Friday, August 17, 2007

The ethic of reciprocity

I have been on vacation and thinking deeply about a lot of things recently, about my present, my past and my future. Somehow in spite of all the happenings around me and in my head, or maybe because of them, I have not had the urge to write recently. I will be writing about some of the things going on in my head.

My friend C and I have been through a lot together. Even now that we don't live in the same city anymore, we talk regularly on the phone and share most of our secrets. We are so different that I would not have believed that we would remain friends.

C doesn't trust anyone. It doesn't matter who you are, make a "misstep" and she doesn't give you a chance to explain, you are just cut off or harshly judged. We argue about that a lot. As much as I love C, I know she is the type of person who will always look out for number one. That has happened many times even towards me. I have often wondered what happened in her past to make her like that.

Mr. K was a married man when we were students who had asked C out. She told me that he had taken her out a few times, I knew that he called her sometimes, but she told me he was just her friend and I believed her because I could be friends with a married man, but I would never knowingly have a relationship with one. Besides, everyone knew that Mr. K had another girlfriend.

A mutual male friend of Cs and mine, Chima once told me I was just being naive and thought that everyone was like myself when the subject of C and Mr. K came up, and when I said "they are just friends".

Chima cheats on his wife.

Some random thoughts in my head:

Are we untrusting because we are untrustworthy, or are we untrustworthy because we are untrusting?
Are we harsh and critical because we have been harshly criticised, or are we harshly criticised because we are harsh and critical?
Are we unloving because we are unlovable, or are we unlovable because we are unloving?
Could "do onto other as you would be done by" have a more pertinent potential positive effect on our lives, christianity apart?

My own opinion is, yes. Living by The Golden Rule can have a positive effect on your life even if you are not a Christian.

Read more about the ethic of reciprocity here.


Jaycee said...

hmmm...the ethic of reciprocity is a veyr important concept...takes time to think abt it too, but I loved the way you drew your conclusion in this post.

Lovely post!

uknaija said...

Chima cheating on his wife doent mean C isn't "just friends" wuth the man does it?

Marin said...

Thanks for you comments, jaycee.

Uknaija, you are right, but my point is that because Chima is the type of person who cheats on his wife, he'll never be able to believe that someone else can just be friends.
I chose to believe C and I will never know if what I believed was wrong. But Chima will always believe the worst of other people because he is untrustworthy himself.


The concept of reciprocity is so important to all kinds of relationships on an individual and social level.

However, experience has taught me that many people do not practice this rule. So, as much as it is a guiding principle, I am not surprised when others do not exhibit this attribute.

I hope your girl is not sleeping with the married man and I wish Chima would stop cheating on his wife. He probably needs to do a personal structural adjustment program and learn how to be a better person for himself and all those around him.

joicee said...

Hi marin,
I haven´t read your posts yet. Just found that you are also living in germany.... yay.... so now that makes two of us.

See you later in Blogville.

BLOG WATCH!!!! Don't forget to give credit if you borrow anything from this blog.