The observations and opinions of a person who has no discernible insights or ideas.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My Summer Vacation to Medina 

Today, I was meeting with my supervisor about some unrelated matter when he decided to give me a pop quiz. He asked me what the five performance criteria, upon which my work is evaluated, are. They are well-known, and he’s given me sheets containing them at least a half dozen times, but I was only able to remember one of them, and I didn’t recall where it fit on the list.

My supervisor then asked how I could hope to meet these if I don’t even know what they are. It seemed that he did not believe it possible to meet these criteria without being aware of them. Such is the nature of our conversations that I was unable to adequately refute that position at the time. Instead, I shall do so now.

There are many reasons that people do things. While it is common for people to act in a way that they know will bring them some specific reward, this is not always the case. People quite often do things that they should even without some institutional motivation for doing so, and people quite often do things that they shouldn’t, even knowing the inevitable consequences (that they often ignore these consequences or believe themselves to be exempt is another issue).

Consider giving to the poor. Many people do so, including people who have never heard of Christ or Muhammad. Even though they do not know that Christians are commanded to help those in need, and that a pillar of Islam is to give alms to the poor, they follow that commandment.

In some cases, an entire community may be driven by some moral code that is well known to most. While the majority will follow this code out of a sense of obligation, some who do not know it explicitly will follow it implicitly by following the examples of their neighbors.

My point is that it is possible to be completely ignorant of some policy, rule, or instruction, and yet to follow it perfectly and consistently.

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