The uselessness of being the better person

If you’re the only true follower of the philosophy you promote, if you are the only person who is true to the spirit of your morally better culture, if others are treating you wrong but you treat them right, then you are the better person.

However, what if that philosophy of yours is hindering you while achieving your goals? What if your morally better culture is closed and looks down upon people who behave differently, scaring them away? What if your right is the wrong in someone else’s eyes and there is no way to prove that wrong objectively?

Doesn’t your moral perfection, your superiority to all those inferior hypocrites make it harder to enjoy what you like to do, to reach the people you want to reach, to have success where you want to succeed? Doesn’t that make your moral perfection useless? Doesn’t it mean that those people with their flawed human nature might be achieving more with their sensible, flexible, pragmatic approach?

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  1. Answer: Nope.

    Morality isn't a hard thing to measure, doing bad things is quite easy to get feedback from: Does what you do hard someone? If yes, then you're doing something immoral. This probably makes almost everything we do immoral in degree, but plenty of us have thick skins and a vastness of forgiveness to find lots of small wrongs acceptable, so long as they are truly mistakes.

    I wouldn't claim moral perfection as I can't guarantee that I do no wrong. I can quite happily claim not to be evil though as I do not wish to harm anyone and wish to be a good person who would avoid harming others at any opportunity.

    Sorry. An important word to say and an important word to accept.

  2. using the words 'superior' is dangerous. And you can't attract people to a cause if you act condescending to their views. if you follow a different path, it should be a reward to yourself. And it should not be discouraging to see others not follow it. you can only be a lantern to light the path for others to follow, and if they do, great. And if others treat you wrong but you treat them right, that should a reward for you but not a reason to hate them. I use free software, advocate free culture and teach people about DRM. Does everyone immediately follow what I do, no. But it makes me happy and people do eventually ask me about it and they learn. And some might follow. I will surely lose friends and possible 'converts' if I simply attack them.

  3. The question I have is: What are your goals? What are you _more important_ values? If your moral code is delivering success in what is most important to you (perhaps it is a reward beyond this world), then it is worthwhile even if viewed as flawed by some others. You have to decide if that greater goal is worth scaring others away.

  4. “Morality isn’t a hard thing to measure, doing bad things is quite easy to get feedback from: Does what you do hard someone? If yes, then you’re doing something immoral.”

    such a childish black/white notion of morality is typical of religious extremists. e.g. “God gave us this land, and that is the end of the discussion”

    It is a good think that guys like you Sense or Mark Shuttleworth bring some balance to the world of open source. otherwise it would be just a fringe movement for enlightened, morally superior beings, and not for human beings 🙂

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