Posted by: dacalu | 29 November 2016

Philosophical Goodness

In a previous post, I mentioned my philosophy of the Good. In short, things that are Good are worthy of my attention, love, and respect. I recognize the Good. I do not label it. All things are Good and curiosity is my creed. Without curiosity, there can be no love and love is the highest good. I can imagine several potential philosophical objections, which I wanted to address.

First, I am claiming that all actual things are good, but potential things may not be good. It is easy to imagine Evil, but that is not the same as recognizing Evil in an actual thing. Those things that I encounter are Good and I seek to respect that goodness in everyone (and every thing) I meet.

Second, I am claiming that all desires are good, but not that all desires are good in any context. This requires shifting perspective from “desire to harm” to, for example, “desire to help someone else without regard to harm” or “desire for balance/justice/mercy without regard to proportion.” There is a core good desire at the root of every desire, though it may appear monstrous or out of place in a specific context. Still every person is, I believe, motivated by a desire for some genuine aspect of the Good. This allows me to respect their motivations even when disagreeing very strongly with their acts.

Third, I am claiming that all actual states of affairs are good. This is the most difficult claim. They often appear Evil in local context, but are at the universal level, Good. Thus, a murder is not good in the microcosm and yet, in the cosmos, it reveals what is in the murderer’s heart and presents an opportunity for grace. It is not, in itself, Evil; it is the manifestation of an imbalance. Being manifested, the imbalance is more visible to self and neighbor and may be addressed by grace and mercy. This is shown most clearly in the Crucifixion, which lanced the boil of human sin. It must not be viewed as a Good act and yet it can only be viewed as an act by which mercy prevailed. That mystery writ large in Christ appears daily in the smallest acts of humanity. Thus, I side with Leibowitz in claiming that this is mysteriously the best of all worlds. Once again, the claim does not simply flow from logical necessity. (God is all Good and all powerful; therefore, creation is Good.) It also flows from pragmatic concerns. (Only by thinking all things Good may I act for the greatest Good in creation.) It also flows from self-reflection. (I genuinely find most things Good. And, my assumption that unknown things are Good is self-reinforcing. I see new Goodness more easily by looking for the Good in all things.)

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