Do no harm vs do less harm

When we set an intention, for example, to do no harm, the intention needs to be aspirational. 

To do less harm is nice, yet it also has no definition. Less harm can be taking a step of the most minute proportions, a step that probably will not count for much.

I can promise myself to do less harm and give myself a pat on the back for a minor change. It is better than nothing, yet it is also a false positive. I get off the hook. 

To do no harm as an intention might, today, be impossible to achieve. That doesn’t mean we do not strive towards this. 

The idea of an aspirational goal is that it is almost impossible to achieve it. This creates the greatest tension between where we are now and where we must arrive.

Even if we arrive at 70% of the intention of doing no harm, we are better off holding that aspiration. 

Idealism is a fabulous stance, particularly when backed by considered actions. Towards doing no harm we take daily steps. 

Few people will unite around doing less harm. This allows people to manipulate the game and get away with egregious acts in one domain while tweaking the system to do less harm in another.

Holding large, systems-changing intentions backed by daily action might feel impossible on day one. Do not let that stop you from beginning.

Photo Taken May 4th 2024