Being cruel to be kind

Question of Today August 2, 2011

Have you ever had to be “cruel to be kind”? How did you feel about that?

I guess I don’t see it that way.

To me being cruel is causing pain and suffering in another unnecessarily.

If the intention is to cause pain to produce some benefit, then that isn’t cruelty to me.

But if that is what you are referring to, yes I have done it, many times; mostly to myself.
Many of them resetting dislocated joints (fingers mostly).
Most days when I get up my back is so sore that I can barely touch my knees, but I have learned that if I just go through the pain, and gently but firmly go a little further each time, side to side, that after a minute or so I have my fingers on the floor, then my knuckles.
When out cycling, I have learned that one can go through the pain of breathing and the anaerobic screaming of the thighs, and just keep on peddling, and after a while the pain goes away, and distance is being covered rapidly.

So many other examples, at so many other levels….

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

I see it somewhat differently.
These days, ideas like right and wrong don’t have much meaning for me.

For me, it is all about choices and consequences.

There may be short term dangers in speaking out, but the long term dangers of not speaking out and acting are even worse. Being able to think through likely consequences a hundred or a thousand years out, gives a very different perspective to choices, rather than simply focusing on the immediate consequences.

Balancing the cumulative impacts of chains of consequence over time gives one a very different perspective.

So for me, it isn’t about doing the right thing, it is about doing what works, for everyone, long term.

[followed by]

Hi Andrew

I still find myself uncertain of what you mean.

I usually find that the term “the ends justifies the means” is used as a cover for callous brutality serving very short term thinking (which is, in my understanding, rarely, if ever, justified). Certainly, sometimes harsh action is required.

It seems to me that reality usually provides us with options that allow us to keep ends and means substantially aligned; and that claims to the contrary usually have ulterior motives (usually related to power and control, often stemming from a childhood filled with coercion and light on compassion).

Can you put a few more words around what you are trying to communicate (call me slow if you like 😉 ).

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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