This I Believe

Paul - Dover, Massachusetts
Entered on January 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose

Machiavelli once said, “The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.” In life you must decide who you are. Are you the virtuous or the spiteful?

You can be compassionate and benevolent. You can be sadistic and malicious. That choice defines us as human. Other species cannot choose, but we have the chance to better ourselves. As high as we can climb is reflected in how far we can fall. In that we are cursed. Choice binds us as much as it frees us.

If we were all born good then good would have no significance. Our choices give meaning to good and evil. Without choice they are mere shadows of what might have been. With our blessing a curse, and our curse a blessing, life is what you make of it.

In history many choices have been made. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem they cut down the people in the streets as a farmer reaps his grain. They made a choice for better or worse.

When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem he to make a choice. He forsook the life he led. He threw down the sword and turned his back on killing. He let the people leave. He tried to end the cycle of hatred.

Saladin made the right choice. Not because he spared the people, but because he did what he thought was right. The Crusaders made the wrong choice. They did what someone else told them to do. God may have told them the right course of action, but they didn’t hear him. It is easy to misinterpret directions. If you’re not sure what others instructed then do what you think is right.

If you decide purely on compassion then you will be faithful to life. It is virtuous but not necessarily right. Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the benefit of the world. Killing may be wrong, but that does not change the necessity of it. Making the right choice requires you to be impartial to good and evil.

Once again, I inquire…Are you the paragon of compassion or the champion of darkness? It is your decision. No one else’s. Thus, your decisions reflect on you and not others. Choose.