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Are “You” What You Do?

Is a person only what they do, or is there more to it than that?

You are born with certain unchangeable attributes. What you choose to spend your life doing is not one of those. It is probably a blank slate–or close to it. What you choose to do is a choice.

What you do you can stop doing at any time. And if what you were doing was wrong, you can attempt to make it right with those you have wronged by your actions.

But, if you continue to do something which violates others, and you refuse to face that what you are doing is wrong–and never stop or try to make amends–then that choice is also on you. It’s not “you” exactly, but you are tying your identity to those actions.

You may still be more than what you do, but how far will that go toward absolving you?

If a person commits rapes, and is truthfully identified as a rapist, does that define him? Can he still be a wonderful person, otherwise, even if he continues to rape? What if he believes he has good reasons or somehow believes he is doing the right things? What if some people agree with him? How many have to find no fault in his actions before he’s a good person? Can he be a popular rapist and a good person?

Or what about someone being a good serial murderer? Is it possible?

If the answer is “no”, then there can be no such thing as a “good cop”, either.

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Kent McManigal

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