Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between

Right or wrong, good or evil, no matter what you call it all people of sound mind know the difference. We are taught it from a young age and if we are lucky we are able to walk the path that we choose with little deviation. Yet what happens when our choices fall on the wrong side of the moral line. Or maybe our choice was what we thought was right but for others it seemed wrong.

In this world of expanding grey morality, where do we draw the line of right and wrong? What is the point of no return, the point where one passes from moral ambiguity into one extreme or the other.

Well it could be said that passing to good and just, is a noble thing, a good thing, something to be strived for with every step. Yet, those who spend all their time focusing on being good, often end up tyrants, attempting to force their will, and their ideals on others. In such actions they fall from their noble path and tumble back past moral ambiguity and into the more sinister side of things.

True good, seeks not to make others good, but to help those in need, without praise or acknowledgement. Good, does not seek reward, for good is its own reward. True good is a hard lifelong path which holds no glory and in fact quite often holds endless hardship. It is a thankless path, where sleeping well at night and being able to smile at yourself in the mirror each day are often the biggest rewards you will find.

Evil is so much subtler, it is the easy path. The way that seems to fall smooth and clear in front of your feet. It holds glory, power, and ease. It is as simple as looking out for yourself, above all others, doing what is best for you regardless of what might befall those around you. Nothing more is required then to dismiss the needs of your fellow man and creature.

So what may you ask, brings on the more philosophical topic today. Surely something as in depth as good and evil shouldn't be the topic of a random blog. Well, here is my question. How many of us consider ourselves to be good people? Maybe still in the morally grey on some things, but all in all, good people? Would you give a homeless person money, or your coat, or some food if they were hungry? Would you help a neighbor in need of assistance? Help a lost child find their parent? What about a fire, would you go in to a burning building to help someone trapped inside? I think many would say yes, to at least a few of those.

But those are all goodness toward your fellow man, those should be the easy ones. What about more subtle things, things where no one would know if you took the easy way? Would you care for an animal, feed it, help it if it was injured? Do you slow your car when an animal runs across the street in front of you? If you hit an animal, do you stop to help it, or find it's owner? Do you even stop to think about it?

Many people don't even think about this one, they drive on as if nothing happened. To the family of the animal you just injured or killed, you are now evil. In one second your lack of action has taken you from however good and pure you may think you are and thrown you into the depths of depravity. They are not merely animals to their families, they are family members, in some cases they are the only family some people have, and you have become a murderer in their eyes. Have you ever stopped to think about it that way? Will you now that it has been put before you as plain as day?

Yes, it as simple as inaction and you can become evil in the eyes of others. It is as simple as not treating others with the care and respect you would want to be treated with.

So I ask what path do you tread? Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between

1 comment:

  1. You know where I stand on this one.

    Inaction in the face of tragedy is not neutrality; it's evil. It's allowing the tragedy to continue. Often it's just a small thing like calling 9-1-1, but it's something.

    I once saw a rolled-over car on the highway and a dozen cars had stopped and men were running into the center ditch to help whomever was in the car. I remember thinking, "I can't believe how amazing those people are," but then I thought, "Aren't we all obligated to help each other? Why should this be unusual?"

    Something to think about.