Omission, commission and the places in between

If you accidentally leave the gate open and foragers end up destroying 1000 acres of crops, the guilt feels different than if you went and actively burned down the fields, even if the damage is identical.

In our society, we treat errors of omission differently from the decision to commit a crime.

But there are countless places in between.

What if you should have known?

What if you could have known but didn’t bother to do the work?

What if you promised you’d do the work to find a path, but then didn’t?

One reason we hide is that we’re afraid of being on the hook, of making a promise we can’t keep, of showing up and taking responsibility for our intentional actions. But, as information becomes more widespread and our leverage increases, we’ve already put ourselves on the hook. Could, should and would not only rhyme, they exist on a continuum.