Showing posts with label Golden Rule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Golden Rule. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Politeness

The essence and implications of politeness.

Think about it for a moment. It's no secret why politeness is socially advantageous: Social creatures must deal with each other. But I’ve often wondered how polite I come off to people who I encounter. Well sure it would matter what situation I was in at the time. It would depend on whether I was working, whether I was in a social group, whether I was inebriated. I've been told that I can come off as quite a bit arrogant. I know for example that I often do not go out of my way to be accommodating, and I usually want to just keep to myself in my own little bubble when in public. And I can see how that can sometimes come off as arrogant. Not acknowledging someone can seem rude, not smiling or laughing at others and initiating small talk when it seems appropriate can sometimes seem cold.

As someone passionate about philosophy, the contemplation of politeness makes me think about ethical egoism. Ethical egoism is a philosophy constructed around the idea that it is best to consider your own benefits, both in the short and long term when making moral decisions. Under ethical egoism, politeness and generosity are good behaviors because in the long term, it will eventually come back to you, and you will benefit from it. To be selfish can be socially disadvantageous, and therefore selfishness is not in your best interests. We all practice ethical egoism in our daily lives whether we know it or not. Now it is true that it has its critics, who espouse that every act of supposed altruism by the ethical egoist, is really done out of selfishness, and benefiting their own well being. This makes me wonder about how we view politeness: Do we act polite only because we think we will ultimately benefit from it?

When I reflect on politeness, I think of how much I like a polite society, but I also think of how I may not fit into a really polite society, in light of my unaccommodating nature. I also know that feeling of elitism I sometimes get within a certain crowd, that feeling like the air I breathe is more sophisticated, and deriding things that are below me. I know how much I hate it when that is done to me by others. This sounds like a great occasion to apply the golden rule, in theory and in practice. A great piece of wisdom when applied strategically, can eradicate years of ignorant folly. If I adhere to the golden rule in principle (while acknowledging it is not perfect), mustn't I adhere to it, in practice?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Golden Rule

It's been a while since I blogged. I want to write about the golden rule and how it relates to reality and morality today. The origin of the golden rule predates the version Jesus' had, to the Analects of Confucius, and Rabbi Hillel a few hundred years prior. The golden rule as simple as it is regardless of whether it is in its positive or negative form cannot be applied consistently in society.

Suppose I am on a job interview. I need the job badly, but I am competing with another person for the position. He needs it much more than I do. He's going to be unable to pay his rent next month if he doesn't make some kind of money really soon and he has several kids to feed. Now let's say I get the job and he doesn't. He's out of luck. I wouldn't want him to do that to me if I was him, but I did. We were competing for the same limited opportunity and resource as we all are in this world. That is the nature of life. If I had conceded and let him have the job because I wouldn't want him to take it from me I'd be out of a job.

We can't really apply the golden rule in every situation otherwise we'd never be able to compete for anything. With no competition many things would never get done. Period. How could any business compete with another if it deploys tactics that it wouldn't want its competition to do to it? I prefer the negative version of the golden rule. Don't do to other what you wouldn't want done to you. I think it has more force than the positive version because we wouldn't always want certain people doing things to us that we would want done to us. I like getting my dick sucked, but I'm not going to suck other men's dicks because I like mine getting sucked. I wouldn't want my dick sucked by a man, so I won't go out and suck another man's dick. I think it works better because we all know what we don't want a lot more than what we do want.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...