Truth is beauty say some. Health is happiness say others. I have for years sort of gone along with Hume and Smith and sided with the Utilitarians and tried to apply those kinds of concepts to them and their kind in the form of kindness. That is, intellectually at least, to treat other people better than I treat myself. That’s a low bar you might claim because I don’t treat myself particularly well.
The Utilitarians claimed they were seeking the greatest happiness for the greatest number. That’s okay for a brief statement, but as with all definitions, it doesn’t go far, and certainly in the case of kindness not far enough. If we are to be kind, must it be limited to those with whom we interact or must it be granted to all humankind, and can we include our personal pets? If we are to be kind to all humanity must that include the as yet unborn? Does it include those who won’t be born for ten thousand years? If humanity is approximately halfway through its population journey, then we have about a hundred billion people yet to offer our kindness to. Is that a realistic use of our time and adaptive energy?
Can’t we just all get along? Apparently not, and I can’t even decide what truth, beauty health or happiness really are. Can you?