What is Right and What is Wrong?– Article 1.

01 MAY 2023


We are passing through times where we are at a loss to know what is right and what is wrong. To give some examples, is Russia right or Ukraine? Is China right or India in Ladakh? Is Pak. right or India in Kashmir? Not just in politics but in every field, personal and official, the border line between right and wrong is getting overlapped. What was right till yesterday becomes wrong today and vice versa. What one feels absolutely right, the other feels is certainly wrong.

Added to this is the propaganda, aided by use and misuse of media, including social media, to brainwash people that what one says is the only right thing.

Before we judge what is right and what is wrong, we should be clear about the definition of right and wrong. This definition should not be based on opinions because opinions differ. And what is worse, each opinion has got seemingly convincing explanation of why the opinion is what it is. Is there a way to define right and wrong in an objective, non-opinionated way?

For this, we must make the definition based on something other than what we opine i.e., based on something outside of us, outside of all of us and on which all of us readily will agree. There is one such thinking that we have evolved. We think if the definition is based on the receiving system which receives the results of whatever we do, the opinions will vanish largely and we will get a non-opinionated and unbiassed definition, largely acceptable to most, if not all of us.

For example, most of us think telling lies is wrong: Is telling lies wrong in all situations and always? Is telling lies an absolute wrong?

Can we deny that telling a lie at the right place and at the right time, for example, a lie told by the leaders of a nation for the good of the nation, for overall good for most people, is acceptable, and right? For example, – the leaders of a Nation saying we won’t make additional nuclear weapons, but slyly build a few for self-defense against nuclear attack by other Nations that is not in the leader’s control, is indeed telling a lie for the good of the nation and its people. Such instances are necessarily few and far between. Compare this with the rulers of a nation like China, Pak and, the latest addition to this list namely Russia, that tell so many lies not only to the world at large but to its own people, not for the benefit of its people or the people of the world, but for the selfish ends of the rulers /individuals only.

Let us take a few more examples:

Putting the opposition leaders in jail and torturing them only because they are against what the ruling party or leaders are doing, leave alone sudden disappearance of some of these leaders of opposition either in jail or outside, and telling lies that they died because of ‘heart-attack’ are examples of ‘wrong’ or bad lies.

In the family front, hiding an affair between oneself and another, telling a lie that it is not true at all, until bringing a surprise by marrying slyly, is a ‘wrong’ or bad lie. And in the case of institutions, copying in examinations and bringing bad name to the institution and reducing the value of degrees given by such institutions etc. are examples of wrong lies; lies told for selfish ends and against the larger systems with which one is connected are indeed bad lies.

Slightly Underquoting the number of soldiers lost in a war to keep the morale of its people and armed forces up is a right lie but doing the same thing i.e., telling a lie on the number of soldiers dead, for defending the ruling clique that their decision to wage a war against the enemy was the only option available, is wrong.

But how to decide impartially and unbiasedly what is right and what is wrong, and what is a right lie and what is a wrong lie, in any situation in life?

The following steps, in my opinion, are the essential steps in our thinking process we should take, before we come to a decision on what is right and what is wrong, with an unmatched clarity and acceptance of most of us and avoids the pitfall of just one’s or a few people’s opinion of right and wrong.

Step 1: What system is going to receive the results of my decision/action? We can call this the Receiving system whereas ‘I’ am the giving system. Receiving systems are customer systems and giving systems supplier systems. Now-a-days, as the customer has more options than the supplier, the customer has more power, and, to acknowledge this, we call the customer system as a Super System or (SS). As the supplier system has less options to get new customers, they are more dependent on the customer systems and so less powerful. We call the supplier system a sub-system.

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