The most good you can do

I am once more reading Peter Singer’s book The Most Good You Can Do. I read it every few years and get a lot out of it. (Apparently he’s said some pretty dodgy stuff lately about inter-species relationships but I haven’t seen any of that. For me, that doesn’t diminish his past work. Perhaps it should? I don’t know. It’s the old Edward Hopper conundrum again…)

Here’s my (ongoing) list of the most good we can do on a daily basis. Gah, this is going to come across as so bossy, but this is

  1. Use an indicator people. Seriously, it’s the only thing that separates us from the animals.
  2. Smile. Except in Paris. They think you’re ‘up for it’ if you smile in Paris. Except if you are up for it, then go right ahead.
  3. Say please, thank you and hello to anyone and everyone from your housemates and loved ones to the man who sells you your coffee.
  4. Stop following famous people on Social Media and start following young people who are in bands, inventing stuff and making art and promote the shit out of them. (check out Ryan White, an amazing self taught painter and Bligh Band, my son’s girlfriend’s band.)
  5. Read more. Books, I mean read more books. And articles. Read outside your genre and your comfort zone.
  6. Let people cut in line in the supermarket if they only have one or two thing. Let’s make that a standard behaviour and not something that makes people say ‘OMG, are you serious, oh wow, you are the nicest person…’ (and don’t complain about the latest ‘giveaway’ of plastic crap at the supermarket to the checkout operator. They either care and it upsets them, or they don’t care and you look like a dick.)
  7. While we’re at the supermarket, put your trolley back.
  8. Park your car with care; allow space for other vehicles, don’t park in spots designated for those with special needs (I’m talking to you, fancy car from the Institute of Drone Technology. . It’s on your number plate and you don’t have a permit. Tool )
  9. If you have kids, please, for the love of God, teach them manners. Like proper manners. As Jordan Peterson says, don’t let your kids do anything that makes you hate them.
  10. Seriously, don’t browbeat people with your religious, political, or idealogical beliefs. Yelling at people will not make them think ‘hey, you know that shouty guy at the party last night had a few good points.’ Nope.
  11. But do learn to dicuss all of the things in #10 in an articulate and intelligent way. Read widely across those areas and have some good questions. We need more discussions and far, far less shouty dinner parties.
  12. Adopt don’t shop.
  13. Stop eating animals. Oops I broke my own #10, but really, Sir David Attenborough said it’s the best way to ensure a future for our planet. And it’s far kinder, too.
  14. Phone, text, email, write a friend. Not just when Facebook tells you it’s their birthday. There’s nothing wrong with texting or emailing. It’s better than nothing at all. Something like ‘hey -insert name here- you popped into my head today. Hope you’re well.’ Insert emoji here. Don’t spell the word ‘popped’ wrong. That could be awkward.
  15. Fix your shit. I posted a couple of days ago about how we can really only fix ourselves but it’s in fixing ourselves that we are able to really contribute to the world, or at least not make more pain for others.

I’m so preachy here, I’m sorry. But if we all went through life actively trying to make everyone else’s day, trying to do all the good we can do, what a great world we’d live in. It’s that easy.


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