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It's impossible to be good.

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Israel Salvador, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Israel Salvador

    Israel Salvador New Member

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    It is impossible to be "good." For the sake of this post, to be "good" is to be of favorable character, which is achieved through actions that are considered above and beyond what is acceptable. To be good, you have to do good things, but these good deeds are only considered "good" because society says they are. So, what happens when a "good person" is put in a society with opposing values? Is he then considered evil?

    See, the only thing humans value is their own lives; genocide is horrible when they are committed against creatures that they find favorable, but it is "the right thing to do" when it is committed against creatures they find vulgar or threatening. We are only as good as society allows us to be. In the words of Franz Boas himself, "civilization is not something absolute, but ... is relative, and ... our ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes."
     
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  2. ZacharyCoss

    ZacharyCoss New Member

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    I must say, Israel, I mostly agree with you & it’s interesting to take a step back, as you have, & observe human events from a complete outsiders perspective. That being said, don’t you think this idea is somewhat pessimistic? I acknowledge that pessimism is another human construct, merely a result of one of our evolutionary processes that encourage optimism, but is it fair to say there is an objective “good” that humans cannot achieve because because of societies subjectivity? You hint that “good” & “bad” are nothing more than ideas that rest on the standards of those who create them. But doesn’t this mean that, through their eyes, someone could objectively be their own subjective idea of good? Just something to think about.
     
  3. Wolfgirl

    Wolfgirl New Member

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    An interesting point, although I think maybe a different definition of "good" may change the game here. Not a radical change, but just a small one. Rather than "goodness" being socially acceptable behaviour, is goodness behaviour that benefits other people?

    In that case, I think it's entirely possible to be good; however, it relies on judgement for what would be the most beneficial for the people around us, and that's where the question of subjectivity comes into it.
     
  4. robyn

    robyn New Member

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    In the eyes of other people, you may be perceived as good or bad so I completely agree with you. No one is truly good, No one can please everyone.
    We think we're good, when we do something right or what we think is right. As I said, we think its right but for other people, it could completely go against what's right for them.
     
  5. Dawid Kozik

    Dawid Kozik New Member

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    I understand what you mean but my opinion is that you're wrong. Not entirely though!

    I agree, "good" and "bad" are societally subjective and relative. However, there is also an objective morality in place. In order to have those subjective views in society, it needs an overarching template to base itself off. I don't think anybody knows much about objective morality but we know that we have some views that are not based on society. They're something inside us. We can feel it. Perhaps it's different for every species? Perhaps it's the same? Who knows? In any case, let's take a basic one as an example.

    Murder for no reason is wrong.

    I can't think of a society where that's alright. Can you? Even in the animal kingdom, I'm not aware of any animals that would murder for no reason. Are you?

    My theory is that there are some morals that are biological. It probably is confirmed. We are social creatures; why would we want to kill people for no reason naturally? (in a human without conditions like Psychopathy)

    In addition, you're awfully sure that the only thing we value is ourselves. Genocide is only wrong when it's a favorable species? Ha. What pessimistic nonsense.

    Genocide is wrong no matter what. Nobody has the right to decide what species deserves to live or die. I have this belief. Whether it's biological or societal, I'm not sure. However, this disproves your other theory of the only societal morals. I can find someone in America or England who believes X should be wiped out. If it was purely societal, we would all believe the same thing. But we don't! Why? Because it isn't purely societal. Our biological beliefs are a huge factor. Our environment is a huge factor too. If we live around dead bodies constantly, that'll change our views from if we lived in a place where nobody died. (Environment is not societal, it's only linked like all beliefs are)

    I don't only value my life, or humanity's. I value many things. I value kindness. I value moral things. I value a good society. I can list many more.

    TL;DR: You're almost right.
     
  6. AYSHAJ

    AYSHAJ New Member

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    The answer to this is maybe yes or maybe no. It all depends upon the society how they judge your action. According to society, a good person is one who follows all norms of society. If we are challenging or opposing the conservative thought and belief of society it means we are having a value that is acceptable in society.

    If we take the example of marriage, we are good if we marry a stranger according to our parents' wishes in the same religion, caste, and culture. But if we marry someone of our own choice who we like or understand then we are doing something which is not accepted in society and we are setting a bad example for society.
     
  7. Murtles2017

    Murtles2017 New Member

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    An interesting take on goodness, but by the same logic, doesn't this inability to reach absolute "good" in society also make absolute "bad" or "evil" just as unattainable?
    Of course, that's not to say one should strive to be evil, but it would be ignorant to say nobody does. The thing we must remember when solving for an absolute in any equation is you must have absolute variables to start with. Human perception alone provides unstable and highly differing variables.
    Plainly stated, striving for a grey area where our good actions and qualities outweigh our bad is a more realistic life goal. In addition, not assigning absolute value to a person based on a single action or small sample of behavior allows us and those around us to explore our own definitions of right/wrong, good/bad, and create our own values and morals.
     
  8. Stephan Vas

    Stephan Vas New Member

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    That's fascinating thought! I would like to add that it is impossible to be a good person even in a world which has the same values as you do. You can not live your life without harming yourself or other people. I always keep that in mind. People have different values and motivations, miscommunication is a natural thing in our world. I formed my own definition of being good - being good for myself and trying not to harm other people. It is unavoidable, but we still can minimize the damage we cause. A profound analysis of your values helps you to be the right person too.
     
  9. Ruellyn Ortega

    Ruellyn Ortega New Member

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    Well, this is really interesting topic. But considering that being "good" is about doing 'good deeds,' then maybe we should think if every 'good deeds' that we've done we're coming from our heart and not because the society told us. One should not always consider what people think of us, but rather we should think of what's good to us and others. As long as we did not hurt ourselves and other people, then we're good to do things we like.
     

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