Friday, May 29, 2009

Mean People Suck

I think there isn't enough importance placed on niceness in today's society.  There are too many people getting away with snide remarks and put-downs without consequence, not enough children being taught the importance of kindness and generosity, and far too many adults finding success by meanness and greed.  It's exactly as John Steinbeck once said:
"The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second."
Of course, I admit I'm guilty in this particular dilemma.  It's not easy to stay nice, especially in the face of adversity or when gain is just a backstab away.  And for that reason, I am trying not only to improve myself as a good-hearted human being, but give praise to those who truly resemble the best qualities of the human being.  And I would ask everyone to do the same.  The next time someone is courteous and kind towards you, thank them.  Thank them for being good, for being a true human being with a thirst for good works.  Because the first step towards a kinder society is setting up a new order.  One where people who do kind things are rewarded, and people who do wicked things receive there just punishments.  
While I have certain qualms with our current economic system (okay, MANY qualms), it does teach us that people are propelled by reward.  So, if someone has something to gain from being a kinder person, even if it's just the warmth that comes from hearing "Thank you" or "You're so kind", they will try harder to be kind.
 This is an honest question to any reader, when is the last time you explained your disdain for another with, "They're just plain mean" or something in the like?  I have a feeling you have said/ heard more recently, "They're so STUPID" or "They're so annoying".  I tell you what, I'd rather hang out with a nice, stupid, annoying, smelly dude, than a mean, good looking, fresh like spring-roses one.  Because the least excusable human fault, I believe, is meanness.   
And we're all guilty of it.  But we're all capable of things so much greater.  



Christian Li said...

I like this very much. I'm glad you addressed the human propensity to desire rewards in exchange for actions. Now, given a situation where one could choose between doing something kind for someone else and doing something that would benefit himself but either leave the other hanging from the branch or causing the branch to break, the cynic in me still feels that a lot of people (either because of human nature or social conditioning) would choose the latter. And so, I really like what you said about conditioning people to really desire to feel that genuine warmth of a "thank you," because there's nothing better. And I also believe that people can be conditioned to simply feel the warmth for themselves just by doing good, for how many situations are there where one could do something kind for someone anonymously or without the other's knowledge or ability to thank?

leclassiquepop said...

You have far too much hope for mankind.

I guess it's just me being cynical, but I think in the end, it is our instilled bad nature that wins over the good. After all, it takes far more effort to be kind and courteous than rude and selfish.

But I will give you this: it's a nice thing that you see the problem. That reflects on you. Thumbs up.