Changing Another Person LO20021

William J. Hobler, Jr (
Sat, 28 Nov 1998 15:41:41 -0500

Replying to LO20007 --

Richard, I said in a prior posting

>>It appears clear to me that we have an obligation to change other people.

And you asked

>OK...from what, to what? And who says who is right?

>From the person's current beliefs and behavior to the changed beliefs and
resultant behavior. Though that may sound tongue in cheek it is not meant
to be so. Perhaps I should have phrased the change statement to 'to cause
other people to change' but then it may have been just another side of the

The only reason to attempt to change people is that their current beliefs
and behavior is judged somehow not appropriate. Who makes this judgement?
Well, in some cases the 'boss' does. Interpert 'boss' as employer,
government, or organization. In other cases the 'community' makes this

Who is right in this judgement of the need to change is a matter of moral
and ethical judgement. Certainly all of the cited communities above have
made some good and some bad judgements.

To my comment

>>May I posit that all progress of civilization is effected through changing

you replied

>Is it really? I don't think it is through changing people. I believe it
>is through people changing. A sublte difference perhaps, but a powerful
>one, and one that puts the responsibility where it rightly belongs.

I agree that the person who is making the change has a responsibility to
change or not in some cases, perhaps most. But the change agent bears
considerable responsibility for his or her part in the process. A parent
who inflicts society with a child scarred by abuse and is abusive bears
considerable responsibility for the behavior of that child.

I still believe that every person in fulfilling their many roles in life
has a responsibility to be a change agent, that is one who acts to cause
change in other people -- as well as to change themselves. As parents,
citizens, volunteers, employees or bosses we cannot escape from this
obligation. We had better be as sure as we can that what we attempt is
moral and ethical in both means and intended end.


Bill Hobler


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