Actions are hollow movements; having neither senses nor directions – a dynamism shared by living creatures. In humans it transforms as “behaviour”. Actions are automatic and “motor-driven”: behaviour develops as a conditioned response, involving some intellectual overlay. The action, of itself remains neutral – free of conscious, or, unconscious drivers. How can it be judged?
Behaviour manifests who we are – the sum of our inherited traits and subsequent learning. Learning results from many influences. One may say it’s the sedimentation of learning through our human timeline. Lessons passed down the generations become common to the species. Actual learning (within a person’s lifetime) adds to determine the individual’s propensities in behaviour.
From birth, experiences channel our behaviour. Family, community and cultural value systems lead to character forming. Our adaption of these vital influences is subject to the supreme gift of free will. We are judged by alignment to the ruling norms and expectations. We may be good, better, or, best in the eyes of our peers and dominant groups. Behaviour, judged subjectively within the group, may be viewed entirely differently by others that have grown up with different experiences, and cultural outlooks. The dilemma is that we cannot have a universally acceptable ethos. Superficially, we may all agree on things like “Thou shalt not Kill”. But, in reality is that so? Opinions will differ when we consider the long list of “Ifs” and “Buts” and justifications based on cultural bias. Essentially, who are we to judge?