What is GOOD?

What is good and what is evil are like beauty:  It is in the eyes of the beholder. To some, killing Christians is good. To others killing Americans is good. To some, killing for Christ is good. For some, killing some poor wretch in the electric chair is good. For some, abortion is good.  For others, abortion is evil and abortionists should be killed. For some, justice as rendered is good. For others, the same justice as rendered is not. Neither morality nor beauty are endemic to the universe. They belong solely to the soul of man.

Dare I say, “Be good?”

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31 responses to “What is GOOD?

  1. Pirsig explored the question at length in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” … goodness, truth, and quality.. inter-related concepts … and highly subjective.

    “Have a good day”!

  2. Who espoused killing for Christ is ” good” ?
    Both, Cheney & Obama seek to bring
    Osama Bin Laden to justice.
    is life so cheap these days , it deserves not
    to be defended ?
    Were not many Catholics who left their blood
    and guts on the battle fields of France and
    Germany acting out of goodness to
    confront the Nazi Hilter machine..?
    The eyes of evil do not glint with goodness,
    where were all the lawyers with their glib
    words to take on Hitler ..?

  3. The fishing up on Wiggin’s branch always seems to be “good” and the views getting there are out of this world beautiful……and I always let those cutts swim away to live another day and get bigger…….and I think that is really “good”!

    The warm silence of a summer night always makes me feel really “good”!

  4. I say “Be well.” Or, simple, “Peace.” I am not even sure I know what is “good.” Or, it’s like obscenity — I know it when I see it. Rather, I feel it when I experience it.

    ~Jess

  5. Can any good come of this discussion?

  6. Good is indeed a relative term…evil too.

    Though we’d all be further ahead by developing our empathy, and cultivating the human and emotional side we often neglect, avoid, or rationalize away…

  7. Reflection on the 200th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Birth – A Quest of Good:

    A quest of good defined by belief abridges justice, thus I may not judge what is good! Rather, I admit I have
    witnessed “Greatness” – good not defined by belief.

    A major social metamorphoses is necessary to change the fabric of social consciences that believes Greed is good. As a society it is time for the “Me” generation, to become a society of “Givers.“

    A legacy of change begins with the absent of self, Now is the time, so we too can “belong to the ages.”

  8. In response to the question “can any good come of this discussion,” I’ll say YES, it can. So why not. Now that we have a far less tyrannical Administration in the White House, I believe we can now discuss controversial topics without fear of any disagreement being labeled “treason” or worse. With our kind host’s permission, of course. 🙂

  9. (sigh) I should have said “a far more enlightened administration.” My humblest apologies for my error.

  10. Good dog, bad dog; good
    bank bad bank; can’t we tell the difference..?
    Is all so relative, the moral compass is a mere slant depending on where one, either stands, or sits, or who the pay- master is ?

  11. Personally, I think trying our hardest to reduce poverty and the suffering, misery, disease and death that goes with it is good. Trying to work together to make that happen as much as humanly possible is even better.

  12. Lets examine the threads–here.
    Take the ex Governor of ILL, Blago. His activity was not viewed as “good”, or in the “public good”, on in the “public interest” .
    What is the “public good”, or the public interest” ?
    In the ex Governor’s case, he was tarred as misusing his”public office”, to seek some gain(the bleeping gloden tapes, some breach of public trust then ensued.
    Thus, he was painted as
    “bad”, corrupt, etc.
    Yet, Mr Spence raised questions that the Chicago U S Attorney was engaging in bad activity.(see on guilt and presumptions, prior Gerry BLOG).
    It is AOK for the Chicago Tribune owner(Billionare DUDE Zell) to profit big time by manipulating the levers of Government–AKA power and influence ?
    His big money levers is elevated to some higher goodness in the pecking orders of Chicago affairs.
    On abortion, if you –any of you– had been aborted would you deem that “good”, in the FUN HOUSE OF Life expired ?
    All rights start with life, if it is your life on the line, does it take on a more pressing focus.

  13. Questions without answers are what makes us different than other animals. I am not so sure we are better animals, however.

  14. How do you know, Norm, that a shark does not question waters he dashes into, because the shark does not use the king’s English to communicate with us, a shark is a better swimmer than, you are Norm. What answers on life escape you ?
    A dog has a sense of smell
    many x that of man.
    Dare any wade into what is
    better, while dipping into
    good, and its polar opposites.

  15. I find the universe beautiful, and of course the “endemic” features of the earth.
    Not all possessed by man(generic–AKA woman) is moral, as resides in some fiber of his/her being, perhaps it has something to do with being human.
    Not all man has done is “good”, although a polaris submarine can cruse through waters(oceans) faster than a killer shark.

  16. Gerry,
    We use the terms “good” and “evil” too casually. I think what most people really mean by “good” is “beneficial,” and by “bad” “detrimental.”

    If looked at from human eyes, everything of consequence is one or the other, right?

    If a rabbit had human thoughts, it would think it was good. If a fox had human thoughts, it would also think the rabbit was good.

