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Friday, September 9, 2011

Making an Impact Whatever the Cost

There can be a great inner urge to matter, to make an impact, no matter what the cost.  This can be a highly useful and positive motivation.  It can elicit great personal sacrifice and effort and hugely benefit society.  Where this urge turns destructive is when the cost willing to be incurred is transferred from self to others.  Obviously there is a great difference and great divide between a willingness to push oneself beyond measure, and a willingness to hurt others beyond measure in order to make one’s mark.  Examples of the latter are unfortunately not hard to find—from devisors of Ponzi schemes to mass murderers to chief executives willing to do whatever it takes to be successful no matter whom it hurts.  An inordinate drive to success can be a philosopher’s stone turning base metal into gold and achieving a degree of immortality while greatly augmenting society—or it can become a curse and long-lasting blight.  9/11 comes to mind and the driven men in the cockpits of the airplanes that crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  Their limitless and burning drive could have been the source of much good, but became instead the source of evil and suffering.  When deep feelings to make our mark arise within us, let us always take care that this is a call to self-sacrifice and achievement—not a call to a destructive willingness to inflict pain and suffering on others to elevate ourselves.

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