Friday, 9 May 2008

Would you - III

(Previously: Would you part I and part II)

After the introspection, I find myself inconsistent and irrational. For instance,
  • I would like to donate part of my fortune (II.5). However I am strongly against giving alms to any beggar (I.5).
  • Someone would not give way even when the vehicle behind honks (I.3), but he would connive with colleagues while not accepting bribe himself (II.3).
  • Someone would donate a part of lottery earnings (II.5.1), but she would not accept that extra earnings are also windfall (II.5.4).
  • Someone may hope to elect unpopular candidate (II.9), but may not choose solar energy (II.10) or may not switch foods (II.8). Yet each one of that set is a vote against a convenient choice.
  • I would not require another Rs 100 note (II.4), a beggar will be much better off with it, but I may not pick it up to pass it to him. If I am well off than average person on road, should I let others pick the note lying on road, or should I pick it up and donate it (II.5)?
  • I may want to donate a part of my fortune for social cause. How do I make sure it reaches its intended recipients (II.7)? How do I justify deliberate redistribution of wealth (I.5,6,7,8 II.1,4,5,6,7) in case it reaches wrong recipients?
Won't free markets work better than any deliberate redistribution of wealth? Why should I push my opinion strongly if I believe in free markets, and if I accept that the other person is free to believe otherwise (and both can be correct)?

I don't know. I wish I had answers that didn't prompt more questions. I would like to know whether you have thought on these lines, and if you too are short of answers.

Reasons for this apparent inconsistency, I feel are a combination of the following
  1. The questions described above are not standalone example of single phenomenon. Saving someone, saving a beautiful person, paying from your pocket and not hurting your arch-rival are a package in single question. It will be very difficult to frame such impartial questions and to answer them honestly.
  2. There is inherent limit we set to our deeds. For example - would you kill someone for Rs 100? Rs 1 lac? Rs 100 cr? for survival?
  3. We prioritize among money, sex, relations, ideas, recognition, self-actualization etc differently. Not only we see others' priorities as irrational, we ourselves are guided by different priorities at different situations.
All this effort is not to point inconsistencies in our thinking (there might even not be any and I am no one to do so). It is to make one think about self and his/her choices, to make him/her introspect.

1 comment:

apratim said...

great series of posts ... too bad i did not read them earlier ... but then its 'better late than never' i guess ...

you have raised some very valid questions ... questions that would make anyone sit up and take notice ... and think about mundane, everyday incidents which they would otherwise dismiss as trivial ... and however much of an idealist i think i am, i still don't have unequivocal answers ...

great job!