Larry Brilliant, M.D. reminds us of something that Mahatma Gandhi said during the fight for freedom for India. He had many complicated decisions to make and many people would come to him and ask, “Mahatma, how do I know what the right thing to do?
Gandhi would say, “Everybody wants a magic amulet that protects you from doing the wrong thing. I will give you a magic amulet that will protect you from ever doing the wrong thing, but this is not an amulet that you wear on a gold chain around your neck, this is an amulet that you inscribe in your heart. It’s this: Before you take that action which you are thinking about, consider the face of the poorest, the most vulnerable, the most destitute, marginalized human being that you have ever met in your life. Think of the person you have met who suffers the most, for whom life has been the most unfair, and ask yourself: Will the act that you are contemplating doing benefit that person? If it will, you are protected. If it won’t, I ask you to think again if that’s the most important thing or the right thing for you to do. That’s the magic amulet that will protect you from ever doing anything wrong.”
Larry Brilliant, M.D. is a pioneering physician,
the first executive director of Google.org
and cofounder of the Seva Foundation.
He’s the author of Sometimes Brilliant:
The Impossible Adventure of a Spiritual Seeker
and Visionary Physician Who Helped
Conquer the Word Disease in History