To Be Good

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Some people are good because they fear divine punishment. “I don’t want to go to hell” they say. Others are good because they seek to avoid earthly punishments. “I don’t want to go to jail”, or for a child perhaps “I don’t want to be grounded.” Some people are good because they expect divine rewards. “I want to go to heaven” they say. Others expect rewards of the earthly variety, thanks or praise or accolades, or for a child perhaps more simple rewards like a gift or being allowed to stay up later than normal. The people that are good out of fear or because of expectation of reward are good people. However, the route they have chosen to goodness is the easy one, the obvious one, the one that most people take. There are a few rare people, a very few, and likely fewer every day, that choose to be good for no reason at all. They are good simply because that is the way of things with them. At the very core of their being they recognize that goodness is right, and anything else is not and they choose the right path, the correct way, because they cannot imagine any other way. It does not even occur to them that there could be another way, or if it does they roundly reject that way for no reason other than because it is not the good way. This does not imply that these people are perfect or that they never err in choosing the right path or the good way. They are still human and as humans they make mistakes. However, even in choosing incorrectly they make all of their choice with good intentions, always with the desire or will to do the right thing in their minds, even if ultimately their choice does not always end in that result. It is very rare for persons like this to cause harm or do evil even though they sometimes can because of the fallibility of human judgment. This is because the will/desire to be good is a huge component of the actuality of it. In fact it is by far the large majority of it. The question of what is good or goodness also rarely occurs to them or if it does, it is answered very simply by pointing and saying “this is” or “that is”. Long philosophical discourses on the nature of goodness are not part of the good persons natural inclinations because they have no need for a philosophy of goodness. They live what is good, act goodly, each and every day.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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