I am reading this book called “How Good People Make Tough Choices?” And Rushworth Kidder the author makes an excellent point. He says that when we make decisions – a majority of them are not between right and wrong but between right and right. When I examined my decisions or choices, I found it to be correct.
The decisions I make do not usually have a solid line demarcating right and wrong. For example: If somebody stole an iPhone from another person – it is apparently wrong. There is no question in my mind whether that is wrong or right. But let’s say I have an employee at work who has been making mistakes for about six months – now should I let him go or give him another chance?
For most of such cases, there is no correct answer – but the author makes the point that if we at least think about these choices, explore them in more detail our decision would be an informed one as opposed to a gut reaction at that moment.
I am watching the Law and Order old seasons, and they are also of a similar nature like DUI – If you kill somebody while DUI you cannot be charged with murder because you did not know what you were doing. To me, it doesn’t sound right, but the driver genuinely had no intention to kill somebody. These are very tough decisions. And it does not help that society’s view of right an wrong change too. Slavery was ok at some point, it was ok to own people as property but now its not. Polygamy was required at some point for the human population to grow, but now it is not (well, in most cases).
Even obvious scenarios may have may layers underneath them – for example – we all know it is wrong for one person to kill another person – but what if it was in self-defense or to protect your daughter from being raped or your spouse from being abused.
How can we be prepared to deal with such situations then? Well, one could read such books and watch such videos/shows that would exercise that part of the brain and make it aware that there are two sides to a story – sometimes even more. Second, examine your values – what can you live with and what can you not live with? How much of stress can you handle? You may decide to let that employee stay because you don’t want him to lose his job but then are you ready to put in the extra hours of work without any grudge. It is your life, and you have to live it.
Prof. Rao who teaches the Creativity and Personal Master course said that justice for us means revenge, not forgiveness or mercy. We want the person who hurt us to be hurt. Now, if we take an eye for an eye we will all be blind but then again do I have it in me to forgive, be merciful and live fully.