The Nature of Reciprocity

“When we behave towards others with care and concern, sensitivity and tact, honesty and integrity, generosity and grace, forbearance and forgiveness, we start to become a different person. And such is the nature of reciprocity – itself one of the deeply engraved instincts that is the basis of morality – that we begin to change the way others relate to us; not always, to be sure, but often. Slowly but surely, a new atmosphere begins to be felt, at least in the more intimate environments in which we function. Bad behaviour can easily become contagious, but so can good behaviour, and it usually wins out in the long run. We feel uplifted by people who care about other people.”

Morality, Chapter 22, p. 310