Some people believe that morality is an injunction to 'be nice' to other people. Others, seeing that an unconditionnal commitment to helping your peers invites others to take advantage of you will advocate selfishness in a profoundly radical sense. Neither group get it.
Obviously, if you want to live...
Best answer: Some people believe that morality is an injunction to 'be nice' to other people. Others, seeing that an unconditionnal commitment to helping your peers invites others to take advantage of you will advocate selfishness in a profoundly radical sense. Neither group get it.
Obviously, if you want to live around other human beings, looking for mutual benefit and taking on your shoulders some of the burden of others is going to make your life both easier and better. If you're never disposed to provide support to anyone else without asking for something in return, nobody in their right mind would want to spend time with you or live around you. Everyone can get in trouble, everyone can make mistakes and everyone can need free help. Pure selfishness simply is careless or outright malevolence parading as wisdom.
Now, let's turn to the more complicated problem. Why should not always be nice? First of all, because some people are evil. This is not a figure of speech: some people actually want to cause as much damage as they can, in as short a period of time as they can. You have to screen those people out of your life. Second of all, because unconditionnal provision of help invites damageable behavior. If they can always count on you, many otherwise well intended people will simply afford you as little help as possible in return. It is the obvious temptation because, given your behavior, it is what would get them the most out of the situation.
Third of all, because being strict and prefering yourself over other people is not systematically unjustified. Anger and aggressivity are within your capacity as nature's insurance policy against the aggression of other people. Moreover, I guarantee you that if you do not pick a moment to signal that you will tolerate being stepped on, your body will pick a moment and it will not leave a memo. The first time someone does something irritating, agressivity might be expressed as a warning or a simple change in the tone of your voice. However, if you let yourself get stepped on constantly, the part of you that screams to be heard, that wants to tell others to quit it is getting stepped constantly and, when you decide to let it, it might lash out extremely violently. If you think that you cannot get into a blinding rage and kill someone, think twice. You can, you would and this possibility should scare the crap out of you. It should be scary enough to force you to demand respect.
You cannot possibly gauge the necessity to do well and get the measure of aggressivity right if you cannot appreciate how sadistic and dangerous you could become, were you wronged one time too many. It is the fear to not ever be that person that will compel you to do right by others and demand without fault that others do right by you.
3 days ago