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Helpful, Not Useful

Posted by on September 24, 2016

I recently had a brief exchange with Joel (7) that provided an opportunity to talk about dignity (and hint at the personalistic norm).

Joel had done some favor for me, and I had thanked him. The rest of the exchange went as follows.

Joel: “I like being useful!”

Me: “Helpful, not useful.”

Joel: “Huh?”

Me: “You mean to say that you like being helpful.”

Joel: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “People are helpful. Things are useful. We should never talking about people being useful, because people should be treated as individuals with dignity, not as tools we use. Understand now?”

Joel: “I think so…I like being helpful.”

Me: “I’m glad. :)”

Take your utilitarianism and shove it, Sir Topham Hatt!

Don't laugh. It's surprisingly hard to draw using a stylus on a tablet screen.

Don’t laugh. It’s surprisingly hard to draw using a stylus on a tablet screen.