Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How hard should one strive to be good?

Dear Edahn,

In your opinion, how hard should one strive to be good? Actually, I think that this question sort of starts in the middle it that it assumes a number of things (e.g. whether there is any such thing as good) and it leaves a number of others unanswered (e.g. what is good). What do you think, leaving the assumptions and unanswered questions alone for now? I suppose you may find my question silly from a strictly atheistic perspective. Oh well, indulge me if you will.

I do think it's important to be good and to strive to always be good without exception. The reason is that being good and living in alignment with your conscience promotes well being. It dissolves guilt, fosters self-connection, and infuses people with meaning. Since those things are generally thought desirable, it makes sense to take steps to develop them.

Would I say that others have a responsibility to be good? I wouldn't, because I don't think philosophies can ever give rise to ethical systems and the values they depend on. Those values come from contemplation, wisdom, and appreciation (or some other moral authority).

The harder question is how to define good, but I think it's something that needs to come from a person's core, rather than via authority.


Anonymous said...

I think that it is essential to be very careful of laws and abiding by them. I am very sceptical and like to go against the grain. People have been murdered and abused by so called law abiding citazins and women have been treated very badly over particular laws.
I like to dismiss certain laws because it broadens my mind and I may need to act in this way in emergency situations. What if you were kicked out of your home and no-one would help you? What would you do if you were hungry? Would you steal food from someone else to try and survive? Of course you would. Well you have to look at all the laws in this way. Who could possibly be hurt from this particular way of thinking?

edahn said...

I agree that people should look to themselves and their conscience, rather than to some external source. The problem is that self-reliance requires certain degree of maturity and development. You need to be willing to be fair and now how to control your ego. Some people can't do that, so they need instructions and rules to summarize things and make things easier for them.

lisa said...

penguin video = funniest shit ever

thank you for making it a part of my life