Paul Nixon's Blog |||

A justification for kindness

As someone wise said:

People aren’t stupid, life is hard.

The basic ideas

How about these controversial / not controversial ideas

  1. Everything that matters in terms of our character, personality, temperament, average levels of happiness, competency and intelligence is normally distributed.
  2. Genetics has more impact than any other factor. Around 50-70% of the difference between individuals’ characteristics is due to heredity.
  3. Change is really hard; our voluntary efforts have to compete with the influence of our family, friends, culture, education, religion, health and life experiences for the remaining 30-50%.

And to add insult to injury

The temperamental and personality traits, and the skills and talents, that we need to overcome our shortcomings, and to strive to be the best version of ourselves, are also normally distributed, mainly down to our genetic makeup and are not very mutable. It’s lack-of-agency turtles all the way down.

To conclude

We are not born equal. We all have a mix of traits, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. No one chooses the bad ones, and to varying degrees, we have only a limited ability to influence and overcome them.

Unfortunately, some people are stupid. Some people are self-motivated, some are not. Some are beautiful, others are not. And so on. Life is hard, but it’s even harder if we blame ourselves and others for things that, in reality, are the result of a lottery we didn’t choose to play.

I’ll let Matt Haig play us out (from The Comfort Book)

We need kindness. We need a way to see the difference between who people are and what they sometimes do.