How to Make a Good Human Being

As Albert Camus describes in The Plague, there are three types of people: the ones who spread the plague, the ones who succumbed to the plague, and the ones who fought the plague. The third category is what I refer to as “good” here.

Where do these mythical people come from? Many places, but having watched a recent interview with Kumi Naidoo, I felt I could answer that question with at least one example.

So, how do you make a good human being? Step 1 is you have him be born black in South Africa under apartheid. Step 2 is you take the lives and well-being of many of his friends and family who dare resist the government-enforced racial segregation. Step 3 is you continuously arrest him and threaten his life, thereby motivating him to seek exile. Step 4 is you let him escape to England. Step 5 is you make him a Rhodes scholar and give him an Oxford education (a PhD even, why not). Step 6 is you let him somehow slip into the leadership position of a large non-governmental peace-promoting organization such as Greenpeace. Oh, and last but not least, Step 7, you give him a sense of humor and lightness about the absurdity of his life experience.

And there you have it, just 7 easy steps. The result is a good human being that tirelessly fights human suffering in every corner of the world on all scales.

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