I recently wrote a short comment on the morality of using words. I just received a comment from Jim Lukaszewski on how we can get to “decency” in our relationships with others. I thought his ideal of decency is pretty close to a common, cross-cultural understanding of morality, very much like the ideal of “virtue” proposed by Mencius and the behaviors advocated by the Buddha in his noble eightfold way to take in our lives.
In using words, Lukaszewski recommends:
The true test of civility is a commitment to verbal and written communication that are predominantly positive and declarative and behaviors that are simple, sensitive, sensible, constructive, positive, helpful, humble, empathetic and always benefit the recipient more than the giver. Any other pathways lead only to trouble, prolong problems and delay mitigation and resolution. Empathy means positive deeds that speak louder and more constructively than words.
The true test of civility is a commitment to verbal, written communication, deeds and actions that benefit a recipient more than the sender. Here are 39 possible paths that can get you to civility, decency, integrity and trust. Always pick as many as you can, as frequently as you can.
14. Empathy: positive deeds that always speak louder than words
23. Listening: the greatest decency
Remember, the reverse of any of these words, ideas or behaviors only lead to trouble, problems and delayed mitigation and resolution; plus, revictimizing those who have been injured.