I walked out of my political philosophy class (shout out to Dr. Frost), and I started deeply thinking of the actions and choices that I make in my life. As one typically does after getting schooled for an hour and 15 minutes on straight philosophy.

“What is love?,” “What is beauty?” and “What is justice?” The explanation that “Every action we take, we believe is a just action” really stuck with me. For weeks, this new-found knowledge has been destroying my brain cells. 

Because it is correct, whether we like it or not, it is correct. I have asked myself a lot “Why do people do evil things?” or “Why would they think that is a correct action?” And the simple answer is because people justify it within themselves. 

Telling yourself that postponing your homework to a later date is justified in your brain. Because the due date is not until a few more days, you feel that it is a just action. But it really is not, it is in your best interest to do it earlier and get it over with. 

In the moment, you have justified it. All this talk about just action is me telling you that you can justify anything in your brain. And I mean any action you take, it does not stop at procrastination. 

Betraying someone, mocking someone and, sadly, including evil crimes, are all justifiable in your brain. Why the brain specifically? Your frontal lobe chooses your character, personality and actions. 

Your own frontal lobe is your best feature and your worst enemy. So back to my question, “Why would they think that is a correct action?” Question of the century.

Humans, since the age of forever, have always been out for their best interest. A survival skill built into our brains. We need the best food, shelter and even mating partners. How we get these is where things get muddy. 

Taking the best things for yourself has never presented itself to be easy and consequence free. Somewhere in some part of our world, maybe, a caveman had to fight another caveman for food. Don’t blame him, he had to survive. 

Now, we can translate this caveman fighting to modern day situations. Someone may have leftovers in the fridge, but you are so hungry and you eat them. Or you get to the elevator in a rush and see people walking far away, and you don’t hold the door open. 

All these instances are justified in your brain. Why? Because you are so very hungry, and you are running late and cannot spend three precious minutes waiting for people to walk faster. I don’t blame you; you had to put yourself first. 

But did you really have to put yourself first? If we were in cavemen times or some apocalyptic era (like Covid times), I would be telling everyone to put themselves first. But we aren’t anymore. It’s the year 2023 and most of us are not fighting for food or shelter. 

Yes, you may be fighting your landlord or the government on gas and rent prices, but no one is fist fighting for these things. At least you shouldn’t be anyways. So, why are we still in this primitive way of surviving? 

Now, we can get into capitalism and wage gaps, which are very serious issues affecting all of us, but that isn’t my point. My point is our own brains have us thinking that we have to always have the upper hand in life. 

Stepping out of our confined way of thinking is the first step to becoming a better human. Our neighbors on Earth are not our enemies, our brains are. Evil things happen because evil things are justified in the brains of evildoers. 

Now, you are probably thinking I sound like a major optimist. Which I may be, I have to be. Because this pessimistic view of “everyone is out for me” is not healthy. It hinders my interactions with other humans. 

It also destroys the interactions of other people too. Racism is a great example of how destructive that mindset can be. All because that action to say racial remarks was justified in the head of that racist person. 

Reevaluating our own actions in our day-to-day life is key to surviving. I have been doing it in my life recently. Asking if someone needs something, or simply paying attention to the needs and wants people around me have, has been amazing. 

We are all humans trying to maneuver this messed up world, and by doing something so small and free of charge, you can change it for the better. A cliche but it really is true. Being a good human starts by being good to other humans. 

All this philosophy is to say, if you’re going to justify your action make sure your action is in the best interest for yourself and others. Deep diving into your mind can lead to finding out you may be a bad friend, sibling, parent, etc. Choosing to change and better yourself and better the lives of others will make you a better you.

If you are going to choose yourself, make yourself a more mindful and loving person. The world is your oyster, but you share it with seven billion other people. There are still good humans in the world, be one of those. Good will always triumphs over evil.