The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ‘ordinary’ efforts of a vast majority. Stephen Jay Gould September 26, 2001
After the September 11th attacks, Stephen Jay Gould wrote these words while reflecting on the massive destruction unleashed by a small group of people. In today’s world, it is easier than ever for someone or some small group to unleash a spectacularly and massively destructive act capable of threatening many thousands or even millions of people. Perhaps people such as these, and the tools at their disposal, can only exist in the sort of complex civilization they seek to destroy.
Fortunately, “good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one”, Gould writes. Each of us, in our own ways with our own unique actions, moves civilization forward to greater achievements of technology, to greater equality, justice, democracy, to more beautiful works of art and music, etc. And it takes each one of us, doing our small, unnoted, and sometimes invisible acts of kindness and caring to counteract the few but powerfully destructive evil people in this world.
Give, because each kind act we perform keeps the balance of civilization in favor of the good guys and against evil.