Ha! So many good conversations came from yesterday’s Intention vs Impact post, I thought it warranted a follow-up.
If I read back through it, I can’t help but think “but you’re all about having impact now André, what are you f**king talking about?”.
BUT, to be very open with you, last year I had a very negative impact on a few people (some very close to me) who didn’t really care about my good intentions. And I had the very best of intentions, I can assure you. Like love, and wanting to protect people I cared about from pain. Didn’t go very well.
On the weekend I caught up with someone who I really like, they’re a good person, and they’ve been absolutely lynched lately. Again, good intentions, from a good person, but not the desired impact.
I’m not playing victim. Had I put more care into the impact my actions would have had, had I placed more importance on my impact on others, than on my own TRUTH, and living that truth, I would perhaps have spared myself and others some pain.
But I genuinely look to the intention behind peoples’ actions, and if I think it’s good, I judge that over the impact they might have had on me, or the lack of impact.
Another person I very much value wrote me a strong email this morning pointing out eleven ways why intention sat somewhere between rather useless and outright evil on the scale of things – even the most destructive of humans could have the best intentions IN THEIR LENS.
Which raised the question of good vs evil. Right vs wrong. Black and white.
In truth, I do believe in universal right and wrong. Good and bad. I know that everyone THINKS they’re right, but of course not everyone can be. And I know that trying to define fundamental rights and wrongs is fraught with danger. Hitler thought he was going good for the world, and so, no doubt, does Trump.
They’re wrong 🙂
But what about things like having a healthy planet for our grand-children? A world that cares for those who can’t care for themselves? Surely these are fundamental rights? Human rights?
And we have decided there are human wrongs, at least for the more direct stuff like murder. Not everywhere, but in more cultures than not.
Now I’m quite a judgemental, polarised person. I don’t care what has always been in your culture or who’s in power, I think it’s evil that a girl gets stoned to death for speaking out against sexual abuse by her teacher.
I also think, if not evil, it’s at least wrong and stupid, to be greenlighting a coal mine in this day and age. I don’t care how many jobs it’s going to create, or how many cents you’ll save on energy, we know enough to know it’s not a good thing to do.
I also think it’s wrong to crowdfund your legal fees in defence of ignorant fundamentalist Christian stupidity.
I’m guessing that if I injected a fourth example, it would be keep tracking toward the less black and white territory.
So where do we draw the line? Slippery slopes and rabbit holes aside (or considered!) – should we define more fundamentally good vs bad things? And should that be decided by popular vote, or have Trump/Abbott/Johnson taught us something, and do we need to have the courage to look elsewhere to define these things?
PS. I’ve intentionally used strong and biased language through this post, because that’s kind of what I’m talking about. But I’m well aware it’s my bias!