Humanity’s history is littered with atrocities. People can very horrible to each other.
When people believe that they are right and have the moral high ground there is the potential for horrible acts.
Wars are carried out as each side believes that they are right and justified in their actions. This is the same in every disagreement or conflict. There are always two sides to every story.
A great example of how, when people believe they are right, they can be cruel to those they believe are bad, is the Stanford Prison Experiment.
The Stanford Prison Experiment was a social psychology experiment that attempted to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers. Student volunteers were randomly assigned to be either “guards” or “prisoners” in a mock prison. Very quickly they embraced their given roles. Some guards enforced authoritarian measures and began subjecting some prisoners to psychological torture. The experiment was ended short after only 6 days.
You don’t want to be the “bad guy”!
Even if someone believes they are right, their actions may be very wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right! A famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi perfectly sums it up:
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind”
Recently I heard the question, would you rather be right or happy?
This question was being discussed and someone’s answer was “I would be happy if I’m right”. Could their happiness due to being right have the potential that someone is wrong and sad? While no situation is probably that clear cut, we have all met people who have to be right and we might not have the happiest memories of those people.
Could you ever be truly happy if it is at the expense of upsetting others?
I prefer to think of the question as, would you rather be right or at peace. In my post The Limitations of Happiness I questioned whether we should be happy or at peace. I believe this is very much the same situation.
In any disagreement we could invest a great amount of time, energy and possibly far more trying to be right but would the world be a better place if we spent all that time and energy working toward being at peace within ourselves.
- Hurt people, hurt people
- Hate breeds more hate
- Peace will set us all free
Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey