A good new year’s resolution from Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll in Preposterous Universe:

Mandela-cell-jpg_extra_big-300x204Nelson Mandela was a complicated person. He was no pushover; he was an activist, a revolutionary, someone who got things done and wasn’t afraid to break a few eggs when necessary. But his greatest contribution wasn’t the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa, which arguably would have happened at some point anyway — it was the peaceful way in which the transition happened, and the inclusiveness, forgiveness, and ability to look forward with which he led the nation thereafter.

Now, the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” is a pretty awful one. Most people resolve to lose weight or some generic version of being nicer, and most fall off the wagon pretty quickly. A health club I used to go to would display signs in January saying “Regulars: don’t worry about the crowds, most of them will be gone soon.” Not very encouraging, but pretty accurate.

But the idea of resolving to be a better person is a good one, and the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any. So without making an official resolution, this year I’d like to be more like Nelson Mandela.

More here.