EMMA'S NOTES #32

On explanations vs. excuses

🙋🏼‍♀️ Dearest you,

Almost all behavior can be explained.

If you take a big dose of empathy and zoom out, almost all behavior can be reasoned back to universal laws of humanity such as everybody wants to be loved and feel understood, everybody wants to feel like they are a part of a group, people can do weird things when they are scared, we all get hurt along the way, etc.

It's a mistake to confuse an explanation for certain behavior as an excuse for it, however. The mere fact that behavior is understandable, doesn't mean it's justified.

A similar confusion comes into play when the importance of intentions gets mixed in the conversation. Some people tend to excuse behavior based on the intention preceding that behavior. Intentions don't change the ethical value of an action, however.

You can do bad things with good intentions and good things with bad intentions. I do believe that intentions matter because they tell a lot about a person's values. Actions say even more, however, as the worth of values increases exponentially when you act in accordance with them.

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