jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

That's the most commonly rendered version of Google's motto, which most people invoke ironically these days as they point out the latest evil thing Google did. But you can do a lot of evil stuff without ever seeing yourself as evil. And if you're measuring how good you are by how evil someone else is, you get to be one of those people who wants a cookie for not being as terrible as someone else.

I personally feel that if you are alive, then you deserve to be alive, by default and until proven otherwise. I believe that "kindness is goodness;" that you are a good person just for being the kind of person you are, and that if anyone says otherwise or tries to prevent you from being yourself then they are being unkind to you.

I believe that some people are damaged, disabled, marginalized, or ill. I believe they deserve to exist, and to participate fully in society. I think it is the responsibility of abled people to accommodate them. I believe in solidarity with these people, and in giving up privilege or inconveniencing myself in order to keep them from having to do without things that they need or that I take for granted. I believe this is best done not through individual acts, but as a society, so that the responsibility is spread out and so that they do not need to beg.

I believe that some people are dangerous, including (but not limited to) carnivores, narcissists, and white European Americans. I don't believe that being dangerous means that a person is evil or must be destroyed. I believe there are ways to coexist, that do not have to involve harming innocents. But I believe that the burden is on the most dangerous people to find those ways, not on their victims. And I sympathize with those who resist them.

I believe that Chaotic Neutral is the best D&D alignment, because I feel it encompasses (or can encompass) all of the above. I believe you don't have to be "good" to be kind to others and empathize with them. I believe that the concept of "good" is overrated, and is often used to cover for dangerous people's actions, or to condemn those who resist them as "evil."

If "good" exists objectively, it is willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another. I don't feel that it's needed in order to be kind to others, because I feel that most people are naturally kind (or at least not dangerous) so long as their needs are met. But I do feel that kindness -- both in the sense of being yourself, and respecting the rights of others to do the same -- is a prerequisite for the kind of self-sacrifice that is helpful.

Otherwise, you end up seeing self-sacrifice as good in and of itself. You don't trust people who don't give up enough of themselves for "the greater good." And you give your all for other people, who you then expect to do the same for others, until there's no kindness left in the universe because everyone's trying so hard to be "good."

Or at least, to appear good. Which is much easier.

Date: 2014-07-15 09:08 am (UTC)
burning_ground: (Default)
From: [personal profile] burning_ground
*nods* The only thing that I've been able to pin down as being pretty solidly good is devoting oneself to the work of helping people become and be themselves. I think that, to borrow the language used here: becoming and being oneself may be to kindness, as helping others to do the same is to goodness?

It's a tricky feat, the whole helping others to become and to be thing, because a large part of it involves escaping the socially-agreed-upon morals that people hold up as "good". So, rather than devotion to "good", it's more of a devotion to finding what works—finding what actually helps—which is oftentimes a far more chaotic process.

I've appreciated your thoughts on the topic of goodness, and I think that your perspective about these things is valuable. Thank you for sharing it~!

Date: 2014-07-15 10:50 am (UTC)
burning_ground: (Default)
From: [personal profile] burning_ground
Heh, ditto on pretty much every point there!

Date: 2014-07-15 03:37 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
I like this.

I particularly like how you handle the idea of being dangerous - doesn't mean one is evil, just that one may need to be careful.

Your thoughts on the appearance of goodness being corrosive to actual goodness are both very interesting, and similar to what I've been thinking about politeness and respect.

It seems to me that the more polite somebody is (as in, conforming to the societal expectations of 'what someone should do in their place'), the less likely they are to actually respect people who, for any reason or none at all, vary from that.

I wonder if these are related things?

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