Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm A Good Guy, Right? RIGHT!

If you were able to conduct a worldwide survey you'd find that the vast majority of human beings thing they are "good."

Most of us define good pretty simply. Good means, "not as bad as that guy over there." The anonymous guy we compare ourselves to varies depending on the situation, but invariably, all of us can find someone who makes us look "good."

I was thinking about the shifting definition of good the other day during a argument discussion with my wife. We were talking about some of the things most married people talk about, and it came to me in a flash that we just had different ideas about what was "good." What she finds unacceptable, I often find "good," and what I find trifling, she thinks is no big deal.

I remember one argument we had about cleaning. I was complaining about her failure to do an adequate job. She was noting that she had spent hours working on the problem, and didn't need to hear from me that her efforts were lacking. After all, she asked, who decided I got to say what qualified as "clean." I wanted to say that everybody knows what "clean" is, but in a way, it's all relevant.

This concept applies to more than just cleaning the bathroom or cooking dinner. All of us walk around with different ideas about what is acceptable behavior and what is beyond the pale. It's no surprise that it's so hard for us to find a consensus on equality or racism, there are millions of different opinions in this country alone about what those words truly mean.

One of the things I'm constantly amazed about in life is how each one us carries around our own self-contained world in our heads. Although we share the same Earth, it's like there are actually 7 billion Earths because each of us creates our own world every second. People complain about the strife that dominates human civilization, but when you really think about it, it's a miracle there isn't even more violence.

Let's be clear, I'm not arguing that there aren't some definite agreed upon values that are "good" and some values that are "bad." This isn't one of those calls for everybody to just do whatever feels good. For Christians, we've agreed that the values of the Bible and God will be our values. We have a template, a set of standards to adhere to regardless of what we think.

Many of you who are not Christians have your own personal tenets that you hold dear. Hopefully you're willing to live according to those values even when it's easier to cast them aside.

However, I think it's foolish not to understand that many of our values are the result of a consensus that didn't exist 50 years ago, and may not exist 50 years from now. To a certain degree, we recreate "good" and "bad" everyday based on the values we choose to adopt and follow.

Just something I was thinking about while fighting loving my wife.










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19 comments:

Deacon Blue said...

Myself, I think I'm far more likely to think that I'm "right" than to think that I'm "good." I tend to err highly on the side of caution with the latter, and work from the assumption that I only kinda "act good." ;-)

But a good post, and it is amazing to consider, as you note, the relatively small amount of strife among humans compared to what probably should be going on with our billions of colliding worldviews.

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man,

How are you not describing the growing radical autonomist paradigm? That lessening of "strife" that Deacon speaks of is just a product of extreme autonomy. We first become tolerant of greater strife and then we simply define it into normalcy and erase it as any notion of strife.

Thordaddy said...

Just look at radical homosexuality at prime example. The problem of course is that the radical autonomist is not aware that everyone else can see him. So when the radical homosexual references the latest poll indicating the growing tolerance of homosexuality in society especially amongst younger people, it's as though no one was supposed to SEE what led to this CHANGE. This is an effect of radical autonomy. It's as though you fed your new baby puppy his own bowl of crap and after four days of the bowl not being touched, it's licked clean. The question is WHY have you come to believe that your puppy likes bowls of crap as opposed to simply avoiding pains of hunger...?

Because you are a radical autonomist that worships an autonomous god. Ergo, you are a LIBERAL "Christian." This analysis fits Deacon, too!

LightWorker said...

"However, I think it's foolish not to understand that many of our values are the result of a consensus that didn't exist 50 years ago, and may not exist 50 years from now. To a certain degree, we recreate "good" and "bad" everyday based on the values we choose to adopt and follow."

Impressive. You tapped into your personal reservoir of infinite knowledge--but how far are you willing to go, how much of the implications of your statement are you willing to accept?

This "consensus" of which you speak is, oftentimes, the result of our own personal experience, those experiences that have shaped our own values, and they're not, necessarily, or always, values formed as a result of general agreement or accord.

Taken to its fullest degree, its farthest point, this is how some have stated it:

"Nothing in my world is real.
The meaning of everything is the meaning I give it.
I am who I say I am;
my experience is what I say it is."

Hearing it stated this bluntly, you'll either recoil, because it's too radical, or you'll say, aha!

Either way, it doesn't matter. It all comes together, falls into place, in the end.

Big Man said...

Thor

You are a funny cat. I've peeped how you practice Christianity homie. You need to check your beam before you try to handle my mote.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

"To a certain degree, we recreate "good" and "bad" everyday based on the values we choose to adopt and follow."

