Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thug or hero?

This story of a youthful drug offender from New Orleans who stole a schoolbus and rescued 60 of his neighbors from the rising floodwaters reminds me of a truism driven home through years of watching police abuse cases: No person is as good as their best act or as bad as their worst one, from the preacher in the pulpit to the killer on death row. We're all capable of acts of goodness and heroism, and also tremendous evil and sadism, under the right circumstances. We all have lessons to teach and lessons to learn. Or, as the Tao Te Ching put it:

Sages always consider it good to save people,
so that there are no wasted humans ...
So good people are teachers
of people who are not good.
People who are not good are students
of people who are good.
Those who do not honor teachers or care for students
are greatly deluded, even if knowledgeable.
This is called an essential subtlety.

Via Norweigianity.

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