“They’re only as good as the world allows them to be.” (The Dark Knight, 2008) The Joker claims that people are “bad” by nature. People only act civilly due to laws and moral codes that govern our existence. If there wasn’t any, chaos would ensue. And we only operate conveniently in accordance with all our social responsibilities because of order- when everything’s going well in the system, when all things happen as planned. If not a single rule has existed, we would tend to unleash the monster that mirrors who we truly are. There would be mayhem especially when there is the need to preserve our own selves.
Yet, there would always be the eternal voice of Anne Frank saying “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Until today, I still marvel at how she could have seen the supposed inherent goodness of men when around her, people were being slaughtered without remorse and hesitation. They were taken away from their homes, separated from their families, stripped naked, treated worse than animals, and killed all because of what they believe in. And Anne was just a little girl.
The truth is I’d like to believe as Anne believed. But when I open my eyes to what has been happening, to what the world has come to, the Joker seems to be proven right. Maybe what’s truly in the core of our existence is self-preservation. Maybe we’re only willing to offer help insofar that our needs won’t be compromised.
However, in the midst of all the horrors around, Anne could possibly be right after all. Because all the acts of unreserved and genuine kindness, no matter how little, keep the fire burning. Giving your piece of bread to the hungry especially when you haven’t even taken a single bite, helping the elderly cross the street particularly when you’re running late, smiling at someone who seems to be having a bad day even on days when you don’t even feel good yourself- believe it or not, these simple acts can and do change the world. There would always be people who can and are willing to put others ahead of themselves, people who would always be ready to give even when it is their own hands that would be emptied. These people are blessed to have such beautiful hearts. But their kindness is an even greater blessing to the world. I guess we all have that kind of heart. We only need to allow our hearts and ourselves to be as beautiful as much as they are supposed to be.
To all the people who have given unconditionally, unceasingly, and selflessly, thank you. Thank you for letting your light shine upon the earth.