Be “Good”

“…to attempt seeing Truth without knowing Falsehood… is the attempt to see the Light without knowing Darkness. It cannot be.”

-Frank Herbert, Dune

After reading Lord of The Flies in 9th grade english class, my teacher, Mrs. Infante, asked us to write an argument essay about whether humans are inherently good or evil. I staunchly defended Good. And I was surprised to learn that several of my classmates went Bad. I don’t remember the exact count, but I needed both hands to do the math. Was this exercise but a trick to get us to reveal our own personal nature? And if so, which champagne glass is poisoned?


I think the takeaway from this assignment was supposed to be, it depends. And a degree in psychology has reinforced this takeaway for me. The truth is, even good intentions can, and often do produce terrible outcomes. Atrocities, even. People have been burned alive in the name of God. Think about that for a minute.


“Be good”


Don’t we all know someone who closes conversations with this buttoner? And don’t you also get the sense that this person once benefitted from hearing it himself?

It’s a wonderful idea, being good. I wouldn’t touch it. In other word, yes, just do that. However, the ugly truth is that you have to watch out for yourself too. You can’t be naive. Because there are takers out there who will siphon your time and energy. In fact, the taking is built in to the system. Capitalism requires scarcity. In its absence, scarcity is created artificially. The major plot line of Dune is two families battling for economic control over a precious psychedelic drug / spice called, “melange.” The adversaries’ scheme is to stockpile the spice, and then destroy all of its production so that they control 100% of the supply, and can then sell it for whatever exorbitant price they wish. Do you think artificial scarcity doesn’t happen all the time in real life?


In order to defeat malevolence, you sometimes have to think malevolently. Being “good” isn’t always so simple.

E.F.

*Dune is soon to be a major motion picture directed by Denis Villeneueve, out October 22, 2021.

Are you interested in Dune? What are your thoughts / observations about the good and evil of the human psyche?
Thanks for reading!

10 thoughts on “Be “Good”

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  1. Hi EF, I think Frank (Herbert) was very good at pointing out that to understand “Good” or “Evil”, light/dark, you have to peer out from whichever side you are in/on to be able to know how the other side works. That is where the “danger” of falling either way is and hence you need Balance. The fans of Star Wars know about Balance (or at least talk about it all the time). I think the trick to all this is “you should do your best to help the most people you can by your actions and not just a minority – plus whatever action you do decide on taking must be done with real care for those you are attempting to help, not just for your own gains.” Basically this sorta combines the Jedi teachings and the Vulcan motto of “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”.
    But I don’t know, I’m an old Jedi and prefer the “do no harm” approach but I might be on the wrong side of the discussion – I know a lot of Sith leaning individuals who think doing things for themselves is good soo…it is all a balance Light/Dark, Day/Night….Good and Evil, they both have to be represented.

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    1. “Peering out from the side you are in/on”… love your “in/on” part bc we can be surprised that we are actually (in) the wrong sometimes, even though we mean well (on). And vice versa!

      Star Wars is such the epitome of this discussion! When I was little I used to think dark side and light were specific to the Star Wars Universe only . Didn’t realize until I got older that these forces exist in real life too. I love the philosophy of the Jedi and Sith. As an adult, my fav scenes have become Luke and Obi-Wan, and Yoda’s talks on the Dagobah swamp planet. As a child they were so boring! You’ve brought up the “certain point of view…” scene before here. Alluding to the story of Anakin Skywalker.

      I remember the opening scene in the new, Star Trek into Darkness, where Spock is totally settled on sacrificing himself, stranded on the volcano planet. A testament to the Vulcan Utilitarian philosophy.

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      1. Hi again, I have to admit when I was younger a lot of the philosophy stuff went over my head (not just cause I was short) I just watched for the show, but as I grew so too did the content of the movies. It is like watching a Swan swimming on a river, they look majestically serene on the surface gliding along but look under the water and all sorts of action is taking place as the Swan’s feet are flapping away. The movies are much more complex than some viewers give them credit for.
        From the Yoda/Luke teachings I learnt that success takes a combination of hard work and belief, which I found to be true when learning 3D modelling. You get amazing results if you put the work in….taking short cuts is quicker but usually leads to disaster. But most importantly you have to do everything with those “best intentions” I sorta alluded to.
        And regarding Star Trek, I just watched Into Darkness – it was part of a Trek marathon on UK channel Film4 recently and led to my Klingon hilts I’ve showcased. I recall Spock in the volcano with the “Deep Freeze Device”. It is amazing how one action has/can have so many knock on effects you don’t expect. Consequences….that’s a whole other conversation right there.

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    1. “Becoming”… might be the very best word to summarize the whole of philosophy!🧐?

      Who are some of your other favorite philosophers?

      Thanks for reminding me of Socrates! I read some of plato’s dialogues (Feat. Socrates, of course) and studied the Socratic method of debate/conversation several years ago and then forgot about it. It is all so valuable. A recipe for living🙏🙂🔮🧞‍♂️

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      1. I have this collection of the Socrates discussions by Plato. It’s a great read.
        Actually, Socrates is one of my great favourites, but also I like Schopenhauer, Spinoza, Kant, Russell, Sartre, and many more! It is always good to get back to root! 😉 Have a nice weekend. 🙏👍🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Being good doesn’t bring many benefits. You meet people who try to exploit you. people who try to abuse you, your time. My parents taught me to be good and honest. Well, most of my pain came to me because of my goodness and generosity. but I believe in good and always try to do good. but the world I see is going to be all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you 😉😘 It’s always hard for me. I was an artist and art therapist. I worked with autistic children. Now covid has destroyed everything. You’re very kind. Have peace and serenity 🌹🌺🌸🌻🌼💐

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