The Evolving Monkey

What does it mean to be good?

  • Stages to developing a mature understanding of goodness:
    • First step, babies and children equate receiving approval with being good.
    • Second step, older children will begin to understand, vaguely, that being a good person requires more than just receiving approval.
    • Third step, starting with teenagers, is the realization that being a good person and receiving approval are two separate things. Sometimes they overlap, often they don’t.
    • Often a person will get stuck on the first or second step.
  • What goodness is not:
    • Defending family, friend, or coworker even though you know they are wrong.
    • Arbitrarily fighting the other group or tribe simply because they are other.
    • Never backing down without considering if perhaps you are wrong.
    • Being better than others at doing something.
    • Being tougher and stronger than others.
    • Being first to do something.
    • Displaying certainty about something.
Good Omens movie poster
  • A definition of a good person:
    • The sincere desire to do the right thing.
    • The belief that every person is equally worthy of having a good life.
    • The willingness to do one’s social duty to help everyone have an opportunity to live a good life.
  • What goodness is:
    • Realizing that everyone wants to be good.
    • Understanding that being good has to be learned.
    • Understanding that many people never learn or they were never taught how to be good.
    • Understanding what a person learns about how to be good, may not be what you learned.
    • Giving understanding and compassion to everyone. They need it as much as you do.

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. Samuel Johnson

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