What is good? LO13162

Wed, 9 Apr 1997 07:33:33 -0400

Replying to LO13146 --

I have wanted to add my perception of "goodness". I think that
goodness is a continuum. We may first think of things like the ten
commandments - and not do "bad" things. Goodness is more than merely
not being bad. There is a whole realm of goodness that encompasses
ideals, service, loving one another, actively trying to make a
difference, enjoyment, fulfillment, being honest with oneself, and
others, striving for excellence.

For each person, goodness is a relative term. For some, even the
basics, might be a struggle, but if they are successful they are then
strengthened, the standard for them changes - what was once acceptable
to them, now might not be. The next step then becomes what to strive
for - If stealing is not a temptation to me, then my next step might
be being more prompt in paying my bills, or giving freely to others,
or contributing to a cause. If I am a workaholic, my struggle might be
to take time for my family and for myself, if I overcome being a
workaholic, my next struggle might be to give my service to a cause
without letting it overcome me.

I think we are struggling with the definition of "good", because it is
such a continuum. The more knowledge you have, the more you expect
from yourself, and the more that is expected of you by others. I
think it is our own expectations, the standards we judge ourselves
with when we look in the mirror each morning or at the end of the day
- Did I do my best today? Can I look myself in the eye and know I
have not hurt anyone? Can I know that I have done something each day
to make life a little better for at least one other person?

I don't think goodness can exist in a vacuum. There is opposition in
all things. So we learn goodness as a process - by making choices, by
examining our motives, our outcomes, and how we (and others)feel as a
result of the choice. We know, at least most of the time if we have
been hurtful, or mean, or vengeful, or selfish and we know when we
have been kind, or loving, or unselfish or "good". If we listen to
our spirits, we will know which path brings us more joy.

Mary French



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