Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character. – Albert Einstein
What does that mean?
To me, this talks of acquiescence to greater and greater ills. Weakness in attitude: attitude towards what? The second half, speaking of character, points to the weakness being in moral attitude.
But how does this weakness apply to character? My view is that the weakness in attitude means that you don’t really care. “That’s not too bad.” “It isn’t like it was (insert whatever the greatest evil for that action is).” Do you see the pattern?
It’s a first step down a slippery slope. How firm is the line you have drawn? Will it move as you become desensitized to the lesser form? If so, it will likely become a problem in time. Given our presupposition of moral weakness, the weakness of character will surely follow.
Why is character important?
Character, in this sense, is often described moral or ethical strength, as well as a person’s reputation (presumed to be a positive). If the attitudes of a person are weak, what will the person allow to happen, as opposed to a person with strong moral attitude?
As an example, “he only threw a rock at a snake, it isn’t like he kicked the dog, or hit his brother.” That said, in some parts of the planet, a snake would consider itself lucky to get away with nothing more than a rock hurled in it’s direction.
I used this as a starter, to begin the argument that you have to draw the line somewhere. Most people I know wouldn’t be too upset at chasing off a snake. However, most of them WOULD be upset if someone kicked a dog or hit another person. Where do you draw the line?
It might depend on how dangerous the snakes in your area are, or how dangerous the dogs are. In many ways, character in general, and good character in specific, are locally defined. In rural areas, where dogs and snakes can represent a real and present danger, they will likely draw the line in a different place than a city dweller, who may have snakes or dogs for pets.
How does this become a weakness of attitude? If you have a clearly drawn line, then there is no weakness. However, many people will slide a little, then a little more. In that, there is weakness. And the slide, which started with the weakness in attitude towards a moral issue, has become a weakness in character.
Where can I apply this in my life?
It helps if you have a moral compass. Not that I mean that you have to follow any particular religion, but that you have a very firm idea of where the lines are, and that you are unwilling to just let things slide. If that’s the case, you have little to fear. If you just go with the flow, depending on which group of friends you’re with, or who you think might be watching, that could be a problem.
Do you make excuses – Oh, I am just a little stressed, feeling a little bad, I just need a little pick-me-up? Does a little become a bit more, and then a lot? If your attitude toward a moral issue is weak, soon too shall your character. Does that make more sense now?
I would like to note that it’s not only you, in your own internal dialogue that is in danger. The “enabler” of a co-dependent or overly protective relationship is also someone who has this problem. Instead of taking a stand, showing some (good) character, they let it slide.
And slide some more. They make excuses, and put off dealing with the problem. In all likelihood, that’s going to grow to become a real problem, a moral problem and a character problem, until such a time as the issue is addressed.
Eating too much chocolate, that’s not a moral issue, is it? I mean, it’s just an Oreo. Or two. Three at the most. With some M&M’s on the side. Really, I can stop any time I want…
From: Twitter, @TheQuoteToday
confirmed at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins148841.html
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