I was listening to a local show called “speakers Corner” on City TV, a local TV station here in Toronto. The person on screen was talking about how it is more important to be compassionate than it is to be a “nice person.”
Initially I thought this was pure pap, aren’t they the same thing?
However, when you look at it from their angle, the speaker was right. Take for example the “Martha Stewart” model of nice, she appears to be a kind host with her guest’s interests in mind. However, if we observe the motives she is putting forth we see it is her own self-gratification that is at stake, by means of her guests. This is not to say that being nice should make you happy, but it should be the motivation for kindness. I think what the speaker was saying is it is better to be kind by design, rather than as a means to an end.
As a means to an end kindness will always work, unless you are disingenuous. The old saying is “…you catch more flys with honey…”, but what if you are only waiting for the flys to eat the honey, to get at the ring at the bottom of the jar? Extending the metaphor even more, isn’t that the hard way of emptying a jar?