I voted ‘depends’ but really, it’s easier to ask permission, assuming you have the moral fibre to accept denial of permission.
Asking for forgiveness when you knew damn well you should have sought permission, or just not done the accursed thing is not classy and cannot be repeated indefinitely.
I’m answering as a high school teacher - forgiveness, definitely. If, say, you arrive on the first day of classes to discover that two classes have accidentally been assigned to the same classroom, you have two options. You can try to find the person whose job it is to assign rooms, and ask for a new assignment - or you can find a classroom that looks empty and move in.
If you do the first, you will spend ages trying to find that person, who is likely to either a) busy or b) hiding in a broom closet somewhere whimpering, because EVERYONE who has the slightest problem with classroom assignments is trying to get the situation resolved NOW.
If you do the second, there’s a slight chance someone else will come along later and say that this classroom was, in fact, already resolved, in which case you say “Oops! Sorry!” and find another room to occupy.
I’ve had classes in unauthorized classrooms for entire months before I found the Room Assignment Guy and got things straightened out
And asking for forgiveness under the assumption that anybody who says “sorry” shall always be forgiven, when he’s actually about as sorry as a pile of dog shit should be a jailable offense.
Back in catechism, we were taught that there are four steps for forgiveness:
- you realize you screwed up,
- you intend to do your best to avoid screwing up again,
- you ask for forgiveness,
- you accept any penance given.
Too many people think it consists of only step 3 - those can deep-kiss my ass.
If you are trying to actually get something done, forgiveness, definitely.
If you’re determined to do it no matter what, then it is definitely better to ask forgiveness after. Some real discoveries might have been missed had people not gone ahead on their own initiative. Example: Jocelyne Bell was told by her thesis advisor that the sudden spikes in the radio telescope readings were terrestrial artifacts and she shouldn’t pursue them. She did anyway and discovered pulsars. Guess which one of them won the Nobel prize for the discovery.
My boss says it’s easier to ask for forgiveness. I’d bet he regrets telling me that.
In my personal life, I’d rather not have to ask for forgiveness. In the professional world, sometimes it’s better to just do what you know needs to be done and see what happens.
Ask for permission if…
-You have long term relations with them. Romantic, professional, or platonic. They are more likely allow you to do things, and you don’t want to risk ruining your relationship if they don’t allow something.
-If your actions have the potential to put many people at risk.
-If they seem like the type who would punish you severely. If you don’t know the person well, ask around.
Ask for forgiveness if…
-the questionable action will be a one time thing
-you’re new, somewhere.
-the action would accomplish a lot
I’d also say it depends on the nature of the transgression. Something that no way in hell in a bazillion years would be given permission? Or something that is more alongs of the lines of “probably not going to be given permission”. Then throw in the motivations for doing said thing and the negative possible consequences (besides being in trouble with the man) of doing said thing should things go badly.
It really depends on the person
Look at it this way.
If you commit a seriously illegal act, you might one day convince the parole board that you are really sorry. Thus you might get forgiveness for your deed.
There is no way you could possibly get permission to do it.
You are right. Thats a point from the other end of the spectrum. If you know sure as hell you won’t get permission it IS better to ask for forgiveness if you think doing said thing is that important. Assuming you are willing to pay the price.
I sorta did that once in middle school. There was a partial solar eclipse during Mr. Asshole’s SCIENCE class period (ironically enough). I had a camera to take a pic of it. His class was about the ONLY one not outside for it. I had asked him the day before whether we were going out. He said no. I asked him I could go out to take a pic, because this was part of my photography class. He said no. Asshole.
So, when it came time for his class to start I just stayed outside with the other 90 percent of the school. After it reached it’s peak and I got my pic I strolled in about 15 minutes before his class ended. Never heard a word.
I love science and he was so bad all in all he almost made me give up on it. Asshole again just for good measure.
Well, I guess in this case I “asked” was denied, and said fuck it anyway.
I voted permission because I think that’s how it should be. That’s how I try to do it anyway, but sometimes if you know the answer will be no…
My teenage son does everything by asking for forgiveness.