I Want To Believe In The Fundamental Decency Of People

I said this this week when I was wrangling with trauma at a therapy appointment. I don’t talk religion much at therapy, like I don’t care to talk therapy here, but when it comes down to it this is a theological desire.

At times like this I always forget the name of the text I want to quote, the one in which Ra declares, of mankind, something like, “I did not put it in their hearts to do evil.” (Which it appears I have quoted before, of course, but did not footnote it then either. Damnit, me, you know you want those footnotes.)

It’s a deep struggle that I think everyone has to be familiar with at some level – The Problem Of Evil is a big deal in monotheistic religions that try to have omnipotence and omnibenevolence kicking around, but it’s not a total non-issue for polytheists either. How to live in a world, believe in a world, in which one can hold out the possibility of the fundamental decency of people … especially when one has been hurt.

In the face of trauma, it can be so hard to hold out that belief in goodness of heart, to remain open-hearted and open-handed to the world. In the face of grievous awfulness, it can be so hard to imagine that there are decent people who could do such things.

I have commented that it would be easier for me to deal with some of my trauma had it been intentional: had people chosen to hurt me, to do me harm, and thus that there were a meaning for it, a reason for it. But carelessness, ignorance, self-absorption, distraction, these things open space for harm and things worse than harm.

To heal, to let go, to open the space to make it possible to connect again, to trust again, to have faith, not in gods and powers, but in the possibility that other people will be true of heart.

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2 thoughts on “I Want To Believe In The Fundamental Decency Of People

  1. Drekfletch says:

    Shortly after her TED talk went up, Amanda Palmer saw a scathing comment from a former teacher. She tweeted it, and her fans responded with support and love. (Some even finding a newspaper article possibly linking the hostility to stroke aftermath.)

    A few months ago she had a blog post about dealing with bullying, and again her fans responded with love, for her and each other.

    Shortly after the incident with her teacher, Amanda tweeted “The Love is where the Hate is.” Out there, among the people.

  2. […] Nicoll wants to believe in the fundamental decency of […]

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