They could be poor burglars stealing from individuals; extremely rich and powerful people stealing from entire countries; or anything in between. If they get caught, they may or may not be punished – depending on their financial abilities and connections – but regardless, their behavior is not acceptable by society at large and generally honest people prefer not to be associated with them.
Generally speaking, society considers such behavior as antisocial, and it is not difficult to feel anger towards such people, especially by those who need to work very hard to support themselves and their families. That makes perfect sense. People feel: “If I can contribute my time and hard work to benefit both society and myself, why shouldn’t everyone?”. It’s not difficult to understand such feelings.
This however, assumes that in essence “they” are just like “us”. But are they?
One is incapable of hurting anyone, in any way, unless they hurt and suffer themselves.
Some of those people who take from others, may feel that it is wrong and judge themselves as wrongdoers. At the same time they continue with theft and are unable to stop, just like any addiction. Some of them may be completely oblivious to their own actions, even when they pay a dear price for it.
It is amazing that some of these people have billions in the bank; they really don’t need any more money but they cannot stop.
It is almost surprising to find fear as part of this formula, but fear often disguises itself as a whole variety of different thoughts and emotions. Fear is part of this equation is various ways:
1) The fear of loss and of lack.
2) The fear of incompetency, of being incapable of doing something else.
3) Fear of being held hostage by accomplices, who may report past wrongdoing if one attempts to change their ways.
Other emotions are also possible:
1) Hate: “Everybody is stupid and they deserve to have everything taken from them”.
2) Anger, resentfulness or contempt: “I am much smarter than most people. I should have much more than others”.
3) Disappointment, frustration or retaliation: “I used to play by the rules and got crushed. Now I’m going to play by my own rules.”
Any of the above emotions are the result of suffering and hurting. Like all toxic emotions, they have very limited logic to them, which is also an indication of what limited view of the world such people have. They don’t see what many honest people know intuitively, moreover, they may be afraid to change and allow themselves to see beyond their current capabilities.
If punishing such people had been effective, we would have seen a decrease in crimes. But in reality we see the opposite. Punishment cannot solve this situation. We cannot lock them away and pretend that they are gone and the problem is solved. If we are to help ourselves as a healthy society, we must help these people.
Judgement, criticism, contempt, fear, hate and similar emotions, will not allow us to make any positive change. It is only by listening, becoming compassionate and with a lot of patience – like that of a loving parent to a misbehaving child – that we can begin, slowly and with many setbacks, to show such people unconditional love and acceptance. With time, it is those positive emotions that will help us achieve a positive change for them and for us. Love and compassion are true healers. And remember; by helping the other, we help ourselves.