You could easily get the impression that my last post is an encouragement for people to be unkind. That’s not my intent. I believe that a reasonable rule for life would be to err on the side of kindness. This belief is not based on dogma – it’s based on science.

Kindness is a good idea because it works. Most often, acts of kindness improve your life and the lives of those you come in contact with. This is partly because your acts of kindness signal to those around you that you are a person who cares about others and that you will help rather than hinder. It’s such a good idea that humans appear to have evolved to take pleasure helping others nearly as much as helping ourselves.

It is nearly instinctive for us to treat others as we would like to be treated. However, this is not a complete strategy. Altruism inevitably leads not to world peace and universal brotherhood, but freeloading, dependence and disappointment. Any idea can be taken to its illogical extreme and this one is no different. One of the best strategies is to cooperate first and then do unto others as they do unto you. Put another way, be kind without being a sucker. Still, it’s probably better to be a bit of a sucker than a bit of a dick.

Heaping disrespect on ideas that are incorrect is not the same thing as heaping disrespect on the person espousing such views. If you can’t smile and joke while you point out the flawed views of others, you probably shouldn’t. If you are name-calling and trading insults, you’re hurting; not helping. Making someone feel silly is fine. Making them sad is just mean.

Published by Brutus Feo, Heretic

Iconoclast, philosopher, scientist, nonconformist, writer and artist.

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