Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How can one respect another's life choices?

  1. Sep 24, 2005 #1
    Do you ever seriously consider substituting someone else's vital experiences for your own, especially with a person who differs significantly from you?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2005 #2
    .... What?
  4. Sep 24, 2005 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I (temporarily) adopt other people's beliefs on a regular basis; it's just a normal part of relating to and communicating with other people for me. I've done it more extensively with my parents and grandparents to try to better understand them and our relationships.
    Not sure what you mean by 'vital experiences'? I put myself in imaginary situations in order to understand what kind of impact some event may have on a person - going through the emotions, thought processes, etc. - is that what you mean? I do that occassionally with real people and habitually with fictional characters (when writing). It's probably one of the most natural and comfortable things in the world for me. :smile:
  5. Sep 25, 2005 #4
    Yes, I have done that many times and all of my stories are famous, especially the last episode of "Me and Michael Johnson" :confused:
  6. Sep 25, 2005 #5
    I'm fairly comfortable presently, being a well-off American citizen. But can I ever know of the extreme poverty the the majority worldwide suffer, the anguish and sociopathy the person on death row feels, or the abandonment so many experience at the end of their life in most nursing homes. This isn't "bleeding heart" liberalism if one makes an effort to connect with the supernatural concern that relates us all. Can I even appreciate what changes my own life holds for me, which extreme changes I may undergo in my own time, and whether I can bear looking back or ahead to my fate?

    I feel as though I am privy to having lived several lifetimes and anticipate a few more. I have survived the lure of drugs, the cruelty of mental illness, and the death of my parents. Empathy guides me in relating to those whom I can help to some small degree, and rewards me with hope for all.

    Thanks for your honest-tea, rosewater.
  7. Sep 25, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    No. What kind of fool feels he can live the life of someone he isn't? Sure they say "put yourself in their shoes" but how can that really be possible unless we do it in the utmost superficial sense? We know nothing about their situation other then the part we're trying to focus on (plus of course, we can't even imagine pulling in all the externalities of their life).
  8. Sep 25, 2005 #7
    How inaccurate or misinterpreted, then, is our judgement of another individual where critical insight is due?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook