Recently, a friend tried selling me his PlayStation, telling me the games will “change my life”. I told him I wasn’t interested, no way.
Now, there are people in this world who are a little smarter than me. Then there are people who are a lot smarter than me, and he is definitely among the latter.
He’s a doctor, so he’s no dummy, and I’m always wary of him trying to operate on me.
But I’m no dummy either, so I wasn’t going to buy his piece of junk just to have it sitting around my place in its box.
So we’re at his place negotiating the price and we’re both in fits of laughter as we try to rip off the other and rob each other blind.
He had me in stitches – I told you he was a doctor – as he tried to get the best deal on video games he doesn’t even play anymore, which only made me think: “This guy is a doctor! He’s supposed to help people and not be so greedy!”
Of course, he was probably musing: “This guy is a priest! He’s supposed to help people and not be so greedy!”
You’ll be happy to know he helped me edge that little closer to the poverty line, and I helped him get rid of his junk.
The PlayStation has been sitting at my feet in its box ever since.
Are people mostly generous, or are they mostly greedy?
Haven’t you got proof people are rotten and will rip you off at any chance?
But haven’t you also seen first hand that people are good and want to help others?
I don’t need to remind you of how well the banks do for themselves.
But consider the release of the final report of the Royal Commission into the banking sector which found shocking evidence of greed and even misconduct at the expense of customers and businesses.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pointed out that this has caused broken businesses and that “the emotional stress and personal pain has broken lives”.
Now consider the recent Queensland floods. Do you hear stories of greed and misconduct? No, quite the opposite.
What we do know is that tragedy brings the best out in people. It brings them together and helps them forget their differences like nothing else can. We find disagreement in everything ... but a crisis or disaster, especially a natural disaster, makes us all forget our differences and unites us to succeed in a common goal.
The answer to why bad things happen to good people is complex – if there even is an understandable answer.
If you were to say that all things happen because it’s God’s will that is consoling for some, but definitely not for others.
What we do know is that tragedy brings the best out in people.
It brings them together and helps them forget their differences like nothing else can. We find disagreements in everything – lifestyle, diet, medicine, religion, money – especially money, and we even find disagreement in sport.
But a crisis or disaster, especially a natural disaster, makes us all forget our differences and unites us to succeed in a common goal.
Steve Jobs said: “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.”
The presumption is always that the helpless want to live, and that even the lives of the weak are important.
Many natural disasters have proven it. The Queensland floods of 2010-11 proved it, and the current floods are proving it all over again.
When people see other people in danger – even in a flood, even if they are complete strangers – experience has shown us that whether a person is “good” or “bad”, they will go to great lengths to save others from drowning.
Good times, fun times, lots of money or even lots and lots of success do not by nature unite people – and especially not strangers – like a crisis or disaster will do.
By its very nature, a natural disaster or crisis tends to bring out the best in us.
When I was sick for a long time a few years ago, my friend the doctor selflessly visited me often even though I was living in the middle of nowhere.
What does this prove? I think we all know what it proves.
It proves that when I was negotiating the price for that PlayStation, I should have pretended I was sick.