Often attributed to the Greek Hippocratic Oath, “first, do no harm” is the popular medical/ healthcare dictum that is applicable to our everyday interactions as well.
While we can’t always predict the consequence of our action, the word “first’ signifies the intent of the dictum. It is like force is neutral, and it is different from “excessive” force which is bad. One must intend to do no harm.
If a harm results inadvertently, our response must be guided by ethical considerations. For example, excess carbon dioxide caused greenhouse effect and, subsequently, global warming. Curtailing or offsetting the CO2 production is the proper remedial action.
Some may argue that life is a zero-sum game or, at least, entails risk. In other words, harm is an inevitable part of life. To which I say, we are responsible for our action. And our intention matters. The onerous is on us to try harder.
What do you think would happen if everyone follows the dictum, “first, do no harm”?