An old Frenchman liked to tell the following story:”When I was 14 years old I used to sit on a bench near the church on free afternoons. Once I watched a blackbird sitting in an elderberry bush and eating the ripe berries. When it had had enough, it flew off to the nearby cemetery wall and cleaned the seeds off its beak by rubbing it on this stones.”When I was 40, I visited the church and took a look at that old cemetery wall. What did I find but an elderberry bush growing out of the aging mortar between the stones of the wall. Its roots had split the wall. Its roots had split the wall open so wide that I could put my hand into the gap.”With a piece of mortar that had split away I wrote alongside the split in the wall: ‘The work of a blackbird.'”
A harmless looking seed unintentionally deposited by a tiny bird that needed to clean his beak, eventually had cracked the wall. So too some harmless looking action done just for the sake of being sociable or for the sake of some such popular reason, by and by takes root and eventually causes one’s own degradation or even destruction.