Intsiksiomai's Blog

Kind, Nice, Obedient. Are they all the same?

Posted on: November 3, 2009

People keep interchanging these 3 adjectives as if they are one and the same. They may be running in the same path, but I would like to define each one of them and put them in the proper hierarchy of goodness. Kindness is the highest good among the 3. It means being compassionate towards life and people in general, having natural inclination of helping others, being more considerate of people and things in general, and predisposed to accomodate people (as much as possible). Kind people has a bigger and more generous heart. It may not be in the form of money or things, but time and effort. It brings love to a greater degree, without inflicting harm to anyone, and never at the expense of others. Niceness is the second good among the 3. The difference is that niceness is more shallow. It brings cheer, pleasant words and gestures, but without the feeling of too much responsibility towards them. It displays agreeableness, congeniality. It evades conflict and friction, always yearning for a more peaceful atmosphere. Sometimes, I equate this niceness with naivety. Justice, truth, or pending conflicts are better raised and fought rather than insisting on maintaining the atmosphere of false peace. Obedience ranks the least. I don’t even consider it good, but just a neutral quality of people. Obedience is just for maintaining order, whether the order is for the good(traffic rules), or for the bad (assassinate him!). Obedience means submission to an authority. It is submission of the will. When there is obedience, there is an authority, a leader, a dictator. There is a person commanding for the obeyer to comply with his requirement or order. Whether the order of the commander is for his own good or not, or for someone else’s good or not, is not the concern of someone really really obedient. Obedience is encouraged by the more powerful and superior as a means to temper the lower beings/barbarians. Parents want children to obey, for what, we can’t ask. President wants us to obey, for what, we can’t let her justify. Among the Orientals, obedience is one of the most prized qualities. Young people should obey the old. Wife should obey the husband. The obedience is based on hierarchy, seniority, age. Reasoning, rationalizing, questioning are discouraged. Obedience doesn’t require a lot of thinking and pondering, just mere doing and following. Tagalog is such a limited language. And “mabait” is overused to mean almost anything. People are not sharp to see or sense the real quality and motive of a person. Why not try using “masunurin”, “magalang”, “maginoo”, “mapagpanggap”, “sipsip”, or “uto-uto” instead?

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1 Response to "Kind, Nice, Obedient. Are they all the same?"

Kindness is usually associated with unconditionality and/or sincerity. You don’t have to be sincere to be nice, and this is more associated with form or externals. Obedience comes at a price, while kindness is priceless. There are many sayings associated with kindness, too. “I thank you from the bottom(lessness) of my heart,” is one example. Because many people feel that kindness cannot be measured merely in pounds and pennies. Hardly do we thank people this way for being “nice” or “obedient.”

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