What does “being good,” mean? Are integrity and character important? Is being “ethically fit” beneficial to us in the here and now? Philosophers, spiritual thinkers, and religious leaders have pondered these questions throughout the ages. They are even harder to answer today, when it seems as if the fame and fortune of others are a result of so much outrageous, unethical, and just plain bad behaviour. Is striving to be a good person worth it in a world where, too often, people seem to get ahead by being bad? What does being “ethically fit” do for us in the long run? As we are well into the millennium, is being “moral” an old-fashioned notion or a modern human necessity? Do our politicians, corporations, public institutions, and small businesses really profit when they leave ethics behind? In a time when behaving badly is financially rewarded, the question must be asked, why be good?
In order to be able to fully answer the question, one must first evaluate the criteria on which the value Good is associated upon. What is good? What is bad? These are the questions, which must first be answered before we can truly understand why to be good or bad.
In John Stewart Mill’s opinion and my eyes, it is much easier to determine what a bad event is, rather than a good one. The reason for this is simple. If the end result of the action is harm, it is therefore bad.
Anything, which harms the body or the mind of a person, can therefore be classified as bad. So, in accordance John Stewart Mill’s harm theory to define a good action would be also easy. Meaning that anything, which doesn’t cause harm is a good action. However, this is where the problems begin to arise, as the very much black and white clear area of bad, is now a grey unclear area for good. Questions and examples can be brought forward to challenge Mill’s Harm theory of good and bad.
For example, in accordance to John Mill’s theory, if I am watching a young child drown in a river, I would be doing a good action. This is classed as a good action in this theory because I am not causing any harm to the child, who is drowning, and therefore I am not creating harm myself, and so I am good.
Now it is clear that its certainly impossible to use John Stewart Mill’s harm theory to class what a good or a bad action is, so I’m right back where I started. So Lets take a new approach.
Lets look at the benefits of being good. Surely there must be some nice perks for a lifetime of smiling and happy faces! The following reasons are in no order of importance.
Number one. Because if everyone acted this way we’d live in a beautiful world.
Think about this and ask yourself. Has the greatest amount of your personal pain come from people or from natural causes? I thought about this for about 10 seconds and soon realised that the majority would usually indicate that most of their suffering has come from people. People hurt people.
Reason two to be good. Because you will like yourself more.
I think self-esteem is earned, not made up in your head. When you do so called “good things” you gain self esteem!
Reason three for why be good. Because you will probably be treated better.
Generally speaking, people who act good tend to be treated good. It’s not a written rule and is doesn’t apply to children!
We may have been scarred as a child by trying to be good and getting beaten up. And the bully got the girl.
Aren’t you more likely to be good towards someone who treats you good?
Number four. Because it makes you feel good.
Compare how you feel after going to a movie or sporting event or some fun thing and how you feel after visiting a hospital or any good deed.
You’ll find that doing good makes you feel good.
It feels good to do good.
The trouble is you don’t wake up in the morning wanting to do good. That’s not the way we’re built.
Reason five. Because you know how much you want others to be good.
Think about it. Is there anything in your life more important than that other people be good to you? So isn’t it obvious that’s what they want from you. Peer pressure, in a good way.
Number six. Because God said so.
Even if you are an atheist, you should understand that if there’s no God who wants you to be good, there aren’t always that many persuasive reasons for doing good.
I don’t believe that God was invented so we could have goodness. I don’t believe that He’s an instrumentality of morality.
Do understand that God is a necessary component in many people’s lives for being good, particularly when push comes to shove.
Reason seven. Because a part of you wants to be good.
This even includes a lot of people who do evil who also want to do good. Such people often call the evil they do good. Hitler believed that by exterminating Jews he was doing the Lord’s work….
So there you have it, a simple list of reasons why to be a good person. But do these facts out weigh the reasons to be bad? What are the benefits of being bad? Let’s take a look.
Number one. You get a rush or feeling of power.
When your in control, you feel alive and strong. People claim that this is the ultimate rush of being bad. But where else does this leave you?
Number two. You can do what you want.
You want something, you take it. You need something, you take it. You hate something, you kill it. You feel aroused, you go to a prostitute. You feel hungry, you rob a grocery store. You have a disagreement with somebody, you don’t listen to what that have to say. The list goes on.
However. This bad list relays on your physical ability to steal, rape, maim and kill as-well as your metal ability to be as ignorant as possible.
I think that the sole reason that you should be good is that you are more likely to be happy. This is because, soon after a week of being bad, nobody will like you for who you are, and so any friends you have, would also be bad people and only interested in your friendship out of some sort of gain for themselves, financially or otherwise.
The reasons why people can be content are easily listed, according to John Finnis these reasons are –
– Life, living.
– Aesthetic Experience
– Practical Reason
These reasons are clear enough for most people to understand. To be able to truly have these things, you must be good. For a bad person, would not be partaking in practical reason, nor would they receive real friendship.
I think that the list of the benefits to be bad are simply more publicised, and so therefore the general public find it easier to be bad and see the gains of being a “bad person” in a simple light. I think I am a good person, for reasons I don’t wish to disclose, but think about this. If I were a bad person, would I have done this essay?