If you have watched any TV news channel lately, chances are that you have pondered about the hopelessness of the world we inhabit. Crime, corruption, violence, hatred – the media is full of bad news. So, bad news on news channels and in newspapers seems to indicate that good news must be rare.
The good news is that good news is not rare. It is only reported rarely. Why? Because, apparently, good news does not engage the audiences.
Here’s some good news that I would like to share with my readers: in spite of what most TV news channels and newspapers would have us believe, the world is not so bad after all. In fact, you’ll be surprised to know that most people are actually nice; that most people believe in plain old values our elders inculcated in us. Honesty, for instance.
In an interesting sociological experiment to test honesty, 100 wallets were dropped in front of hidden cameras to see who would return the wallets and who would steal them. The wallets contained real money, a fake gift certificate, a clearly written ID card with the name, address and phone number of the wallet’s owner and a few miscellaneous items. You would be pleased to know that the majority of the people turned out to be honest – in fact, honest people out numbered dishonest people nearly three to one.
Reminds me of another experiment that celebrated essayist Robert Fulgum wrote about in his bestselling book, “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten”. A man named Steven Brill decided to test if everyone out there wants to rip us. He did his test with taxi drivers in New York City. Brill posed as a well-to-do foreigner with little knowledge of English. He engaged several dozen taxis around New York City to see how many taxi drivers would cheat him. His friends had warned him that most would take advantage of him in some way. Guess what actually happened?
Only one driver out of 37 cheated him. The rest took him directly to his destination and charged him the correct fare. Many drivers refused to take him when his destination was close by, even getting out of their cabs to show him how close he already was. “The greatest irony,” writes Fulghum, “was that several drivers warned him that New York City was full of crooks and to be careful.”
Fulghum warns us from being misled by reports about crookedness and corruption. He says that dishonesty, crime, corruption become news because “they are the exceptions.”
My experience also suggests that most people are trustworthy. And that, you would agree, is good news.
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