From Collateral Damage to Collateral Benefit

You often hear people talking about “collateral damage” (Wikipedia). Of course, you will also find the term “collateral damage” in Wikipedia.

Looking for collateral benefit however, the only entry I find on the internet is one I do not find satisfying: collateral benefit (Kollateralnutzen), so they write, is the “humorous counterpart of collateral damage”. And in Wikipedia, I cannot find the term “collateral benefit”, either.

I think this is a pity and wrong.

After all, here is what we have: you do something evil, inimical or just wrong. For instance wage war. You want to do damage to someone, namely your enemy. And apart from the damage you wanted to do, you actually do a lot more massive damage. This extra damage is called collateral damage.

On the other hand, you can do something good, humane or simply right. And I am sure in this case, there will also be some additional – even if not predictable – collateral benefit.

Perhaps we should simply integrate the term collateral benefit into our language and at the same time push aside collateral damage. People might actually more often be able to distinguish between good and evil, which again might make them do the right thing more often than the wrong thing?

So please remember: whenever you do something good, there will always be lots of additional collateral benefit – why not do the right thing?

(Translated by EG)


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