Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Inferior and Superior People Prt. 2
This week I'm sharing an exchange I had a few years back about Gauging Inferior and Superior People. This is part 2.
Paraphrased: While it's often impossible to avoid undesirable (inferior) people, such as in the workplace, it's best to limit any association with such people as possible.
My response: This is where you lose me. What "undesirable" people do you mean? Undesirable to *us*? Or to society? And what benefit can we give someone we would 'assess' as 'undesirable' if we were not to engage them to change habits that may be harmful to themselves? And if we should fail in that endeavor, does that mean they are any less deserving or worthy of our kindness? In a way, wouldn't it mean they are even MORE deserving of our kindness because they are the ones who need it the most?
I simply don't understand how it is our right or duty to assess others--since that is something we cannot fully do in a meaningful way with confident results. It is an exercise in futility and I believe largely an inappropriate way to spend our time. How another person is treating themselves is only my business if I'm invited, by that person, to help them. If no invitation is offered, then I am intruding where I have no business going.
Yet you charge us with the duty of assessing other human beings--when what we are presented may be one of those moments where an unusual behavior is being displayed, or perhaps they are going through a personal tragedy or trauma--one we know nothing of.
If you were to be assessed by others based on a time when you were displaying a 'totally out of character' behavior, how accurate would that assessment of you be?
On another note--I don't believe that we behave 'out of character' in the true sense of the word, at any time. Whatever we do, it is within us to do. That is not to say that with self-assessment and study of our goals that we can't work to change an aspect of our character.
There's a world of difference between working WITH a person to better understand them to the best of our abilities, and assessing them uninvited. This leads to the trap of believing we can somehow "know better" than they do about what is best for them. We can never be certain, either, in an independent assessment, if we have assessed another person correctly. Unless the sort of intimate communication necessary to understand another is invited, we really have no business assessing anyone but ourselves.