I believe in people. It is, unfortunately a statement that has been ravished of all meaning it seems. Spouted by politicians, or anyone with the edge of a cause, it causes an almost guttural reaction of cynical rejection now. Nevertheless, I believe in people. I believe in the potential of people, in the same way that many believe in religion.
Now, I may be somewhat prejudiced, but I think the word potential has been homogenised of all meaning too. As a teenager, there was nothing that pissed me off more than being told I had potential. It was a word that implied so much greatness, and was always used as a diminishing statement. I had potential – direct implication being that I wasn’t doing anything now. Which was true. But it was still bloody annoying to hear.
No. I believe in real potential. And potential doesn’t just mean ‘you can do better’. That’s unfair. It means you can do anything. Everyone, ever, has near unlimited potential. Potential to write. Potential to fight. Potential to become a driving force of change, or potential to be an edge of a speck of a footnote in human history. You see, potential doesn’t just mean potential for good.
Would I prefer everyone pushed and exercised their potential for good? Yes, of course.
But, and here’s the crunchy part, I would rather live in a world where people leveraged their potential in any direction. Because frankly, I think good would probably win out. By good I mean things-that-make-things-better. Make them nicer. Advance technology. Invent new philosophy. Make a damn tasty sandwich. It doesn’t have to be grand to be ‘good’. Will you do something that leaves millions of lives better than it is now? Well, statistically, probably not. But to be honest, statistically, you will never have truly tried.