That’s not a good reason!

This is just a rambling exploration of some topics that have been on my mind. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic if you have any!

Exploring Good Reasons

What are good reasons for doing something? Valid reasons? Healthy reasons?

I am guessing all of these are based on individual values, more or less.  If I value the opinion of others, I am going to be more likely to say that doing something because I know that so-and-so will think highly of me is a good/healthy/valid reason to do something.  If I value doing what makes me feel good, I assume that would impact my criteria for defining good/healthy/valid.

A Christian may use the Bible or prayer to help determine a course of action.  A good/valid/healthy reason for giving to the poor may simply be because the Bible says to do so.  On the other hand, someone may view that same decision as a “bad” decision because they live by the phrase “give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for his life.”  So perhaps a good decision would be to get involved with an organization that helps homeless men develop skills to obtain a job.

Reasons to go to church could range from going to worship, going to save face, going to follow through on a commitment, going for the social interaction, going as a learning experience. Which of those are “good or bad”?

Some Other Reasons:

If you were a good daughter you would do your chores.
If you were a good Christian you would go to church.
If you cared about your family you would make dinner.
If you love me, you’ll have sex with me.
If you care about your health, you’ll stop smoking.
If you value your commitment to your job you’ll work late.
If you value your commitment to your family you’ll come home at 5pm.
If you don’t want to get arrested, you’ll put some pants on.

I am going to do my chores because I am a member of the family and we share responsibilities.
I am going to do my chores to avoid making my dad mad.
I am going to see the movie because I want to.
I am going to see the movie because my friends all want me to and I don’t want to disappoint them.
I am going to try smoking because it’s cool looking.
I am going to try smoking because I like trying new experiences.
I am going to try smoking because I hear lung cancer is pretty fun.
I am not going to see the movie because it costs too much.
I am eating dinner because I am hungry.
I am wearing pants because it is cold outside.
I am wearing pants because public nudity is against the law.
I am wearing pants because public nudity makes other people uncomfortable.

Exploring Manipulation

So… what is manipulation? And is it “bad” to manipulate other people?  Are there times when manipulation is justified? (see this article for an interesting discussion of that question) What if the thing you are trying to get them to do will ultimately be beneficial for them?  Are you the one who gets to decide what is beneficial?  Are some things just objectively beneficial?

manipulate: verb, control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously

All marketing is manipulative (an attempt to influence a person to purchase a good or service), however is marketing that touches on fears or insecurities somehow worse than other forms of marketing?  If the people creating the advertisements genuinely believe that their product will improve the lives of their customers, is the manipulation justifiable?

At the end of the day, aren’t we all constantly attempt to manipulate/control/influence the things, events, and people around us?  And even ourselves?

Reason Equation

“What are the reasons for which people do things? A common answer is ‘the pairing of a desire and a belief within the agent’.” (from this webpage)

I desire to avoid conflict and I believe that going along with what other people say will allow me to avoid conflict.

I desire a promotion at work and I believe working late will help me to achieve that.
I desire a promotion at work, however I don’t believe that working late will impact that.

I desire my own emotional stability and I believe that attending this event will not be helpful for that.
I desire to avoid triggers, and I believe this event will contain triggers.
I desire for my friend to feel loved, and I believe attending this event will help her to feel loved.
I desire for my friend to feel loved, and I believe she will know I love her even if I don’t go to this event.
I desire to know what all the fuss is about, and I believe I will find out sooner if I go to this event.
I desire personal growth, and I believe that going to this event even though I don’t want to could be helpful for that.
What desires are prioritized?  What beliefs have the biggest basis in reality? What desires and beliefs align with one another? What is the ultimate decision?

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That’s not a good reason!

One thought on “That’s not a good reason!

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