Fandango’s Provocative Question #10

This week’s provocative question is about the choices we make and the actions we take.

“What is more important to you, doing the right thing or doing things right?”

To me, these are unrelated questions.

Doing things right is a work kind of question. Doing the right thing is a moral choice. One course of action doesn’t replace the other.

You can do both or neither, depending on the circumstance, but I honestly can’t imagine a situation where doing things right would make doing the right thing impossible.

I literally can’t imagine that as a choice. When would that kind of event occur? Under what circumstances?

17 thoughts on “PROVOCATIVE QUESTION 10: THE CHOICES WE MAKE – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I’ll give you an example of “doing things right” but not “doing the right thing.” Mitch McConnell is, technically speaking, doing things right, at least what is permitted, in his role as Senate Majority leader. It is his “right” to decline to have the Senate vote on a bill he doesn’t support. It was his “right” to block hearings on Obama’s pick for SCOTUS in 2016. But I would argue that he is not doing the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doing “what is permitted” is NOT the same thing as “doing things right.” Correct and right aren’t the same word and don’t mean the same thing. Doing the right thing has moral implications that “doing things right” absolutely does NOT have.

      And “having the right” to do something is not the same as either of the other two questions. You can have the right to sue or fire someone or any one of a million things, but that isn’t either doing the right thing or doing things right. The word “right” means too many things. Are we going to add “Turn right at the next corner” as one more question? Or admitting that someone is right? They all stem from a single root word, but they aren’t the same thing.

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        • Hebrew is built entirely on “roots.” The word for “right” (in Hebrew, closer to “righteous”) is the same root used for “compass” (it points you in the right direction”) and “conscience” for obvious reasons. I think it also refers to some types of laws, but I’m not sure. There is no word for “wrong” — only “not righteous.” “Right” as a direction, is a completely separate word and root. But the single root used for “righteous” that is used for easily a dozen words, each variation is conjugated and pronounced differently though when written, the “root” is obvious (there are three-letter and four-letter “root.” Almost any combination of letters forms some root or other, which is why playing Scrabble in Hebrew becomes a little bit silly. Every combination of letters is a word or a word root.

          We do the same thing in English and probably in all the Romance languages, but in English, we use the identical words pronounced the same way. Which gets confusing even for native speakers because you have to stop and think what that word means in that context And then we have homonyms — Oh cruel fate! — just to make it even more frustrating. It’s no wonder English is so hard to learn.

          Liked by 1 person

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