The character traits that define us as individuals are the very ones that also distinguish us, and there’s an endless list of adjectives that describes our traits, good and bad, and we are all capable of both. To many the image of being in good character is paramount and they consistently strive to maintain their squeaky clean reputation. They’re the good Samaritans, the boy scout who helps the old lady with her groceries, the friendly neighbour who helps you shovel your driveway. They feel good being the good-deed doers, and the world needs them because they restore our faith in human kindness.
By contrast, there are those who feel no such ‘kindness’ to the world. They have a singular focus and it centers around them, their creature comforts, their popularity, and reputation matters little, as long as they have what they want. Now these are not stupid people because they know how they are perceived by others is integral to their mission. Without the buy-in of the public they cannot achieve their ultimate goal of self indulgence so they master the art of manipulating others to ‘see things their way’. And if that doesn’t work they just blatantly lie because, it’s not a lie if they really believe it. At the end of the day it comes down to their character traits and how much or how little shame they have.
The waiter who offers to clear a colleagues table on the pretense of helping out then he pockets the tip. The dog walker who ‘looks away’ and appears not to notice their pets ‘deposit’ to avoid having to clean it up (ok, ok, a minor infraction, but this one really cheeses me off) The one who steals, the one who lies, the one who intimidates, all with the goal of getting what they want, because their satisfaction is the ultimate goal and their reputation matters little. I’d like to believe these flaws in their character are learned because it would be hard to accept that we are born with such damaged character.
Watching the news recently I was astonished by a story about US President Trump taking excerpts of Doctor Faucis’ statements with respect to the handling of the global pandemic by federal public health officials, and twisting the words to make it look like a compliment to his presidency. (It was this that prompted my topic for this blog) The man has no shame and less character. Now granted, some would say there’s no such thing as an honest politician but to blatantly plagiarize anothers comments to build a political reputation? How desperate are you for a compliment? And more over, how stupid do you think your public are?He points the finger of blame at everyone but himself, and takes credit for everything positive whether he’s the maker of it or not. (He is a cockroach, and as we all know cockroaches are resilient creatures. You can beat them with your shoe but they simply will…not…die!) If he can be so duplicitous in the bold face of the public, just imagine how shifty he likely is in private, i.e. what kind of character is behind the mask?
Character by official definition is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual” but I believe it should include “the behaviours one displays when no one is looking” because that’s when a persons true character is revealed.