Neil Gaiman on kindness

From a recent interview with Neil Gaiman:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtTDvzyr3m4

Towards the end of our chat, I asked: “You’ve said this consistently for 20, 30 years: Be Kind. Why is kindness so important for writers and creators?”

I loved Gaiman’s answer:

“Because there’s lots of other people out there saying the other stuff, and because there aren’t enough people there saying, be kind. And when I’m on my deathbed, I cannot imagine myself lying there going, I wish I’d worked a little bit harder, I wish I’d written that one extra book, I wish I’d done this, I wish I’d done that, but I can absolutely imagine myself going, I just wish I’d been kinder.

And also because I think right now, it matters so much because anger is an easy thing to stir up; outrage is a really, really easy thing to stir up. You can point at people, people will gather together and they will throw rocks and they will burn temples and they will — I read a thing this morning that actually made me cry. There were photographs of a 14-year-old kid in America, a 14-year-old black kid, who was executed, sent to the electric chair for a crime that he swore he had not committed, and had not committed. Essentially he was executed — murdered by the state. I was looking at these photos and thinking, things like this are so easy and kindness and empathy and forgiveness are so hard. And those are the things that we have to find in ourselves if we are going to move on as human beings.

Which does not mean you cannot be righteously outraged. Righteous outrage is one of the best things in the world. It doesn’t mean that you can’t look around and go, this thing is wrong, I’m going to change this, and I’m going to work with other people to change this. You should; you should. But it also means that kindness and empathy have to be tools, and have to be there for all of us. Otherwise, we will live in an atmosphere of outrage, forever trying to find our targets for our 15 minutes of hate.”

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