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Does Nice = Good?

by Monday, November 3, 2014

So I read this quote that basically said:

Nice or Kind ≠ Good

And I thought, “Finally!”

Finally someone other than me says it.

Allow me to elaborate.

When I was very young, I had this notion that a person can be judged by his or her actions. Not words. But their actions, in general towards the world.

There would be instances in my school life and growing years when I would know that Person A has done something bad towards someone else, or has behaved in a certain way etc. and that would be enough for me to know that I don’t like/trust this person or want to be friends with them.

Was it judgmental? Absolutely.

Was I wrong about the person in most cases? No.

And when I would hear arguments from others like “hey, Person A didn’t do anything bad to ME, so why should I not be friends with him/her?” At my young age, my brain just would NOT be able to comprehend that logic. It would cause a mini short circuit in my brain’s wiring.

I would think “so if Person A murders Person B, you’ll consider Person A to be a nice person just coz they’re nice to YOU?!”

I’m sorry, but that just does not add up!

(Yeah, murder was a bit of an extreme example to give, but you get my drift.)

So even today… my brain/heart/mind/soul (whatever you want to call it), just do NOT agree with that logic.

I mean, I have encountered people who are spiteful, deceiving, with low morals, who cheat, steal, lie etc, and I still find that they have friends in this world. Recently I asked someone “why would you associate with someone who’s a liar, and has gone to extremes to keep their pride and ego up high, to the extent of almost going to jail… why would you associate with such a person despite knowing what they’ve done or are capable of doing?” The response – “Because he/she is always nice to me, I have no complaints.” Brain fuse ho gaya.

You know, human beings can say the right things to the right people at the right time, with the right amount of sweetness. But it’s really their ACTIONS, to others (especially those less fortunate than them), and to the world in general that DEFINE THEIR CHARACTER.

Actions over words. It’s that simple. What you DO.. not what you say.

Of course, this topic can go into a longer discussion about what is good/bad, right/wrong, who decides the moral code that defines these terms for us etc. But I’ll just quote some important people to make my point:

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners”
― Laurence Sterne

Which reminds me of Ayn Rand’s philosophy when it comes to the need for a code of ethics, and morality.

We, ourselves, WE define what is right and wrong for us, and we base our entire lives on it. Which is why, what we choose to believe as moral or immoral, right or wrong, and good or bad, sets the basis for who we turn out to be. What we stand for, and what is the value of our character.

What is morality, or ethics? It is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life. Ethics, as a science, deals with discovering and defining such a code.

The first question that has to be answered, as a precondition of any attempt to define, to judge or to accept any specific system of ethics, is: Why does man need a code of values?

Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: Does man need values at all—and why?
The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.

– Ayn Rand

I’m happy being called a ‘judgmental’ person. I’d just rather save my inner circle for people whose actions define their character as honorable, just and honest. That, in my books, is Being Awesome. And in today’s world where you’re worth only as much as your accomplishments, I think that’s the highest one.

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