Read the transcript, and view the video, on the importance of kindness, nature of being human and the future of humanity. This is from the 2023 commencement address that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker gave at Northwestern University. It is fully aligned with the purposes of The Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty.
“If you want to be successful in this world you have to develop your own idiot detection system. I’m going to share mine. The best way to spot an idiot: look for the person who is cruel. Let me explain. When we see someone who doesn’t look like us or sound like us or act like us or love like us or live like us, the first thought that crosses almost everyone’s brain is rooted in either fear or judgment or both.
“That’s evolution. We survived as a species by being suspicious of things that we aren’t familiar with. In order to be kind we have to shut down that animal Instinct and force our brain to travel a different pathway. Empathy and compassion are evolved states of being. They require the mental capacity to step past our most primal urges.
“This may be a surprising assessment because somewhere along the way, in the last few years, our society has come to believe that weaponized cruelty is part of some well-thought-out master plan. Cruelty is seen by some as an adroit cudgel to gain power. Empathy and kindness are considered weak. Many important people look at the vulnerable only as rungs on a ladder to the top. When someone’s path through this world is marked with acts of cruelty, they have failed the first test of an advanced society.
“They never forced their animal brain to evolve past its first instinct. They never forged new mental pathways to overcome their own instinctual fears, and so their thinking and problem solving will lack the imagination and creativity that the kindest people have in spades. Over my many years in politics and business, I have found one thing to be universally true the kindest person in the room is often the smartest.”