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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Only The Wise Person Is Good

And the stupid person is bad. Let us clarify!

I have always liked the infamous quote, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Other versions go something like this:

"Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works." - Variation

"L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs." - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

"Facilis descensus Averno." - Virgil's Aeneid

What does this mean?

If a person's view of what is good or right is such that it ignores other people's views, then by necessity, that person will harm those others. This is, because being considerate of other people requires the use of empathy and sympathy based on information. When a person bases their feelings on personal opinion, then their actions ignore the will of others.

In other words, a person who is ignorant of the will (even opinion) of others, is bound to create conflict between themselves and those others, eventually and often.

How can a person take others into consideration without knowing what they think?

No person can take others into account, without knowing them properly. It is true that some things seem easily generalized. Noticeable examples would be the need for food and water, hygiene and the company of others. Never the less, beyond the very basic needs, without proper communication, there is no way to avoid the conflict of wills.

This is why we have the Golden Rule in its' variations:

"己所不欲,勿施於人。" – Confucius

"Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." – Laozi

"Do not do to your neighbor what you would take ill from him." – Pittacus

Do notice that I take only the versions that use negation. I do not think that a person who chooses to harm themselves should harm others, likewise.
Pittacus would agree!

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