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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

On minding your own business and not being a prick

"Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

***

A: [Religion] it can be psychologically helpful for those who've been through deep trauma. It can provide at minimum, temporary relief.

I only fear that the long-term effects may not be that good. Long-term solutions always require the sober truth, IMO, rather than mind tricks.


Me: While the Truth has value in and of itself, I strongly disagree that the Truth will necessarily provide the best and most permanent relief

Why would the objective truth value of a proposition have an effect on you? What matters is whether you believe it to be true

Here is an analogy:

A has cheated on B, with whom A is in a relationship with, but B does not even suspect that A has cheated.

A has stopped cheating.

If you tell B that A has cheated on him, are you really giving B maximum permanent relief?


B: Well, if you are a friend of B when A was cheating, then perhaps you should tell B, if you know B is someone who wants to know the truth.

If you only know about A's past, and choose to tell B only after A has come 'good', when B did not ask you about it, then you are just a prick, a gossiper and have no right to interfere in their relationship or how they conduct it.

If both A and B are your friends, then perhaps you would have warn A that you would not stand by his/her actions if it disagree with you.

If B asked you, then you should (1) either tell her the truth, (2) ask B to ask A and let them sort it out, (3) tell A to tell B the truth and let them sort it out.

The situation you had given has no permanent relief, unless only A (and whoever A has an affair with) has the truth, and chose not to divulge it.. then both you and B has that relief.

heh heh


Me: What you should do it depends on the weights A and B assign to both truth and happiness, though [informed] guessing is necessarily involved

Meanwhile, I disagree that you are a prick or gossiper if you come clean after someone has gone good.

Revealing a matter pertinent to the relationship may be interference of a sort, but not necessarily negative.


B: Sure you are a prick, if for example, you know someone is ugly.. so do you go and tell that someone he/she is ugly when no one ask you for it?

So what if you know A had cheated. Why would you volunteer to go tell B about it if you were not asked? What has that got to do with you?

Imagine me calling all my customers' wives to tell them what their very 'interesting' husbands are up to. Why? Because I want them to know the truth?

Intercept things when you think they will affect you, big or small picture, for whatever reasons. Sure. Intercept things where it has absolutely nothing to do with you makes you a prick.


Me: This seems to fall into the "mind your own business" school of thought.

So let us consider the following examples:

1) A man is drowning and you save him

Does that make you a prick since it has absolutely nothing to do with you?

Perhaps you disagree, since you are unequivocally helping someone and 'harming' no one.

So let us look at:

2) A robs B, and you help B fight off A and get B's property back.

Does that make you a prick since it has absolutely nothing to do with you?

Perhaps you disagree, since robbery is against the law.

So let us look at:

3) A is about to take advantage of B in a business deal. You help B to see how he is going to be taken advantage of.

Are you a prick for preventing B from being cheated on?

Taking advantage of someone in a business deal is not against the law - it is just dishonest and in bad faith. But just because something is legal does not make it right (or even not-wrong).

Going back to the original example:

0) A has cheated on B, even though both of them are married

Now, a marriage is a form of social contract, and part of the terms of this contract is that both parties are supposed to be faithful to each other.

Of course, if they are into swinging, or this is an open marriage, more power to them - but let us assume that this is not the case.

So A has visited a wrong upon B, but B does not know. By informing B about this, you are helping to redress a wrong which was visited upon him.

Perhaps you argue that the relevant criterion here is not that the issue is none of your business, but that the wrong has already occurred, and that nothing you do can right it. What's past is past.

So let us look at another example:

4) A has taken advantage of B in a business deal. You help B to see how he has been taken advantage of.

Are you a prick for showing B how he has been cheated?

Perhaps you will argue yes, since A can sue B to get his money back. But assume that this is not the case (statutes of limitations, B has moved to a foreign land etc.)

Does B deserve to know what has happened?

These are all different from your example of telling someone he is ugly when your opinion has not been sought - in this case no wrong has been visited upon anyone (arguably you are visiting a wrong on the person).


B: >1) A man is drowning and you save him

Sure it has something to do with you if you care about the person drowning, and that you are right there, or that you know you can save the person. But then again, if you want to help, that is your call too.
This example is a bad one anyway, one is a personal relationship situation, the other is a life and death situation.

>2) A robs B, and you help B fight off A and get B's property back.

Similar case to the drowning one although this time, you might get hurt in the process (of course you also want to tell me that the drowning situation happened in dangerous waters).. This case is happening right there and then while you were present. And if you care about B and that you know you can fight off A, sure go for it. But then again, if you don't, it is your call. Nothing to do with the law, no need to mention it. And again, bad example.
Unless of course the story is that you know A, and that you know A has turn over a new leaf and that he has stop robbing people.. and then, you came to know that B has befriended A. Then you take it upon as if it is your responsibility to mention to B to be careful of her possessions when A is around because A was a robber before. You, then, is a prick. Who asked you to be a judge? Oh oh, is it because you care?

>3) A is about to take advantage of B in a business deal. You help B to see how he >is going to be taken advantage of.

