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Day 284: Food for Thought

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm a little early tonight, but we're going to watch a movie and I won't have time to get online again before my coach turns back into a pumpkin. Hah.

One of my fellow Sparklers has a couple of 'off-Spark' blogsites she posts to - she usually puts the links in the WeBlog forum. Since Carley invites others to view her blog, I don't think she'll mind my posting the link:


Her discussion has been on my mind most of the day. I will repost here what I said in response to it - but I'm still thinking about what she said, so you know it's working on me, lol.

* * *

I think I've probably quoted this here before; I quote it often, and think it a lot: Abraham Lincoln once said 'When I do good, I feel good; and when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion.'

'Kindness' is my wellspring of morality. Is doing such-and-such kind, or will it result in harm of one sort or another? If I say thus-and-so, is my motivation kindness? or hurt?

After that, I don't need to label or categorize. A lie, in its most basic form, is an untruth perpetrated for ill-gotten gains - stealing and cheating, of whatever type they may be.

Courtesy and politeness are often in themselves 'lies,' but these untruths are only used in an effort to comfort, to be pleasant, to help someone, to instill warmth and cheer.

I say 'How do you do?' when I meet someone. I may never have met them and don't genuinely care how they're 'doing'; nor do I expect chapter-and-verse of their latest aches and pains. But I know that couched in the standard phrase is a civil 'Hello! I'm pleased to meet you and perhaps get to know you better.'

Is it a lie?

When someone has died, whether I know the family well or not, I will offer my condolences and tell them I'm sorry for their loss... and I am, up to a point. But it's a societal tradition, to sympathize with someone bereaved. I don't generally have the emotional connection that these phrases of comfort may imply.

Is it a lie?

If a friend has bought a new suit and had her hair done in preparation for a job interview, and the day before models the outfit and asks 'What d'you think? How do I look?' - is she asking for a critique? Or is she seeking a bit of bolstering for her self-confidence in light of what can be a nerve-wracking situation?

She's committed - the haircut is what it is, the suit has been paid for and tags were removed... Her appointment is at 10 AM the next day. There's no turning back. I say 'You look sensational! You'll knock 'em out, hon!'

Is it a lie?

My motivation isn't to see her blow the interview so *I* can get that job, or to keep her somehow unemployed. My motivation is to stoke her enthusiasm, her confidence, her self-assurance, so she feels and looks her best. My words have been generated by kindness.

So no, I don't categorize statements and responses and comments according to whether or not they may be lies of greater or lesser degrees. I try to look beyond that to find my own motivation, and to hone my instincts for reaching out to others and being as kind as possible.

Every civilization, every religion, every society, has some version of The Golden Rule. If what we did unto others stemmed from sincere efforts to be kind, the world would be a better place. IMHO

* * *

I think I will stand by what I've written, but... like the grain of sand that irritates the oyster until it produces a pearl, so Carley's blog keeps coming back to me. Dunno that my thinking will produce any pearls ('pearl of wisdom' - as if I would produce any!) but I love it when someone's thoughts resonate with me.

Thanks for posting it, Carley - and goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm so happy that I have given you something to think about. That would be one of my goals for writing. I just want people to think about what would get them closer to God. In the end, whether or not something is a lie, depends on the condition of your heart at the moment... and God knows what that condition is better than we do. Most of the little white lies, we probably won't even know about until judgement day. Till then I keep asking for forgiveness and hold faith. BIG HUGS. Thanks soooooo much for reading, and for the awesome feedback.
    3433 days ago
    Interesting blog!!--BNice when someone's blog inspires one-=I agree! Lynda
    3433 days ago
    Interesting. Which is Nebraskan for "you're making me think". Many of your examples are the very kinds of "white lies" that women tell... suppressing opinion, supporting one another, motivated by the desire to make people feel better. Especially where there is no solid "factual" answer, and it's a matter of opinion, why not make someone feel better?

    Rest well, friend Kasey! emoticon
    3434 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3434 days ago
    HI Kasey, What a wonderful thought provoking blog. We are creatures of habit and I too abide by the 'community guidelines'. I think that is what makes a society, the basics of the people 'in the street'. there are unwritten laws in all societies, whether it is waiting your turn at the public toilet or just saying Hello. I find when I walk on a morning everyone says good morning, but when you go somewhere else, that does not happen, I am not sure if we are too involved in what we are doing or where we are going, or if it is a change of custom.
    Love Kerrie
    3434 days ago
    I share your thoughts completely. The world would, indeed, be a better place if more people would make a sincere effort to be kind to others. It seems to me sometimes that too many people never got the memo.
    3434 days ago
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