My intervention the other night made me question a lot of my motives and morals. I surprised myself in that I was willing to put myself at some personal risk for some strangers, and it lead me to question how I judged the risk and why I chose to act.
While how I judged the risk is an interesting subject, it's not what I want to talk about. Let's assume there was a level of risk which certainly not everyone would feel comfortable taking. What I found myself more interested in answering was why did I feel I should take the risk?
When I was younger I found myself unable to justify taking the risk. What would it achieve for me? Essentially I had a fairly selfish outlook. So presumably this must have changed somewhat, and it became apparent to me that various factors have influenced my morals: being at least partially responsible for children, my recent role change to team leader... possibly growing older...?
At any rate, I realised that I was more interested in 'the common good', more specifically in terms of the world I'd like to live in. Politics is too detached. I still don't feel much connection between politicians, policy and their effects on the world. What I mean by that is that I don't see enough choice and I see too much complexity and too much inefficacy to bother with pretty much the whole world of politics. I don't believe in individual contribution to change global problems. This all still holds true now. I'd be interested if someone can convince me otherwise; I just don't think situations which require the majority of people to think/act in a certain way are ever likely to be successful.
So what did inspire me to act? Well, all my life changes have been in terms of relatively simple actions - what does motivate me is seeing cause and effect. Touching something and seeing it change as a result. This is what motivates me in terms of bringing up the children. In my team lead role at work. In my relationships. In intervening on the incident on Saturday.
In the end, I guess it was because it felt like the right thing to do (and not acting when the situation was right in front of me seemed inexcusable), because the level of risk was somehow acceptable, because it made the world more like the sort of place I wanted to live in.
None of this means I want to take my desire to make things better any further, however. I think being a politician is a thankless task. I prefer to work at the smaller end of the scale, at least for now :)