The Relativity of Kindness

One person being kind to another person usually means the first individual conferring a benefit or a goodness upon another. Many religions have endorsed a moral principle such as “The Golden Rule”, which says “do unto others as you would have done unto you”. Applications of that rule vary depending upon what you would have others doing to you. Suppose someone values privacy and autonomy above all else. Such a person would take it as a kindness to simply be left alone to pursue his/her own interests. For such a person, the Golden Rule would sanction one to simply ignore the concerns of others. But autonomy has its limits. The drowning or starving person surely wants and needs the assistance of others. So, ultimately, kindness is a relative notion. Depending on context, what might seem a kindness to one person, might well be construed as meddling interference by another.

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