What was it like to watch Mandela, Gandhi, and Dr. King and not help?

Imagine yourself back in the 1950s and 60s during the civil rights movement. People traveled across the country to sit at lunch counters with people of different skin colors, walk for a year to avoid segregated buses, and so on.

Most people didn’t do anything. They must have talked about it since it made the news, but most people watched from the outside without acting.

Not everyone can do anything. Different people value things differently. Many people did important unrelated things. But many people knew, had time and resources to act, but didn’t.

I wonder how it feels to look back at an important time and know you didn’t participate.

What about not acting today?

I wonder how people who still haven’t changed their behavior despite the environment becoming front-page news daily will in the future look back at not acting. Will they feel they missed out? If even modest predictions happen and billions of people suffer, will they feel they missed out on helping others. I suspect the likely wars over resources will lead them to keep blaming others, never acknowledging their role or responsibility.

Will people realize that acknowledging that they could have acted all this time will make them feel guilty, but it’s the only path to changing the outcome.

Why not act?

There are many reasons not to act. There are many reasons to act. Do those not acting feel like people who watched from the sidelines before?

Besides giving us a chance at making it—that is, surviving as a species—acting will help you create a legacy that may endure centuries

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