That quote is from Marcus Aurelius. It may be true in fact, but in reality, it may be more complex.
Anywhere you live, you can be a good person. However, it’s known that under certain conditions, it’s harder to be a good person. For example, it may be harder to be a good person under an authoritarian regime.
This is partly because leaders in authoritarianism, however evil they may be, are not typically dumb. They use strategies to instill hate and fear in the population. These strategies are hard to resist.
Still, it’s possible, with fortitude, preparation and work, to keep yourself intact and not succumb to these tactics.
Over a year ago, I read and shared this piece on how to be your own light in the Age of Trump. If you haven’t read it, I do recommend it. I’ve tried my best to stay true to this.
However, I can’t say I haven’t changed while Trump has been in office. I’ve had, for one thing, a happy shift in my worldview, which has made me not only more just in character but has given me new ideas about implicit bias.
So, the changes in me have been positive, all in all.
However, this may be rare under an authoritarian regime. We grow hateful, cantankerous and mean under authoritarianism. This can be true of anyone.
I still believe, though, that you can be a good person under authoritarianism. And that, in fact, is perhaps the best way to fight it.