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March 24, 2008


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Yes, that makes a whole lot of sense. Not intellectual sense, but feeling sense. I liked what you said.

And I agree, its really ok for other people to like whatever they like, just as long s they don't go telling me (or you) that we should or must like what they like, or that what we like is wrong.

I liked what you said. And I think I'll start liking that other people like what they like, even if they don't always like what I like. But if someone tells me that what I like is wrong, or that what they like is better than what I like, well then I am going to smile and just tell them that I did not ask them to like what I like or to judge what I like, and they should just attend to whatever they like and not worry about what others like.

A year or two ago, there was a woman, an acquaintence of ours in my local area, who began to say that she did not like me. In doing this, she caused some various problems around the community. Many of our mutual friends wondered and started asking her "What did he actually DO that makes you not like him?" She always answered "Nothing. There is nothing that he actually did. I don't know, I just don't feel comfortable about him."

Other people who liked me and had no problem with me then told her that if she had no legitimate or concrete reason to dislike me, then she should look at herself and find out why she had such ill feelings. She indignantly refused and continued on making the alienation and estrangement worse.

After almost two years, at a party, someone finnally told her that she had caused much bad feelings in the community over nothing, and that she had been very wrong to dislike and bad-mouth me for no reason at all, and that she should go and personally apologise to me for all the troubke she had caused.

Finally she began to see that it was all her own probem, and so she left the party and came over to my house and admitted to me that it was no fault of mine. But when she came to see me, she did not really and truly apologise.

Then, oddly, she started to blame others for supposedly exaggerating the whole situation. She still would not take full responsibility for her feelings and tried to put the blame on others as she had done to me before.

So I told her nicely that she did not have to like me if she did not want to, but that she was wrong to try and blame me or others. I told her that she should just live and be satisfied with her likes and dislikes, and if she did not like to feel her ill feelings towards other people (like me), then she should simply let them go and just think about what she does like and attend to that, and not to worry about other people.

She finally went away somewhat relieved, and I think underneath it all she never really disliked me, but rather she felt uncomfortable around me because she was immature and did not understand someone like me, and my very presence was like a mirror reflecting her own negativity, and that made her uncomfortable to be aware of her own ill feelings that were already there in herself and had nothing to do with me.

I don't expect to be socializing with her in the future, but at least now she is off living her own life with her husband and kids, and is not projecting her dislikes upon me (and hopefully not on other people either) anymore.

But Brian, what about the age old argument against moral relativism, against subjective ethics? Don't we need the golden rule in there somewhere?

Adam, I wrote about "believing," not "acting." Ethics involves actions, not beliefs or thoughts. (Is there such a thing as a bad thought? If so, we're all bad.)

I just read about research showing that people whose meaning in life comes from helping others are happier than those who primarily are in the "eat, drink, and be merry" category.

So this means that doing what you like includes acting in accord with the golden rule, because almost everyone feels better when they're helping others to feel better (aside from a few psychopathic sadistic weirdos).

Brian, point taken. But I think there's a fine line between thought and action, the main trait of this line being awareness. Identification with thought leads inevitably to action, while watching thoughts of many forms, including "bad thoughts" is a different thing. To illustrate, W. Bush "likes" protecting the world from terrorists...

You write that evidence shows that those with a less self-centered outlook on life are happier, but does this mean that the majority or a great number of people actually live this way?

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