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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"All the good you can"

  I've always loved this quote and someone posted this beautiful version of it on FB recently.  One of the comments were "Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone lived by this."  And the short answer is, yes, it would.  But I've been thinking about it, and I think that part of the problem is that people define "all the good" in very different ways.  I think many people do try to live by this, but their goals are not the same as mine.  An extreme example struck me from the reading I've been doing: most of the Inquisitors probably thought they were doing "all the good" they could.  Hitler probably thought he was doing all the good he could.  It depends how you define "good."  I remember talking to a friend a decade or so ago, who thought we should quarantine people with AIDS, not to punish them, but to protect everyone else.  That person was certainly motivated to do "good."  It's just more complicated than it seems, that's all I'm saying.  Maybe that's why I love these dystopian novels so much - because they show different societies which have tried to create something good that's gone awry, or that's ended up with unintended consequences that were arguably worse than what they started with.  Food for thought. 



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