The Dilemma of the Kind Person
Post from July 4, 2016 (↻ June 6, 2021), filed under Philosophy.
Imagine a fine human being who has a laudable goal. She wants to become a genuinely, cordially, most truly kind person. So she works on her objective, looks into and explores herself, discusses and brainstorms with others, learns from experts, reads and studies, carefully monitors her progress, until one day, after years of effort, she is such a phenomenally kind person that she has, unknowingly but matter-of-factly, become the kindest person in the whole world.
Unfortunately, then, with her wonderful development comes a big surprise: Our heroine finds that everyone, every single person, has somehow become rude. With her growing kinder and kinder, everyone else, in comparison, turned ruder and ruder. The dream she fulfilled of growing herself into a beautifully kind person has also manifested as a nightmare.
❧ Yet what has happened, mustn’t there be more to this—after all, our kind friend has surely not learned for naught? (And, most likely, someone must have brought this dilemma up before? Who?) But all I wish to hint at with this story of the kind person is something I could so far vaguely feel but not entirely grasp: how what drives our growth may only shift, not diminish, the challenges we’re facing. One more reason for why philosophy is so, fruscinating.
Check out my much more plain views on self-development by getting a copy of How to Work on Oneself.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
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Perhaps my most interesting book: 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer (2013). During my time in the States I started trying everything. Everything. Then I noticed that wasn’t only fun, it was also useful. Available at Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.
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