What Is Good?

Aristotle said that all actions we take have a purpose and that purpose is to strive for something better. It is not human nature to take action towards something worse; it would not make sense to us. This is worth considering when people do something that seems to worsen the conditions for other people or themselves, because their original intentions may actually have been to improve the conditions.

If something is good is a matter of perspective. If there is something we want then this thing must be good; if there is something we dislike and do not want then this thing would be bad. Since we do not have the same feelings towards wants and do-not-wants we will experience conflicts where something good to one part is defined as bad for another. Let us say I want to eat peanuts because they make me feel good. I decide to share my good feeling and I offer them to you, but you reject the offer because you are allergic to peanuts and they will make you feel bad. In this case peanuts are defined good in my worldview but in your worldview peanuts are bad.

Something good does not stay good permanently. E.g. when I have eaten enough peanuts I do not want more of them. If I continue eating the peanuts anyway then I will start to dislike them and they will become bad in my worldview. I will probably want something else instead, like water.

To feel good you need to take action and do something else than you do now. Actions means change and change will conflict with your peace of mind and that is what I will write about in my next post.

Challenge: Try to see the good intentions in actions from people you dislike. E.g. Hitler; Lenin; Saddam Hussein; your government; or maybe just someone in your social circle.

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