THE WAY TO LIVE_DOT II (YOURSELF) // CHAPTER 13
As we’ve decided, our goal is to live a life of meaning. To make an impact. We want to do what is right; we want to do what is good. So how do we decide what is good?
We mostly think that the things we want are good things. But good things are not always good for us. Junk food is an example. Fried chicken is delicious. That makes us want it because it tastes good. Isn’t fried chicken unhealthy? Yes, that makes us not want it because it’s bad for us. We want it, because it tastes good, but we shouldn’t want it, because it’s bad for us.
It may seem that things that are painful are bad because we often think pain is bad. But many things that are painful are not things we should avoid. Working out is often painful. Therefore, is it bad? Working out also increases my health and quality of life, so it’s good. So, what is painful is not always bad. Life, like food and exercise, is often confusing, as you can see. Things that feel good are sometimes bad. Things that feel bad are sometimes good. Salad tastes so bad, how could it possibly be good for us?
How do we know we are doing what is good and not bad? How do we know we are doing the right thing and not the wrong thing? We are often counseled to look at what prevailing culture establishes as acceptable and use that as a template. Alas, we know the folly of this. For a long period of human history, slavery was not just acceptable, it was seen as good. Racism in the form of segregation was also seen as ethical and moral at one time. There is much about our world today that may be seen as good and desirable now, but that doesn’t make these things so.