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Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Burned by Goodness

Something I realized recently, and was thinking about it this morning. It seems that a large number of younger people(1) on various philosophy forums out there are reporting experiences with being good, where they got burned or "finished last" as the saying goes. They are questioning why they shouldn't just say "screw it" and be bad.

I've written much on the reasons(2) for being ethical, but I need to think more about what it is these people are experiencing and why, when it comes to "losing out" for being good. I suspect there is a fine difference of elements here, where they are mixing together what is good with other things that don't need to coexist with good behavior (for instance, being good is not the same as being naive, not being familiar with evil, and trusting others to be good). I think if I thought more on this, I might be able to provide some helpful input on this issue. We'll see.

(1) It's easy to tell the posters in their late teens-early 20s by the content of their message and form of their posts, as anyone over 30 will confirm. Not that this is a bad thing, just that it's recognizable.

(2) See "The Noble Conspectus - Virtue", and "Principles of Socio-Personal Humanism, Section 2.4".

1 comment:

  1. Younger people experience time in a very different way than older people tend to, it's more of a shorter term perspective. Instead of seeing an overall pattern, they see particular instances, i.e. "In this particular instance, I was good, and the result wasn't the reward I expected." They also may not be understanding what the rewards are supposed to be. If a person is basically good, the reward is that over time other people will see that and it will improve their relationships, and over time the people who were not good will tend to get caught and get punishments. It doesn't mean that each and every time they are good that something preferred will happen. The key idea is one of averaging many moments and having the pattern of life be better. It's not instant, and it takes patience and time to see the true benefits.