To Be or Not To Be
A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!
~A Wise Man Said~
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~When in Lancaster~
Life as PhD Student
Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Friday, June 30, 2017
Why would or why should anyone do what I request them to do or would like them to do? Many do it if they can get them something in return be it immediately or potentially. If they don’t see any return in the transaction, chances are they won’t do it. Also, some people get some sort of ego boost out of doing things for other people… the reason I call it an ego boost and not that they are good people who love to do things for others is because in making others feel good, they feel good, and it is this feeling of ‘good’ that they are after (not that that’s a bad thing at all). But not everyone gets a kick out of helping others. So how do you get people who need to see some tangible or material return to do things for other people? The obvious answer is by giving them these returns but doing that would only reinforce their attitude and behaviour and encourage a society where everyone does things only because they get something in return for it. I feel that we are probably already living in such an economically driven society that is based on the logic of economic exchange rather than community values. Where I don’t do things for you because I trust you will also do things for others including me and we all live cooperatively and in harmony… in the long term. What we have now is a transactional society where you get what you pay for so there’s limited need for trust. I believe that this transactional way of doing things has so spread into society that it pervades even our private lives. Familial relationships also show a market orientation rather than a trust orientation because it is uncomfortable for us to accept things on ‘trust’ now… the logic of relationships in general is shifting to an economic base.
Of course I don’t mean to say that trust is always returned. That is part of the problem with trust that you don’t have to face in pure economic exchanges—that trust may not be returned. And if there wasn’t the chance that trust may not be returned it would not be called trust. The element of uncertainty is what imbues trust with its moral power. I know that you did not have to return this sum of money that I loaned to you but you still did which means that both the person who loaned the money and the person who returned it are bound by a moral contract rather than an economic one. If one did not believe in moral values or obligations and such, nothing stops them from not returning it. In some ways a real contract frees both people from the uncertainties and tensions that a symbolic contract may bring and that is why we prefer those. But what about when the exchange is not financial? Isn’t a person who cannot be trusted to fulfil monetary obligations on trust as incapable of fulfilling any other moral obligation? By creating a society where people are freed from the burden of taking moral responsibility by resorting to economic contracts, aren’t we in some way dulling the sense of moral obligations… or responsibilities in exchanges based on pure trust… for example, have prenuptial agreements made marriages more successful or have they only made divorces simpler?
Isn’t a well-functioning community at the end of the day one that is founded on principles of trust (or intrinsic values) rather than economics…?
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Among the many competencies I lack, there is one that bothers me the most. It is the ability to school my face to not reflect my true emotions. Some people have told me that my face is like an open book: I wouldn’t have trusted it to be true if many others hadn’t mentioned to me at quite emotional moments that they could tell that I was upset or that something was wrong or that it was clear that I didn’t really like what was said to me. I think it is a grave disadvantage especially in a world where honesty is equated with naïve stupidity and diplomacy is rewarded generously.
As they say, awareness of a problem is half the solution. But in this case I am not sure it is. It is not as if I deliberately let on my emotions. I don’t even realise I am so transparent. And emotional triggers are such that even before you realise you have betrayed an expression you may already have done the damage. Another thing to do may be to practise some sort of neutral smile or arrangement of features that never really drops. I could be too old to try this. I wonder if people who do manage to do this have been doing it successfully for years. If masking my real feelings is too difficult then another option could be to change how I actually feel about things within me. If I feel something is not quite right, maybe I should try not to feel bad about it but to say hang on, park the thought, this doesn’t seem right, but maybe there’s a better explanation, let’s not jump to a conclusion here, or maybe this is a learning situation, let me reflect on what I can learn from this later, nothing to feel down about, or maybe I can say, okay, we live in the real world and there are all sorts of people in the real world, I can’t control their actions, but I can control my reaction to their actions and not transfer power to them, or maybe I can say relax, take a deep breath, you know you have the right intentions and values, not everyone will understand you, and that is okay, let it pass. I guess what I am saying is that positive interior dialogue could help bring my emotions to a better place and not give away what I am feeling. Not because I don’t want to be honest but because honest emotion is seen as a sign of weakness rather than authenticity.