"Having Your Own Ethics is Lonely" is one of those posts that's been prompting people to comment long after it was written back in October of last year. Yesterday there was a very reflective comment from a reader who largely built out his own ethics, but is starting to realize it can kind of alienate you from other people to some extent. He was reflecting on what he ought to do going forwards.
Here's my reply -
There’s no easy answer to this, unfortunately. The more if you differ from mainstream ethics and viewpoints, the more it’s easy to lose touch with how other people think and thus it becomes harder to connect with people. There’s ways to counter-balance this to some extent, but there is a definite tradeoff you’re making. You might consider checking out Plato’s Allegory of the Cave if you’ve never seen it before – if you show someone that their view of the world is wrong and stunted, you’re going to get some serious backlash.
That said, it depends on where you’re at. There are ambitious, enterprising, free-thinking people in the world. They’re rare and they tend to be very busy, but with persistence and outreach and time, you’ll be able to meet and connect with a lot of people like that.
One last thought -
“You just want everyone to be perfect according to your own definitions about things.”
That’s a pretty sure path to misery, since the vast majority of people will never live up to your standards if your standards are set high. I used to be constantly disappointed that most people don’t even try in life, until I started trying to hold people to my standards a lot less. People are how they are, and that’s how things are. Try to find common ground with people, and learn and connect and do good things with them if possible. If none of that is to be had, then just keep it cordial.
Anyways, yes, the enterprising path is hard and lonely a lot of the times. How much it suits you to walk it is a very personal decision with no right answer. I wouldn’t wish the path I’m walking on a best friend or a worst enemy, since it’s brutal sometimes. But I think it’s worth it. How much do you want? Are you willing to pay the price, even when it’s heavy? It’s a very personal decision, there’s no right answers here.
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