I used to think that any person I encountered might turn out to have all kinds of things: he could be a thief, a boor, a fraud. I assumed, if that was the case, that this was the result of his upbringing, or that my encounter with them was simply a test of my spirit.
Of course, these aren’t the kinds of people I want around me. I want to know completely different people — people for whom the ideas of honesty, decency, honour and conscience have a real meaning.
Probably, a lot of people are too busy with the troubles of daily life to spend too much time pondering things like this. It’s probably comforting for most people to think that none of those with whom we associate with have major negative qualities. But that’s delusion. You might have a lot yourself, and your partner might as well. The fact is, even a relationship between two people who both have major negative characteristics could, for them, be loving and long-lasting — the point is that if people’s values and attitudes coincide even when others find them wrong, they can be happy together.
What worries me most are those people who don’t know what it means to keep their word. There seem to be a lot of people out there who think that at the basis of their conscience there should only be a rule along the lines of ’I’ll try not to lie, if I can’t then I’ll just keep silent’, and they make for sad reflections of humanity. Having a sense of morality is seriously important. If a person can’t comprehend basic moral categories, then they won’t be able to control themselves or evaluate their actions.
Psychology can, in theory, offer an explanation for any human behaviour. In terms of looking to justify one’s immoral actions, the science is readily available. If a person has innumerable sexual relationships, if they manipulate others and avoid responsibility, then you’ll hear that they were unloved as a child, they had complicated relations with their parents, they didn’t get enough attention, and so on.
But here’s the thing: If that person is now an adult, why can’t they correct their own behaviour? Why can’t they ’bring themselves up’? Why can’t they find a sense of self-awareness? People can always find a justification for the hurt they inflict on others, but more often than not they can still see the effect of what they’re doing. If a person has a healthy mind, they should be able to analyse things. Even if some unfamiliar force emerging from the depths of a person’s mind is telling them to use someone for their own pleasure, they can still understand, see, feel that what they are doing is wrong. But they prefer to bury these doubts in a distant corner of their mind, and instead find a justification.
When a person is ruled by such base feelings and values (money at any price, pleasure at any price, the indulgence of each and every whim), you can hardly call them a decent person.
Psychology teaches us that the id takes control over the ego when the super-ego is lacking. The ego comprehends and satisfies the subconscious desires and needs of the id with the help of the super-ego. The presence of all three in a person’s psychological make-up is said to complete them, to make them a whole, fully realised personality. In the opposite case, of course, a person is ’incomplete’ and unable to realise their potential.
Neither intellect nor education on their own can guarantee that a person will hold high moral values. These values are formed by a combination of a person’s innate purity and their sense of their own self-worth, which can only be obtained by constant efforts to develop as a person. The presence of such values mean a person is not simply a living being, but a person. Decency, respect for others and for oneself, strength of will and of the spirit, conscience — all of these things make a person pure and holy.
Such people have no need to live and work alongside those with no moral compass. The latter will never understand the former, and vice versa.
Choose to be alongside only those people who share your values — that’s the only way to be happy.