What is a good person? A good society?
Too often in our society today, to call someone a good person is to treat her like a saint, a monk or the priest next door. Someone who only lives to serve someone else. Fewer people would think about you or me.
Anyway, being a good person feels almost impossible to reach, being a good person or in a state a good citizen is either beyond or against self-interest. Actually the word "citizenship" established when it was a thing to become a good citizen. Because it did not exist before. A pro-social, someone who is collecting badges to become a better "person". Of course, we always think about the past as something that is nostalgic and worth protecting. But it does often seem like that this time has passed. Nowadays it reminds me of the core concept of the Social Credit System in China. You may be going to judge me now, but all they are doing is rating your pro-social life. I am not a fan of that credit system, if you like to we can have a discussion about that. But we have to carefully develop something like this. Cause our world is becoming more transparent, if you want it or not it’s going to happen.
The western society has high rates of volunteers, charities and so-called Social Enterprises. We respond to swiftly to disasters here and abroad. But at the very same time, too many people here today live their everyday lives by an ethic "that is not my problem". And here I like to bring a concept to your mind, which is called reciprocity. Because "It is not my problem" mindset is the problem. It is both the source and the result of an ideology that exalts individual autonomy at all costs. And we learn it very early in our lives. It is also as I will explain below, highly contagious and quickly corrosive. And thus it is a part of a feedback loop in which the disavowal of problems creates the very problems of being disavowed.
My argument is that there is not such a thing as "It is not my problem". I don´t mean that all problems are equal or equally our burden, which would be paralyzing. I mean that being a great human being treats the life of everyone as someone we are connected with. Because we see that all the problems are interconnected.
A few days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about trust. And how easy it is to work together or live together when we trust each other. Unfortunately, everything around us is less measurable then our health, economy or other things. There has been a slow and quiet seepage of trust and responsibility. For that reason, we established rules, and laws and how to behave and act. We set up laws to not lie, or some other bullshit rules which created this harming society. This is how it is. And you know it is the truth.
I still believe in the power of our societies. In trust in responsibility and the ability to be a good person. The idea of being a great human being is not killed yet. I do believe it has crowded out by the economy/ market and by the government/ state. Nowadays too many people think of their responsibilities as a part of our society as limited mainly to basic compliance with the law.
What we want is showing up for each other. Being a part of this pro-social movement matters because it delivers what the society needs and the market and the state can not offers. It is not about being a good Samaritan. It is more simple than that. It means showing up in public, leaving the place better than before, teaching your children the right values. It is about helping others in hard times and being able to ask for help. It is about reciprocity. Trust is what makes strong economies and nations.