Reality is the Only Thing That Matters
Kazzy asked me about something going on in his school:
…what are your thoughts on such a practice? Is it a good business practice? A moral one? An ethical one?
I like is-this-a-good-practice questions. I try to avoid is-this-moral ones.
It’s not that I don’t like considering morality. It’s that I love it too much. The Blog of Vikram’s Past involved too many discussions of what should be. And, at times, I still helplessly indulge my need to judge.
But I know it is wrong.
Whatever is going on in this world is going on. Endorsing the notion that people shouldn’t steal does nothing to stop theft here on this actual planet.
But it’s also worse than that. Judging people for stealing directs us away from what we can do. It absolves us of the need to act.
This doesn’t mean we ignore stealing or what’s going on in Kazzy’s school. But it does mean we ask different questions. Instead of “Is this a moral practice?” we ask
Given that this is happening right now, what can I, personally, do about it?
Perhaps the answer is nothing. But you should spend five timed minutes in a distraction-free setting thinking about what you can do. If you can’t do anything, maybe you should use your brain to think about something else in recognition of the fact that your thoughts on the topic, however accurate or insightful, don’t matter.
“Is this moral” seems like an important question, but it almost always functions to give ourselves an out from having to do anything. It takes us away from the only world that matters: this one.