Think of any person. This exercise works better if it is someone you know so, please play along. Now, draw two columns and name one “good” and the other “bad”. Underline them and let the game begin. Think of the positive and negative things that person has done to you or for you and mark them in the two columns. When you are done, which I hope didn’t take long, add everything together. One number will be higher than the other, that is just how simple math works. It is childishly simple, but this exercise can easily determine if a person has had a positive or negative impact in your life.
I am aware of how simplistic that is. There is no context, no nuance, no intent, no perspective. It is almost criminal to think this way, reductive even. I just selfishly condemned a fellow human being because they wronged me. Perhaps, they didn’t do it on purpose, their heart was in the right place, their intent was noble. Perhaps…However, I strongly believe there is some truth to this exercise. It isn’t a foolproof or perfect exercise, but I always found an ounce of truth in there.
So, let’s talk about those whose number on the bad column is superior to the other. As fate would have it, I know some people like that in my life. I should say I knew because I am happy to report they have been progressively and successfully pushed away, one shove at a time. It took me enough time but they are gone. Let’s say their contribution to my overall well being was and still is hard to dismiss or erase, nay forget. However, it was easy to forgive them since they don’t matter anymore. Moreover, it is only fair to say that those people aren’t evil. They are not bad people. Or are they?
When I talk about a “bad person”, I am surely not talking about those Machiavellian people you see in movies or read about in books. I am not talking about Thanos in the Avengers who wants to reduce the universe’s population by half to reset its balance. I am not talking about a villain whose behaviour encompasses stealing, lying, manipulation, killing, sexual assault, etc. I am not talking about stereotypical villains. I am talking about regular people, for lack of a better definition.
I am talking about people whose intentions just aren’t good and noble. There are people whose bad actions outweigh the good they do in this world. Those are bad people. We could argue forever why they are how they are but today, I am just talking about their actions. If you do enough bad shit more often than you do good shit, you are bad. Once again, you are not evil or all bad. Your bad inclinations can manifest easier, let’s say. I know…Simple and binary, no gray area but sometimes, there is no gray. Sorry!
Those “bad people” always have defenders. They always do. I have heard so many times people say, “but he/she is nice!”. The Gods as my witnesses, I have said it myself countless times. If I had a dollar for every time I defended certain people who shall remain nameless, I’d be richer than any person on the Forbes Billionaires list. I have uttered that phrase, much to my dismay and I felt a pinch in my heart every time I said it. My mind and heart knew I was defending someone who didn’t deserve it.
We defend people like that fiercely at first. I could never figure out why. Perhaps it is because we have known them for a long time. Perhaps we used to be in love with them. Perhaps we are related to them. Perhaps they have done many great things in the past. Perhaps we believe they will change. Perhaps we believe they just made a mistake. It wasn’t intentional, it was an accident. Circumstances just happened and they made a bad decision. Then, as time goes by, they repeat their mistake. They do it regularly. We still find excuses for them and they especially find excuses for themselves.
Nevertheless, father time moves forward. We start observing their progress and we see no improvement and sometimes, not even an attempt towards improvement. At that point, we need to face reality. Perhaps these people aren’t armed with good intentions. Perhaps they don’t want to see people around them happy. Perhaps they like to see discord. Perhaps they cannot find one ounce of humanity in their hearts. The reasons couldn’t fit in the Pacific Ocean and it doesn’t matter.
I do not want to be negative and say all “bad people” are doomed to be in the bad column. Few will come to the light; most will stay put. The sum of their deeds never lies. The sum always tells the story. The sum determines who they are. Well, their actions define them. One can always use words to lie, mislead and manipulate. Yet, actions don’t lie.
“Bad people” are out there. Some are close to us, others aren’t. We collectively need to find the fortitude to say “he/she isn’t nice. He/she is a person whose bad side outweighs his/her good side. He/She has good moments and does good deeds, but I am afraid he/she aint all that good as you hope.”
I am sure you are thinking of someone specific right now. It is normal. We all know people like that. Just make sure they stay away from you and yours.
The sum never lies. It fortunately never does.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day.