    If there is order in the world, then there must be balance. A dangerous criminal is detrimental to his victims and to society. Eliminating his ability to cause harm to society is beneficial, but killing him “for” his crimes is no more beneficial to society than locking him up. But some among us want to kill him, so we have to invent good and evil to do so. We human beings like to think we know something about justice, and that killing a killer restores a balance. As you so beautifully put in a recent post, we are all at death’s door from the moment of birth. That killer will not get out alive even if we don’t hasten his death. So how does killing a killer restore balance? The more difficult route, and one that I admire in those who take it, is forgiveness. If anything can restore balance, it surely must be forgiveness.

    I am a spiritual person but not a religious one, but I have to respectfully disagree with your statement that morality belongs to the soul of man… It may be a semantic difference, but from my stance, morality is a thing of the human mind which is capable of judgment and scorn.

    With beauty and the soul, I think you are right on.
    -Dan

  17. Morality I dare say is not inconsistent with what Mr Spence noted when he got into the “soul”.
    The all of a person, his gestalt, includes his mind his heart, his age, his experience, his life course, his whole interaction with the universe, and people, and institutions, and society, and his/her spirituality.
    The mind can not know all, animals have better hearing, better senses of smell, better feelings of touch, etc. A dog senses things I am oblivious to.
    But, when Mr Spence uses the word soul, it has a sense of something more than a religious connotation(in my humble opinion). There are many meanings to the term “soul”. The human mind produces envy, scorn, judgement, comparsions, the thing about greener grass, reason often goes off course.
    American society is set on a caste system at about age 7, the Ivy League schools, they program the int’l investment bankers, who make the golden rules.
    Mr Spence speaks about
    the America caste system, perhaps in more eloquent terms than I allude to here.(perhaps using different terms)
    He is right on(hits a responsive cord with many readers from all over the world) in his use of the term “soul”, and moreover his mother was a wise woman. In wading into this area, we make judgments, on good, bad, indifferent, better best, bad, worst.
    There is evil in the world.
    What is the old saying:
    Evil flourshes when “good men” do nothing, it ” triumphs”.
    Take the two State judges in Penn, who took $ 2.6 million in bribes, and threw young peope in a privately run jail(run by a private JAIL COMPANY), to feed the revenue stream, of the private jailers, and the young people did nothing really bad, really bad at all, they were just being young kids(reference google recent news items on)
    That is evil, that is staggering evil and corrupt, and breaches of the public trust, and it was only because good men and women, who came forward, was something done to address that evil(with the facade, and MASK of power and the COURT)
    to stop that evil ruining the lives of young people, from mad power gone astray(trafficing under color of law as authority).

  18. It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. ~Henry Louis Mencken

  19. The fox viewed the rabbit as “good” eating as did the fox in the hen house.
    Just as Dan viewed his New York steak strip as delicious, if he is not a veggie. I make no moral judgements on the meat eating man, here.

  20. Not to quibble, but I find it more beautiful that one is at life’s door, from the moment of conception.
    Death at some point will be a reality, however, I prefer light over darkness.

  21. I see the subject is good, and bad, virtue and vice, and the difference, sorta, getting into the “soul”
    So, I googled to see what
    aphorisms pop up on virtue and vice, I looked through about 100 or so, and this seemed to pop out:
    “I’ve never met a healthy person who worried much about his health or a good(underscore “good” person who worried much about his soul”, that is attributed to
    Haldane. I belive he is the founder of population genetics, or some such scientific pursuits.
    Haldine’s 1964 will provided:
    “My body has been used for both purposes during my lifetime and after my death, whether I continue to exist or not, I shall have no further use for it, and desire that it shall be used by others. Its refrigeration, if this is possible, should be a first charge on my estate.”

  22. “What is good” is linked, via hyper-texeted into “love of murder”, a prior piece, with the claim murder instincts are apart of all of us.
    Lets see, of the many 1,000’s and 1,000’s who had their life savings ripped away by Bernie Madoff, how many would like to employ that instinct ?
    Yet, there is something where civilized instincts kick in( Thou, shall not murder).
    Life is a big conflict, but are not most people at their core fundamentally decent, and do not trigger some killing instinct.
    However, what about the pilot in Nam, he pushed a few buttons, he dropped the Naplan, and bombs, pulled back the levers, goes off to the bar at the base club, and feels no blood , or guts spilled on the ground, he may have been a top graduate at some military academy, all a very sterile & tactical exercise. He gets ribbons, is deemed a patriot, honored, is told he puts country first, he is the most valued member of our Military industrial Complex/society.
    Then, we discover in Nam, agent orange is still deforming childern over 40 years later.
    It is too grosteque, too much to absorb, we shield it from our sense of what America is about.
    Did you know, lies surrounded the Tonkin Gulf incident, as that was even revealed by Admiral Stockdale.
    Do you recall him. He ran for V. P with Ross Perot, and that was a losing ticket.
    What America did in Viet Nam was not “good”.
    How did we get there, JFK, the best and the brighest ?
    How did we get into Iraq ?
    As some of you may remember, it was Ike–a real general, who warned America in his last speech as President about the Military Industrial Complex. Your tax dollars are used to wage horror.
    But, say much on that, and people like Dick Cheney will brand you a traitor.
    But, they do not use the expressions that Spence uses, some new term is employed, PEACE KEEPER, pre-emptive strike.
    Yes, we must guard against those who kill many people on 9-11 in big office towers, but has America (under blind fools like Cheney as some leader) wasted vast resources, and created more hate in the world, which sowed the seeds, that fed the instinct that Spence mentions–directed towards MAIN Street USA ?
    Have a great cup of coffee, and wonder where you tax dollars are going—next.
    By the way, I spent my time in the trenches in the heart of the Military industrial complex, i paid my dues. You as citizens need to start asking more questions.

