The one fun part of therapy is the conversations and discussions that come up. Recently, I had a lovely conversation with a client. They proposed the question of if we are good then don’t we all deserve good things. And this isn’t the first time I have heard this question but it is the one question that I do get asked the most. And it is one of my favourite questions, mostly because there is no right answer and it revolves around perspective and thought.
Let me break my thoughts down for you. I do believe that we are all inherently good. Yes, we are also all capable of doing bad things, but if given the chance I want to believe we will do what is morally good. The moralistic perspective allows us to know the difference between right and wrong and hence the dichotomy exists and we have structure in play. However, it does exist in isolation and does not really consider context because there is no space for the greys. Hence, moral dilemmas exist. But let’s explore the polarity of right and wrong, good and bad, for a moment. We all have an understanding of the polarities and that could come from many different influences. In a collectivistic society like India where there is a lot of focus on values that we develop from family, society, etc. We learn a lot of our moral values from families. We are taught right from wrong, good from bad, etc. It is even validated in our personal belief systems through religion and traditions. For example, Do good and go to heaven- do bad and go to hell; Or even Santa will put you on the naughty and nice list. There are many instances where we are taught and influenced by this polarity. And this is seen in a more objective way.
Let’s take context into consideration, like societal pressure to do good - could be seen in situations where I need to be a good student, good child, etc; Or even considering validation where good is rewarded and bad is punished in class. Personal context could be our intentions for doing a certain thing - we behave in a good way so that we get appreciation and affection. And then context falls a bit beyond the scope of objective morality. But that is fair, because we are human and the human experience will mostly fall on a spectrum rather than a polarity.
Let’s also consider the correlation between being good equals deserving good. How did this correlation even come into play because there is no scientific evidence for it. Is there a link between how you are and what you deserve?
Even if we consider concepts like Karma, which suggest that when you do good, good will come back to you (plot twist) in your next life. So is it basic conditioning that proposes this idea of deserving good or where does it come from.
I also believe that everyone is deserving of all things good. This is however not in isolation. When we choose to be good, that is also not in isolation that we are capable of doing bad things or that we do bad things. The same goes with deserving good, just because we deserve good things doesn't mean that the bad ceases to exist. That brings up the question of can anything really exist in isolation?
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