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Goodness sounds simple enough. Do good things and someone (perhaps even yourself) will get some sort of benefit in return.

However, doing good deeds has become distorted for many. All my life I have heard people tell me, dictate to others, or make remarks for their self-aggrandizement - that the reason you (or they) do good is so that, in the end...you will be "saved," go to a "higher place," reach the "top of the mountain," get into "heaven," or some other greater reward that becomes attached to the act itself. I never bought into that. I understand it...but it doesn't ring true to me.

Shouldn't we do good things for the sake of just doing good things. Isn't it selfish to want to do good for some reward at the end of life, the road, or the relationship. Whatever happened to good for goodness sake?! If you extrapolate it...doesn't doing good for a "higher" selfish reward, or other "grander" motive kind of cancel the goodness out? I know that from the point of the good deed it doesn't (it still happened), but from the overall perspective...it sort of does.

Perhaps we need to complicate our lives, makes things more than they are, or give a greater justification to being a good person. Personally, I think being a good person is justification enough. We're only here for a finite amount of time. None of us really knows what happens after we're gone. Except, perhaps, that our intrinsic energy and physical being gets dispersed into the universe and/or the Earth to be recycled into whatever - electricity, air molecules, soil, food, other people's energy, or a myriad of other uses.

So...rather than put some hypothetical reason onto doing good, or being a good person, why not just do good. Be kind, be respectful, be loving, be caring, be good for goodness sake. And - do it, not for some grand reward, but...because it's the right thing to do. Oh yeah - and from a slightly, less grander, perspective...it just may make you feel good too.



Miriam
5/23/2012 07:17:23 pm

i agree with the basic premise, but shouldn't the reason behind doing the good deed not matter as long as that deed gets done?

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Dan Goldberg
5/24/2012 07:35:19 am

Miriam,

I agree...doing a good deed is the primary objective. As long as it's done, that's a wonderful thing! However, I'm really speaking about the view from the "giver's" perspective. The deed itself is good no matter what the reason was for doing it. But - when looking at the reason the "giver" did it - that's where the problem (or paradox) rests.

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