  23. Gerry,
    Good thing you are not a 14 year old kid in some sections of the state of Penn.
    You would be viewed as making threats(whether that charge would be baseless) against the State(“love of murder” on your space/ blog), would be hauled off to go before a judge(who had taken millions in kick backs & bribes) to be imprisoned and jailed in a private jail, which was a money making deal connected to a lawyer for J P Morgan. Sure, you are not a 14 year old kid, but the railroading of innocent kids to make those connected to J. P Morgan(investment bank) very rich, what in the world is going on in America. It an’t in a word:
    “good”.
    Meanwhile, Bernie Madoff sits in his $ 10 million buck penthouse in NYC, after he admitted stealing $ 50 billion from 1,000’s of people. Now, the big blog musing is: will someone kill Madoff ?
    Others mused the Russian mob had placed in fear his feeder( dupe) in Europe.
    The point is, and I respectfully take exception to your premise, most don’t love murder.
    But how many are caught in a web of circumstances, their life disintegrates, and things unravel, and bad stuff evolves(happens) !
    I am not adcocating any crime, and bad stuff.
    Neither, were some 14 year old kids who got trapped in a corrupt Penn system who used them to make some one connected to J P Morgan real rich, as they gamed the private prison system,
    to create crimes, that did not exist, so someone connected to J P Morgan could cut a fat deal, and get really rich. Now, the civil suits are piling up, and hopefully all the facts come out and are not shoved under the rug, on just where all the corruption in Penn resided. Corruption is not “good”, it hurts real people, the most vulnerable in society.

  24. Further, it should be noted, privately run jails are a big biz, and a big money machine, not just in Penn, but all around the USA, who incarcerates more people per capita, than any place on earth. In many places in the USA, more is spent on prisons, than on school for the young, private jails were the biggest growth industry in America. It boomed.

  25. Gerry’s commentary reminds me of George Vest’s Eulogy of a Dog. ……..

    Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
    Gentleman of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

    If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.

  26. Give up religiosity and knowledge and people will benefit a hundredfold. Discard morality and righteousness, and people will return to natural love.

    The Tao

  27. Something not “good” was found in the old slave ship, that was carrying human cargo in 1700 to the Americans. It sank off of Key West, FL, on a return voyage to England. Yet, its story, as dug up, is recounted in National Geographic, when modern day treasure hunters discovered the wreckage of the “Henrietta…..”
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0208/feature4/

  28. Let me sum it up for you—the Wyoming beyond the Teton Latte parlors, and the fur Shops for the dudes:
    A photo is worth 2009 words.
    SEE;

    Over 85 train loads like this per day are moving from the Wyoming coal pits to your local energy plant to keep your lights on.
    Is it “good”, well, you seem to want to stay out of the dark.
    You and Obama an’t going to be shutting down any coal moving, soon, and Al Gore has been shown to be out to lunch.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/magazine/29Dyson-t.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=freeman%20dyson&st=cse

  29. I notice that Gerry got a burr under his saddle on the local power company rasing its electric rates.
    So, he sued:

    And, the court ruled against Spence;

    http://wyomcases.courts.state.wy.us/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=121284

    Of course, his old law frim pard, Rose, was a lone dissenter.

    So, no solar panels in that big pad, that must be heated, in the chilly Teton winters.(with rates much higher than 1984). Yes, just like all those on the demand side of all those 85 long trains leaving Wyoming every day to fill the power needs—and keep the lights on and the gadets running, heaters, and coolers, T. V’s and computers, fans, and ovens, and all that which is so plugged in.

  30. My 2 cents worth: Every man IS an island in each personal sea. Man’s ego and survival instincts challenge man to conquer the sea,to master others. The “master” decides what is “good”for it is his island which he protects. His ideals,desires,aspirations depend on HIS needs and they are “good”. Man is one self centered son of a bullfrog. “Good” is only “good” if it’s “good” for you. Otherwise, it’s not good. Extinguishing life whether it be human or plant,animal or the ozone layer is encroachment on the rest of the creatures whose islands are basking in the sun. The sun is “good”..and not so good. Hydroponics can only go so far and cut off the power and the lights go out. Not good.
    Darkness is good..for dirty deeds and for rabbit hunting,bullfrog gigging and for ..sleeping. The stars have a low visibility in the sunlight,although the white moon in a blue sky is neither good nor not good,just interesting.
    Killing humans is not good..not good..not good. “Bad” people do unkind acts,they may or may not be redeemable persons. Doing unto the others with the same measure..? The scale weighs the same . Good is as good does, Mr. Gump.

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