How we reward bad behavior–Our own and Others

model train board in grand central station NYC

When you do something unacceptable that is accepted, that does not mean that what you do is OK.  I see this more and more today and if I lived to be a thousand years I still wouldn’t understand.  

Let me give you an example.   I was at the deli by me apartment last week.  I was waiting my turn in line, like a good Christian, when this guy comes from the back of the deli and stands to my right.  I knew this dick was cutting.  I stepped forward closer to the register.  He made a step up too.  The cashier asks “next?”.  Dick cuts me off and steps up puts his stuff down on the counter.  I immediately look at the cashier and give her my look of “What the fuck?  You going to tell him there is a line of three people that he just cut in front of?”.  No, she too knew that he cut and instead, she looked at me and shamelessly put her head down and started ringing up the sale.  This is rewarding bad behavior.  The guy knew he was cutting, she knew he cut and let it slide.

This is getting worse and worse every day.  Corporations are abusing their power, celebrities act a fool and we glamorize them, governments are working for the wealthy while everyday people are busting their asses, CEO’s lose peoples retirements and not only do they not go to jail, they walk away with a seven figure severance.   We accept it.  We say, “Well, that’s how it works.”  That’s how it works now because we have let it become this way.

“The fact that immorality is rampant throughout the nation doesn’t make it right!” – Billy Graham

People are abused and used all over the world.  People are making clothing for pennies a day and living in horrible conditions, while designers and companies post enormous profits.  We have put a value on human life and it is worth less than a house, a car, a handbag, even a shirt.  The kid that raped the girl behind a dumpster got minimal jail time and his dad defended him.  The dad obviously had been rewarding his bad behavior since the kid was born and still is to this day.  Probably why he did an unthinkable act.

We even reward ourselves for our own bad behavior.  How many times have you retaliated towards a coworker and screwed them over only to justify it with “Well, they started it” or “They deserved it” or just for the simple fact that you don’t like them?  It may not have been a coworker.  It could have even been an innocent stranger on the street but you know you have done this.  You rewarded your bad behavior with your feeling that you did justice.  You reward yourself by telling yourself you did a public service by screwing over someone who “had it coming anyway”.  You feel it’s your job to dish out karma and you should reward yourself for it.  Your bad behavior doesn’t cancel out that persons bad behavior.  It creates a cycle of bad behavior.

What we tolerate is what we reward.  When we accept someones unacceptable behavior whether it be our own, our children’s, societies, our governments, we say it’s OK.  When someone commits a crime and we let them go unpunished.  We are just as guilty as that person.

“I owe my solitude to other people” – Alan Watts

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