Everyone

I frequently do things that I consider good, but would be very very bad if everyone did them. That’s not a reason for me not to – in fact, it’s part of the reason I do.

There’s always someone saying “What if EVERYONE acted like you?” Well, then I wouldn’t act like me. Part of the calculation of how I believe I should act is what everyone else is doing.

Consider a stadium full of people watching a game. If one person stands up, they see better. If everyone stands up, then no one sees any better. So if I stand up, it might sort of make sense for someone to say “what if EVERYONE stood up, huh??” But if everyone stood up, I wouldn’t – I’d probably just leave. Part of what I do, every day, is respond to the movement of my society.

Sometimes a lot of people doing something is a reason for me to do it, or at least try it. Very often it’s a reason for me to run the other way.

Society thrives on diversity, specialization, and individuality. If I do things that other people aren’t doing, there’s a good chance I’m adding value somewhere. The guy that cleans septic tanks for a living adds a LOT of value, but if everyone did it, he’d probably do something else.

This argument works the other way, too. Sometimes people complain that things would be amazing if just “everyone would…” Well, the answer to that is the same.

“Everyone” will never do anything. People will never unify. You can’t expect it, and you shouldn’t fear it. Both the admonition of “what if EVERYONE acted like you?!” and the lament of “if only EVERYONE acted like me” are foolish. People are different, and you can feel free to choose your path without worrying or hoping that it will become a universal standard.

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