Not Causing Others Harm is the Highest Law of Human Behavior. Why Are We Failing So Badly At It?

image by Caleb Gregory from

Not harming other people, though, is the highest human law. And it seems to be one we have not just forgotten, but have begun to disregard and dismiss altogether.

Unless someone is a saint, we have all, at some time or another, trodden on someone else and caused harm. Sometimes by accident. Other times, on purpose. But is this a good choice for the well-being of others? For the hospitable environment of our society? And, does it help our own inner health? The answer, on all three counts, is no.

Our acceptance, throughout our daily lives today, of “lesser evils”, of bad behavior on a smaller scale?

All of this is dangerous and is harming our society because it slides into acceptance and normalization of bad behavior all the time and on a larger scale.

A perfect example of this: “phubbing”, or, ignoring the person right in front of you for your phone. We do this All. The. Time. I was on video chat with someone recently who did it several times during our meeting/date. Even once, pausing and remarking, “I am just going to read this email I got…hold on,” while I was to sit there and wait. I was astonished by the rudeness and dismissiveness of it. When recounting the instance to one other friend, she too was aghast. Yet, we do this stuff constantly. And while it’s incredibly rude (that aspect of the behavior hasn’t changed), because “everyone is doing it”, the bad behavior has spread and become “accepted.” Even though in actuality, it upsets a lot of people (and rightfully so).

Just because “everyone is doing something” does not make it ideal, healthy, or good. For individuals, relationships, or society at large.

Whoever dares (and puts in the effort) to be harmless understands how precarious every human life is. How full of strain and fright and suffering.

Ask yourself every day, and behave with this goal in mind, of how might I help make our world a more hospitable, happy, peaceful place for everyone?

(A source of inspiration for this article was The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life by Piero Ferrucci).

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author.

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