Yesterday in a Toastmasters meeting I got an impromptu question: “Could we get rid of all evil in the world?”
It’s quite a challenging question, isn’t it?
So as usual, when I’ve got such a challenging one, I throw it back to my audience. I asked them: “Raise your hand if you think we could get rid of all evil in the world?”
And you know what, over 40 people in the room, there’s only 1 hand.
Yes, only 1 hand raised up.
In some sense, I guess it shows how pessimistic we are nowadays.
It reminds me of a research I read around a couple of years ago, which shows that just about 50 years ago in the UK and US, when asked to complete a survey, 60% of the respondents said that they believe in people, in their society. However, recently when the survey was replicated, the figure dropped to only 30%.
It really dropped by half.
I was stunned looking at these figures.
It’s not only sad, but severely worrying as well.
Because if we lose our belief in society, what can we do? How could we keep motivated to make things better?
More than 2000 years ago, Aristotle already recognized that: "Men is by nature a social animal". But it seems nowadays we’ve really invented the way to damage that human nature in us. Everyone now seems to live in their own world, which is carefully crafted and presented to each by the algorithms behind social media.
We really have come a long way from the day Seneca describes in one of his letters:
But, I believe, as long as we’re aware of that, we still can make things better.
As long as we keep our belief in society, in our collective power to do good, we can continue to fight for a better world - a world with less and less evil, day after day.
So in the end, even if we couldn’t get rid of all evil in the world, we can still smile for all effort and hard work we’ve done.
And we can say:
"We have lived a life worth living!"