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Guilt by Association

One of the few areas where my instinct is in opposition to how I have determined to try to live is when it comes to how I view people who are friends with bad guys. My obvious instinct is that they, too, are sus.

I have to really make an effort to try to suspend that judgment.

If they are, themselves, participating in, enabling, shielding, promoting, supporting the bad activity, that’s one thing.

But just for being friends with them— then what about their friends, and their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends?

And me, am I guilty for everything my relatives, neighbors, colleagues do?

Sure, I do have a responsibility to speak up to them and when they don’t listen, maybe I should leave them completely.

But, on the other hand, the 道德经 (“Tao Te Ching”) chapter 27. A bad person is the responsibility of a good person.

Leaving them, abandoning them, is like abandoning an unfinished job.

Sometimes the right call—it’s easy to overestimate to what extent we are “a good teacher”, and for some chickens the only way out of the egg is for them to pick it themselves from the inside.

Other times the wrong call. The person could still be reached, turned.