Caring What Others Think

 Topic: Caring What Others Think

Much like “Never back down,” which we have discussed previously, there is another popular sentiment that bears close examination: That you should always do your own thing and not to care what anyone thinks about it.

Now, if what you are doing is truly benevolent, but maybe a little bit weird, like building models of human organs out of toothpicks, that is one thing. But if your “thing” is smothering babies or kicking puppies, maybe you ought to care what people think about it. Caring what others think is how we can distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Humans are social animals, and we establish behavioral guidelines as a group. We have to care about what our society thinks of us, to make sure we are not hurting anyone.

Of course, some people just kind of suck and you should not care much about what they think of you. So it is a delicate Balance, and you have to be judicious about whose opinions you value. It is also important for one who walks the Path that our actions, our work and hobbies, are doing no harm. If your employer is asking you to scam old people out of their money, maybe find a different job. If your hobby is stabbing strangers or protesting at soldier’s funerals, you are one of those people who suck and you need to re-evaluate your priorities. Try to be a better person.

Society is slowly becoming more progressive in our thinking. Certain behaviors that used to be acceptable, like being racist or sexist, now come with social consequences. You cannot be guaranteed a platform if you express toxic ideas about entire groups of people, and this is a great thing. All this social progress comes about because we started caring what certain other people thought. We listened to other voices, made people more visible, because caring about what different people think is how we learn to be better human beings.

Apart from benevolence and Enlightenment, it is by caring about others’ opinions that we learn to form mutually beneficial relationships. If I do not care what you think, we are probably not friends, but I can say there are several people whose opinions are important to me.

Do you care about the opinions of others? Are you selective about the people whose opinions are important to you?


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