you away every time. Whether or not you care will be a testament to your character. A conscience is a funny thing. Those who possess one feel remorse after treating a person poorly and make a conscious effort not to repeat their mistake. Those without one go out of their way to be intentionally cruel, feel proud of themself for their actions, brag about it to others and do it again. So how do you know if you have a conscience? It’s easy. If you can intentionally hurt someone and still sleep at night, you don’t have one. Don’t fool yourself. You can keep telling yourself that you are a decent human being until the cows come home, and it may be enough to convince yourself, but it won’t convince anyone else. If pettiness is the driving force behind your actions and your words, then you live a sad existence. I would pity you if you were worth the effort. So what’s the point in this? Very simple. I want to be everything you’re not. So I want to thank you. You have helped me become a better person.
I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him. – Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)