Nov 13, 2012

Good and bad

The notion of good and bad is certainly the most presented in people mind. Since we were a kids, parents tried to teach us what good was, what bad was. Education also aims to help us distinguishing these two concepts. However, the notion hasn’t been clearly defined yet, or at least, it exists no common thought for everybody.

In general, things that make us feel well and happy are considered as good. It is often the case when our desires are fully satisfied. Talking about a little boy who was spoilt by his parents by giving him everything he wishes, other kids might, at first, be jealous of him. But seeing how unhappy he is when he obtains everything he wants and doesn’t know what he really needs anymore or when he will be on the bum, they will realise how lucky they are and thank their parents for not indulging them.

There is a moment when we enjoy the pleasure, and later, when we regret and blame ourselves. Everything that pushes us in this position can’t be regarded as good and should be avoided since the happiness it brings is just ephemeral, while the misfortune, which is the consequence, lasts long time after. 

On the other hand, sometimes we have to suffer first and then rejoice afterward. It is the case of bitter medicine which is, however, good for the health or a very painful operation which can cure the illness and save our life. If we have to choose between short moments of pleasure then a lifelong misfortune and a passing suffering then an eternal happiness, I don’t think most of us will hesitate to opt for this second alternative. As Alain Botton once said: “Not everything that makes us feel better is good for us. Not everything which hurts is bad.”

Copyright text Huong Ly Dang

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