The Best of Us

People have argued for centuries whether humans are innately good or evil. Recently, psychology and neuroscience have helped us gain new insights into how we think, but the argument remains.

What we do know is that life can be tough. Life can be complicated. Many times we don’t make the best decisions. Too often we see people acting selfish, petty, and shortsighted.

However, I think that when you look at people in the midst of hardship and tragedy, you start to see how much good each of us really has to offer. Because when people really need help, we always pitch in.

Atlanta is in the midst of Snowpocalypse 2014. It’s not a huge tragedy on the scale of many of the natural disasters we’ve seen over the years – after all, it’s only a few inches of snow and ice -- but there are those who are in dire need of help. Who got stranded in their cars. Who needed a place to sleep. Who still need food and supplies. And Atlanta’s citizens have stepped up to help.

What a tragedy brings out in us is simple: it takes away all of the clutter. All of the noise. All of the complications. These events clarify our thinking and bring out what is truly inside of us.

These past two days I’ve seen strangers pushing cars, friends and colleagues sharing their homes, and employees donating their time and resources to help those in need.

And while this moment pales in comparison to events like Hurricane Sandy or 9/11, it’s times like these that we begin to understand the answers about human nature. We all have a burning desire to help. To love. To protect.

These instincts define us. These traits connect us. It means that when we remove all of the distractions and confusion and can clearly look into what makes us human, we see a basic and fundamental good.

Written by Brian Easter on January 29, 2014


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Brian Easter