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How Being Good "Shot" Me "In the Foot"

Updated: Feb 21

The Cracks in Goodness: When Intentions Crumble

Recent of my contemplations reveal that, while I strove for the large majority of my life to be morally good, I have basically done so for the, so-called, "wrong" reasons. It can be explained by an anecdote I remember from my childhood: I once smashed an ant with my foot during recess or something. A witness to the "murder" of the ant approached me and asked me:

"Would you want to be smashed too, if you were an ant? After all, we don't choose to be humans just like ants didn't choose to be ants".

At hindsight, that person's question may seem as extremely moral. A former pastoral counselor, Mr. Ronald Wright, defines extreme morality as:

"...The ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of a thought or action taken to a most excessive perspective whether it be to the right of center or to its left. “Extreme” would be to the outer edge or fringe and be characterized by militaristic bravado".

However, when thinking about it further, it expresses the desire to be good for the "wrong" reasons: Just in the name of self-servitude, and nothing further. It does not encourage you to be mindful of the ant and of its daily dangers (like being crushed and so on). It ecourages you to save your own moral character.

The philosophy of being good just to get oneself covered, is basically corrupt, simply because the intention in hand is corrupt, even though it is not truly evil. In other words, that person themselves wouldn't kill the ant because he cares for the life and future of the ant. He merely wants to not be killed themselves, if the roles were reversed, and he were the ant, and the ant were the stepping human. This logical reasoning can hold logical ground if reincarnation is true.

Perhaps this is the reason why I suffered so much throughout my life, even though I wanted to be good at all costs: It was merely for the sake of not being the accused one, the one at fault, and not for the sake of the sanctity of good. Therefore, guilt and shame have their own usefulness.

Breeding Good Sheep, Not Good Humans

To not be the student yelled for not doing their homework; To not be the kid, yelled and punished by his parents, for doing bad things; To be the law-abiding citizen, simply to not be branded a criminal by law enforcement. What broke me mentally was, eventually, the desire to be a good worker, simply for not being condemned as an incompetent and, thus, disposable employee, back in National Service.

My lifelong-growing anxiety to be good, was made simply for not being branded as bad, and not for the sake of serving good, in the name of good itself. That was, and is, ultimately, my karmic sin; the reasoning of my suffering, and ultimately, the catalyst of my "Reaping Fatigue Era", which poorly affected my site's article quality. I avoid any other work than my site because I don't want to risk another era. I had enough but I digress.

The education system is flawed, because we as students were taught to be good simply for our own good, and to escape condemnation by others and by ourselves. That is a flaw, as that philosophy lacks honesty. It lacks the intention of doing good in the name of doing good and in the name of altruism (and thus caring about people other than ourselves). Perhaps, this is why we suffer nowadays. Because we are anxious to "cover our butts" with good deeds, while in reality, care mostly, if not entirely, about ourselves.

This philosophy encourages us to not only be good, but to be bad as well, should we be able to have a front of who we really are, like the character Gus Fring did with his chicken restaurant as a cover for his criminal empire.

This is what creates the fear of coming clean publicly, and the safety, that lies in being fake while committing misdeeds.

Fiction as a Safe Space

Why do we love fiction? We may like fiction for the same reason a smaller portion of us crave video games. Fiction allows us to see characters who are truly honest about themselves, especially the villains, the antagonists. When a fictional villain confesses to the hero their true intentions, they usually do so with little to no regret. If they had regret for the deeds they did, they would not be villains, but anti-villains, or people with a good amount of redeeming qualities.

If we are ourselves the creators of fictional characters, that allows us to be truly honest about our true selves, true a mask and a medium that legitimizes it. You might find out that you discover new things about yourself by creating and developing these characters. You might not confess things to the "mask" of yourself, in real life, as that would have consequences. However, within the realm of fiction, that is not the same. You can be a tyrant, a narcissist, or a vengeance-seeker through murder, and as long as you do so through the mask of fiction, no one will suspect you; because of that, no one will condemn you for murdering a fictional character as much as of a real person.

Unveiling the Human Behind the Persona

The contemporary desire to be good comes from the fear of being condemned as the exact opposite. Due to a desire for an afterlife, as presented in the notion of paradise (paradoxical as paradise is), the religious may desire to be good simply for this reward.

Real life is, eventually, a theater of its own; of people who do not have the guts to confess their true intentions. So, instead, they deceive to cover up their ulterior motives. Some of these intentions, practically, might make us deserve to be condemned. This is why, ultimately, reality contains plenty of fakeness in it. It would only make sense in such a world where working as actors is considered prestigious.

That is true, especially when you climb the social ranks, and become a public figure. As a public figure, you eventually have to "sell" the public on what they truly want. To follow and elect a person who is honest and just, even if, in reality, you are not at all that. After all, it's easier for the mind to deny the uncomfortable truth. And if you're good at doing it, you can be evil and cruel in its cover, as expressed in Mr. John Duran's Story, "For the King's Royal Pleasure", which I analyzed.

Thus, the more popular you are, the more you will have to, eventually, hide things from the world, either through keeping secrets, through deception, or both.

The world does not have to be a "dog-eat-dog" world, but it nonetheless is because it is inhabited by a bunch of cowards who normalize their cowardice into the population. Cowards, who would refuse to crush ants, simply because they fear the reality where they are crushed themselves. Or for that metaphor to work better, they would crush ants in secrecy, and market themselves as peaceful, powerful people who wouldn't crush ants nor hurt a fly.

But if we were more honest with ourselves, not in private but in public, THAT is when we would be capable of healing ourselves and our morality through redemption and atonement.

Breaking the Chains of Hypocrisy

Ultimately, why do I write so much? It is simply an escape. Not an escape from reality, but from the dangers of mental illness, in the name of mental survival. That is the truth. I simply want to contribute, merely for the sake of not deeming my life worthless, and that of a parasite, who lives on welfare money, or a "klumnik".

Thus, despite my good nature, I am, nonetheless, corrupted by moral egoism, and I have no one to blame but myself. That is what led me to suffer so much in this life, despite the fact that I did my best to not do anything wrong.

It is time to end the hypocrisy that lies behind being good; the one that educates people, but does not enlighten them to be sincere, to come clean. In the end, even if it's a generalization, we are all hypocrites in our own way, simply by the fact that we do not come clean with our true intentions.

We can learn from the General Skarr Allegory how miserable one can be when they are not fully honest with themselves about their intentions.

Ms. Tamara Moskal's Counter Arguement

"Good deeds to satisfy somebody’s ego are good deeds and there is nothing wrong about satisfying yourself if you do good Doing good from fear is similar; as long as people do good, it’s fine."

The question I (Mr. Tomasio) ask to you is: Is it good to live in fear just to be good? Is living under constant fear, good for our mental health? Take note that fear can negatively impact health in general.

By the same token, should we sacrifice our mental health on the altar of morality, when we can be moral without this sacrifice? This leads to a problem I'd like to call "The Same Result Problem". In other words, genuine concern for other beings is preferable than living in constant fear and/or anxiety from punishment even if both lead to the same positive result.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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