[Model Answer QP2020 GS4 Ethics] “Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If not, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.” – Swami Vivekanand

From the perspective of Utilitarianism: the quote implies that we should seek to maximize happiness or well-being for the greatest number of people. If you can help someone (and thus increase their well-being), you should. If you can’t, at least do not harm them and respect their autonomy, which also aligns with the principle of not decreasing others’ well-being.
From the perspective of Deontology (duty-based ethics): The quote can be seen as presenting a rule: Help if you can; if not, do no harm. This aligns with Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, particularly his principle of treating people as ends in themselves (not means to an end), respecting their autonomy and dignity.

As for its relevance today, in our increasingly interconnected world, this quote holds significant meaning.

1. In the context of global challenges such as climate change, poverty, and pandemics, those with the capacity to help can make substantial impacts. For instance, the philosophy of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) of the developed world to the developing world.

2. On an individual level, this quote could encourage more empathy and compassion in interpersonal relationships. In a time where mental health issues are prevalent, and individualism is dominating, this quote brings importance onto the ability to provide support or at least an understanding environment that can be profoundly beneficial.

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