Tuesday, May 13, 2008

yay for being a contributor.
i just thought that i would share my first ethical dilemma over the summer.
see, i worked at this place helping someone move furniture for two days, with precisely the same schedule for each.  on saturday (the first day), as i was coming into the parking lot, perhaps slightly behind time or at least in a hurry, a man pulled up and took the place which i was going for.  in fact, i had just stopped to pull into it as he drove up.  i went to the next lot, found a place, and everything was fine.  but the next day, i found myself in a situation to be friendly and "let him out."  but seeing the now-familiar yellow mustang and accompanying man in tacky sunglasses made me pause before doing a fairly simple deed.  without giving it too much thought, i didnt let him out and gave myself the fast road.
now the dilemma i had, after the act, was the obligation to act... was i giving the man a moral reprimand for poor parking lot courtesy, or was i just getting revenge on what seemed like a (fill in the blank)?  at the brief moment of decision, i liked to think that i was in the former position, acting selflessly but benefiting myself on the side.  however, a brief moment of introspection makes me see that regardless of the man's driving attitude, i was probably just in a mild fit of road anxiousness and wanted to get a bit of revenge and save a few seconds myself in the situation.
now, i dont think there was much harm in this circumstance, granted that i probably won't remember the man for very long, no matter how tacky his sunglasesses and mustang were.  but it does illustrate a predicament that anyone claiming ethical responsibility must face--am i truly acting on ethical principles, or am i deceiving myself with self-serving yet empty rhetoric.

1 comment:

HotLikeAToaster said...

Interesting story, sam!

The question of how to treat complete strangers is a classic dilemma. Does one petty action deserve another one? Some people would be Gandhi-like and simply ignore it and turn the other cheek. "Eye for an eye would make the whole world blind." On the other hand, it feels really crappy to be a doormat, you know? Sometimes you just wanna follow the saying: "Don't get angry, get even." I think I support the second one, because it just feels good, and also is educational for the original person.