Monday, October 1, 2012

"Do The Right Thing"

We are asked constantly to do the right thing. But is there ever any truly exactly right thing? Instead of "Do the right thing," it seems like it is more like "Do the best thing in a timely manner based on your limited ability to gather data on the situation."

There is a constant barrage of opposing forces acting on us, with some of the most basic being the need to balance feeding ourselves and our families and keeping ourselves and our families sheltered while not doing any harm to the environment or to others. So we can't steal or take advantage of or abuse the environment to meet those needs. But where is the line that guides the choices we make? We don't really know how close we are to not meeting our needs at any given moment and we really do not know our impact on others or the environment.

And example of this is clothing choices. We try to keep a basic set of standard things we use daily and a few special things for a special occasion. But we don't know when the jeans zipper is going to crap out on us or when the seam on the armpit of the shirt is going to split open, so we try to keep a buffer in our drawers and closets. But we are blissfully unaware of how our choice of where to buy those jeans or that shirt affects the environment or people out there. Is there really a significant difference in that organic unbleached naturally dyed cotton shirt and the one from the chain store made in China, or is it just marketing to justify a bigger price that will cause the budget to be jeopardized?  If we suddenly removed all our manufacturing from certain countries, harm would probably be done.  Should be do all our shopping at resale?  What about the economy and jobs then?

Or take the demands on your time. A friend is lonesome and want you to come over and do a project but your spouse expect you to have dinner. Can you really know if the friend is truly lonesome or just bored and maybe your spouse is just expecting dinner because that is normal but woudl truly welcome an evening to spend iwth his or her own friends. Do we take the time to gather the data, time that we could spend on other things like vacuuming or making the gorcery list, or do we assume motive and needs and do our best to guess what is best for everyone? If you spent all evening trying assess their wants and needs and desires and weighing them, the evening is gone before anyone gets satisfied. What if you yourself has just had a really tiring stressful day and your need to just relax and read a book trumps the need of your firend for company or the need of your spouse for a dinner out?

The right thing. For the situation. Based on limited date. In a timely manner.

It's a wonder we get anything done or make an choices under those constraints, but on the other hand, we can't belabor the deciding. In the end, the timely part of the equation might be the one that is the most significant. Better to just chose and move on and not fret or question. Better to do a sorta kinda part right thing than to do nthing at all while trying to choose the best right thing, right?

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