What kind of example is this? Do you know both A and B? If so, sure you can help.
A better example would be... A took advantaged of people in business in the past, but he has changed for the better. And you knew about it. Then, you found out that A is doing a business deal with B, and you told B about A's dishonest past. You, then, is not a prick if you are only friends with B. But a prick, if you are a friend of A's. And a bigger prick, if your 'let the cat out of the bag' moment is not done in front of both of them, who are your friends.

>But just because something is legal does not make it right (or even not-wrong).

Oh like just because you know the secret of someone, it doesn't mean you have to tell someone else about it? Well yes, you don't have to. It is not about truths, and the need to declare it in every situation.

>0) A has cheated on B, even though both of them are married

No, you are not helping anyone but your own idea of an ideal marriage, never mind the contract. And the contract is between them, nothing to do with you. The original story was that A has stopped cheating. The original super short story did not say you tell A that you are going to tell B, which would have been more responsible.. if you want to interfere. The original story did not state that you told the truth in front of both of them, so at least you don't look like a prick while appearing to hold a higher moral grounds instead of telling someone some 'truths' behind someone else's back. The original story did not say B asked you (I know she doesn't know, but it could come up in some casual conversations where the subject is about cheating and that she would like a friend to tell her if something like that happened to her).

If you really want to help redress the wrong in your idea of helping the case. A mature and responsible way would be to firstly tell A (and also how you feel about the whole situation personally and how much burden you are carrying with that 'truth' of yours) that A should tell B about it or rather, he must tell B about it... for you would do it if he doesn't, instead of going to B first, which makes you a prick. This is their marriage, which is about two of them.. not one. By you doing the telling on to B first, you have created more problems in their relationship and communication.

>4) A has taken advantage of B in a business deal. You help B to see how he has >been taken advantage of.

One is a business deal, the other is a relationship. Even this example fail. Because a better example would be - A has taken advantage of B in one business deal in the past, but they are still in business together, doing well perhaps? And that you know about that one dodgy deal and you also know that A has not done it again. You went and tell B about that dodgy deal without informing A of your intention, thus not giving A a chance of explaining himself, come clean or to apologise because of your beckoning. Instead, what you have caused is a lot of distress on B and also pressure on B without knowing how she/he would go on about the information. Would B sue? Would B confront A? If so, how would B do it? Would B base on your information and dissolve her business partnership with A? Would B got on with it? etc etc. And certainly B, even if knowing that A has not cheated on B since, will have apprehensions with any other deals they might have in the future.

Sure, B deserve to know what had happened. But so does A deserve to know your intention of telling on him! The whole demographic of their business partnership, trusts and future dealings might rest heavily on how you want to disclose this information.

Do it like how you do it in your super short story, makes you a prick. Truth is not all that matters when dealing with relationships, especially if the truth is coming from an outsider.


Me: > This example is a bad one anyway, one is a personal relationship
> situation, the other is a life and death situation.

What if A is trying to kill B and you help B? Assume that you do not know either. By helping B are you being a prick and not minding your own business?

Presumably you think that it's alright to not mind your own business in a life and death situation.

> (of course you also want to tell me that the drowning situation happened in
> dangerous waters)..

You do know that rescuing drowning people has its dangers, don't you? They may drag you down and drown you too

>This case is happening right there and then while you were present. And if you
>care about B and that you know you can fight off A, sure go for it.

But by fighting off A, aren't you -not- minding your own business?

If you don't care about B as a person, are you being a prick and not minding your own business?

Should we chastise "good samaritans" who chase down snatch thieves when they do not know the victim?

> But then again, if you don't, it is your call.

Yes, there is arguably no positive duty to help people fight off robbers. But your claim is that you have a negative duty *not* to interfere (i.e. to mind your own business and not be a prick)

> Who asked you to be a judge? Oh oh, is it because you care?

Altruism seems to be a moral evil in your book.

> What kind of example is this? Do you know both A and B? If so, sure you
> can help.

Why are personal relationships so important?

If I give to charity am I a prick for not minding my own business, since I almost certainly don't know any of the people who will benefit?

I assume you agree with this quote:

"A friend is someone who will help you move. A real friend is someone who will help you move a body."

> Oh like just because you know the secret of someone, it doesn't mean you
> have to tell someone else about it? Well yes, you don't have to. It is
> not about truths, and the need to declare it in every situation.

If A is a convicted criminal and has applied for a job, and has ticked "no" in the box "have you ever been convicted of a crime", you presumably think someone who tips off the employer is a prick.

Do you regard whistle-blowers (on corporate misdeeds or otherwise) as pricks? Should they just mind their own business?

How about eyewitnesses to crimes? If they do not know the victims, should they decline to give testimony? If they testify, are they pricks? Should they mind their own business?

> you are not helping anyone but your own idea of an ideal marriage,
> never mind the contract. And the contract is between them, nothing to
> do with you.

If neither of the parties believes that extra-marital is wrong, why would your disclosure of this fact make a difference?

Contrawise, if the party who is cheated believes that it is wrong, if nobody tells him he will never know.

> By you doing the telling on to B first, you have created more problems in their
> relationship and communication.

Besides a very relational view of morality (that morality is dependent not on objective moral criteria, but upon your relationship with the person), your philosophy seems to be "ignorance is bliss"
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