The idea that people who harm you or commit misdeeds rate as generally bad, wicked or villainous individuals, and that you should severely blame, damn and punish them for their sins.
This is a surprising one. When I first read that quote, I thought, “Does that one apply to me?” I think of myself as being relatively accommodating. Some of the time. Other times, not so much.
However, this irrational thought is now very relevant to all Americans, because this idea is the very central concept of our political life. We are all convinced that people who do not share our opinions, who harm us, are evil, and we should damn them. Is this true?
Human beings hurt each other, and we are hurt in return. Sometimes this hurt is malicious. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes we need to distance ourselves from people who hurt us for our own protection. Sometimes we need to forgive. It depends on the situation and the person. But I think that if we get absorbed with the idea that everyone who harms us is evil, we can fail to forgive where we should forgive, and to move on when we need to progress with our lives.
It is also relevant to anyone who has spent any time on the internet.
On Screen Junkies, Dan Murrell recently opined that he is afraid that we will need to re-educate humanity that a different opinion is not a personal attack against you. I worry that he may be right.
Perhaps we can all take something from this irrational thought that causes suffering. And we can remember what Oscar Wilde said. “Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much.”