The recent tragedy of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 is an example of callous stupidity that shocked people around the world. How can ordinary people respond to something both terrible and out of their control？
Attribution: Flickr - Aero Icarus
Ordinary people feel both shocked and disgusted, but more than that they feel helpless. They have the desire for something to be done but not the ability. That feeling of helplessness can hand more power to evil, simply because the bad leaders offer to "do something".
Instead of hoping someone will do something, for every evil in the world we must ourselves take action, even if it is only small and apparently insignificant. Here is my guide to responding to the evil in the world.
1. Do something good
Simply go out and do something good. It can be directly related to countering the evil if possible. For example, when here in Australia they began a policy against refugees and asylum seekers that I felt was morally wrong, my response was not to protest but simply to volunteer with refugees. A few hours a week might make little difference in the big picture, but it does make a difference.
Attribution: Flickr - enki22
The other response is simply to be a good person. Whether it is at work, home or at other times in your life, act less selflessly, more generously and speak fewer words of hate. In other word, be the change that you want to see in the world.
2. Educate yourself
Whenever something bad happens in the world the first response is often lack of understanding. Those who promote hatred and violence are also those who encourage ignorance.
Attribution: Flickr - Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig
Learn as much as possible about any issue. It doesn't have to even change your opinion, just help you to understand and empathise.
3. Prepare yourself for better times
Confucius said something that confused me for a long time. He argued that during times of evil good people should retreat to personal study and wait for better times. We have come to believe that we must fight against evil, but his view was that we must prepare for when evil passes and then return to contribute our knowledge and ability.
Attribution: Wu Daozi
The conflict in the Ukraine will end, hopefully soon, but if not, it will end at some time. Will you then be prepared to travel or do business in the Ukraine to encourage good to take root?