Ain't that the truth!

Deacon Blue said...

radical BLAH is the cause of so much radical [insert ethnic/racial/religious/ideological group here] and you radical WHATEVERS are so radically radical in your radical views that differ from my totally non-radical level-headed views and Deacon Blue and Lil Man are so freaking radical but not in a good way. RADICAL!

-- Thordaddy's template

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man,

I noticed how you didn't disagree that we are living in an increasingly autonomized society. In fact, you basically agree that we live in a time where more and more people believe that truth is relative and Absolute Truth is false. In short, we are living in a time where people don't really believe in truth at all.

That fact that you and I look at Christianity differently goes without saying. We are here determining who is being more faithful to the creed. You are a self-described liberal Christian and I am a believer in God with a strong inclination towards the Christian God as the One True God. Of course, this actually means something, but you don't seem to recognize what it means.

First, it means that God-ordained man/woman marriage is both Truth and YOUR opinion. Now, this not a contradiction because your opinion happens to be the Truth as you so assert. So the question becomes why the need to state that such Truth is your also your opinion? The answer can be narrowly discerned. Either you are uncertain about the Truth of God-ordained marriage, but nonetheless maintain it as Truth or you are simply following the liberal tendency of holding all "truths" to be relative. You are in effect implying your Truth to be false. You are implying that other truths have validity and here you are as a supporter of gay "marriage." This is as solid evidence as one will obtain in determining whether someone believes that marriage is something other than a God-ordained man/woman union.

Thordaddy said...

Deacon,

Look how treat the word "radical." It's both something you see yourself as and something you don't want others to see you as. Interracial marriage, profanity-laced blog authored by a Deacon, supporter of defining marriage out of existence and supporter of a mother's right to kill her child in utero, are defining aspects of the deacon blue. But ultimately, you believe your mother had a fundamental right to kill you. Meaning, if she would have killed you she would have been exercising a fundamental right with a clear understanding that this exercising was GOOD.

When you look at these bare-bone facts, you can see how incredibly radical you are and why you do not want these facts to be widely known. I mean, what's more radical
than believing in the goodness of your own annihilation?

Thordaddy said...

^^^Look how [YOU] treat...

Big Man said...

Thor

Produce for me one instance of me describing myself as a liberal Christian?

That is a blatant lie. You have defined me as liberal and have made all of your comments based on that definition. You will be unable produce a single instance of me saying that.

But, you keep on looking. I have no desire to argue with you about who is more faithful. You judge a tree by the fruit it bears.

The world can see your fruit and my own. So can God. We shall all see in the end.

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man,

So you are not a liberal Christian? And this isn't an argument about who is more faithful, but which of our versions of the truth is most truthful?

But that is easily answered by the fact that you're basically a relativist.

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man,

In this game, calling a dude a liar is the same as telling your readers to read what he actually says. First, you didn't notice any quote marks around my characterization of you, did you? Meaning, I DIDN'T quote you. Instead, I merely indicated your position as it has been described in your writings.

If it is not liberal Christian, then what is it...? Radical autonomist? Retract your false accusation or you become mini-man. Remember, you still think a believer in a mother's "fundamental right" to kill her child in utero can call himself a Christian because he happens to have black skin. If this isn't filtering your information through the liberal filter, what is it?

LisaMJ said...

This is a really interesting analysis. In many ways we are all constantly living out the movie "Rashamon" and it is hard to know which version is really the truth. Lately it has become clearer and clearer to me that we all have such different views on so many things and perceive things so differently that it is amazing that we seem to have common definitions for so many things yet see those very things so differently.

Big Man said...

Thor

You wrote:"You are a self-described liberal Christian and I am a believer in God with a strong inclination towards the Christian God as the One True God."

No need for me to call you a liar if you didn't lie. I didn't twist your words, you lied. "Self-described" is self-explanatory.

But, you keep doing your thing.

Big Man said...

One last thing.

You say I'm "basically a relativist."

Why the "basically?"

Am I relativist, or am I not?

Can't be "basically a relativist" either you or, or you're not.

Either I have a concrete value system that I apply to every situation, or I make up my value syste as I go.

Which one is it Thor?

Anonymous said...

Интересно написано....но многое остается непонятнымb

Anonymous said...

Интересно написано....но многое остается непонятнымb

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently discussing about the prevalence of technology in our day to day lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.


I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as memory becomes cheaper, the possibility of transferring our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about almost every day.


(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://kwstar88.livejournal.com/491.html]R4i[/url] DS ZKwa)

Raving Black Lunatic