TAKAYAMA, JAPAN — This is admittedly oversimplified, but a helpful frame I think.
Something I’ve felt and seen over and over is that humans have a strong desire not to be bullied. It seems to me there are two alternatives to being bullied.
First, become a bully. This is easy in the short run, but destroys your life in the long run.
Second, have the courage to stand up to a bully (or ignore them). This is really hard in the short run, but much more peaceful in the long run.
There seem to be only two equilibrium states: everyone is a bully or nobody is a bully. What we get is determined by our choices (or lack of choices).
What’s also hard is that it’s easy to fool ourselves — and I’ve done this myself — into thinking we’re a courageous hero, when we’re really just another bully.