Section 1: The Ideal Being
Many people lose sight of what is important when determining what a good person TRULY is. What most people would consider to be a good person is humility, selflessness, caring, generosity, kindness, etc. Others believe that a good person is measured by how much he does and accomplishes in life rather than by what he does for others. Here in lies the problem. Youll never be a truly great person if you focus all your energy on personal wealth. In the same respects, a great person cant simply lose sight of helping themselves either. After all, doesnt it read in the Bible that God helps those who help themselves.? A good person is someone who finds the middle road. A person who cuts it down the middle. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a wonderful example of this. Dr. King focused his efforts towards achieving a goal that was as much for others as it was for himself. He deeply cared about the black community being free, but dont kid yourself; he wasnt above oppression of any kind as his untimely death may indicate. Taking a side of complete altruism over egoism is a stance that merely leads to an inferiority complex and a great lack of self-esteem. Taking a stance of egoism over altruism is a clear road to despair and regret. Altruism, while externally good for a person, will kill their spirit internally. When everything that you do revolves around the idea that everyone else comes first and you come second, you outcast yourself. Your mission becomes one of servitude and loneliness. No one always wants to be the host of the party. Sometimes its nice to let someone else have that privilege. Altruism obviously has its benefits. It is great for the spirit in many ways when taken in moderation. There is no greater satisfaction for many people than the realization that they have helped someone else. Even that, however, can be an egotistical idea however. If you help someone that could not help themselves do you not at least feel some sort of feeling of superiority over that person? You were in a position that they needed to be in and you rose to the occasion. As sad as that is, it is the truth although at least half of the reason behind good deeds is that you want to help someone for no other reason than the simple truth that it is the right thing to do. Egoism is a dangerous place to be as well. You always hear that people look back on their lives and are filled with regrets of not ever doing any charity work, not being with their families, and that they were money-driven. I have received many breaks in my life from some of the most unlikely sources, so when I deem it appropriate and possible, I give back when I can, but I hardly inconvenience myself or even take a loss for someone elses benefit. It is true that accomplishments that benefit you as an individual should be taken with great amounts of pride. Standing before something which you have created or accomplished is no small task and is something you should be proud of, but when you begin to feel that you are not only great for your accomplishment, but actually better than all predecessors, you have crossed the line. This is a big reason that Malcolm Xs call for a rise of the black community to take over never worked. Dr. King wanted a rise, too. A rise to equality. That is why Dr. King was more effective. You can only overcome evil with good. Evil v. evil is a dark place to live in. Pitting force against force, anger against anger, and strength versus strength, there will be a huge, disastrous, catastrophic boiling point from which, when the smoke clears, there will be no one left, and no progress will be made. The desire to be better than what you are is only human. The desire to become better than what you are by destroying what the current establishment has built is unhealthy.
Section 2: The Antithesis
For every good there must be a bad. For every question, there must be a response. So, for every great person, there must be an evil to counter it. There would be no good if there was no evil. Perhaps, the most evil, maniacal, self-serving individual of our time is Charles Manson. Charles Manson is the most dangerous of all the maniacs behind bars. He doesnt kill anyone. He doesnt have to. He is able to manipulate people into doing his bidding. Charlie Manson is the type of lunatic that his ideas are so far out of the realm of possibility and reality that they almost seem feasible. Charles Manson, of course, is not the only evil. The term evil is so broad that it is hard to pick just a couple people to describe. The problem with most people is that they look with tunnel-vision. Very few people have the capacity to look at a situation and realize the magnitude of the actions and consequences of those actions. The main question to ask yourself in any situation is, Do the ends justify the means? While this may not entirely conform to a Utilitarian perspective of life, it is a necessity. You cant say, Well, feeding that child to a vicious tiger made 100 people happy, so it must have been worth it. There has to be some inherent evil and innocent murder or anything that harms someone for your own personal gain is wrong. There is always another way. It may be harder, but trust me, being able to look yourself in the mirror in the morning is entirely worth it. Charles Mansons appeal to others, as is the case with most cults, is that a ringleader came up with a few inane ideas on politics and life and was very vocal about them. He justified his thoughts that were even more inane than the ones being justified. When your audience is a group of disenfranchised teenagers, it is easy to appeal to them. All you have to do is give them ideas that they can adopt as their own. They would much rather regurgitate what some acid dealer spouted off than look deep inside themselves, at what they have done, where they have been and what they aspire to be to formulate opinions of their own. People like this are the true evil. They would rather corrupt others and lead them into temptations of wrongdoing to do their bidding for them than take a stand on their own. There arent but a few rules of engagement concerning human encounters. One of them in this book of unwritten rules is that you are ultimately responsible for your own destiny and need to act accordingly. You are an individual, no matter what society tries to tell you. Regardless of the fact that society keeps trying to mainstream education, social classes, politics, religion, and even morals in order to create a mindless utopia, you cant ever be anyone but you. Individuals are always the most successful at life. People, like Manson, David Koresh, and Applewhite of the Heavens Gate cult that try to poison your mind and conform you to a conspiracy theory type life in which the government is always wrong and only those enlightened few can decipher what is fact and what is fiction have never mounted to anything. The only thing more appalling than those that actually suck the young and impressionable into these crazy ideas are those that allow themselves to be sucked in. Being a strong and well-rounded person with your head held high is not something inherited. You make that call and must avoid being sucked into temptation or you are on a collision course with becoming someone as evil as these maniacs like Manson. What gives people like Manson their power is ignorance. Rather than learn about religion, politics, and life through experience, they would rather take someones word for it. The only real way to fight such a parasite is for people to believe that there is a perk to experience. Philosophy, ethics, and government classes should be mandate long before you are a senior in high school. By that time it is too late for way too many.
Section 3: Justification
Ive been under a gradual understanding for many years that I dont look at things in a conformist way. I have always thought outside the box as my world history teacher once told me. I honestly took this class because I believed that I was near void of ethics in many ways. What I have come to learn is that the term ethics as I understood it was merely a positive connotation on a broad spectrum of subjects. Everyone has ethics, it just depends on how you view things. Personally, through readings and reflection and other sorts of internal searches come up with the conclusion that, while I may pull ideas out of all categories, I lean more towards and objectivist view. My entire life I have been told that I am a pessimist. I always replied that I am not a pessimist, but merely a realist. This can be shown in the previous two sections. I like Dr. King so much because he never had an ulterior motive or hidden agenda. He laid out on the table everything that he wanted and why he wanted it. He never said that he was putting forth all this effort just for the black community. He was just as much a part of that community as the people he fought for and he recognized that. Dr. King, while very altruistic in many ways, found a way to balance out what he wanted, what he needed, and what he should do and turn all those into what was a remarkable life. He was an incredible man because when he wanted something or saw an injustice in the world that affected him, he didnt sit around and whine about it like the Starbucks sipping losers that I have grown to despise. He stood up and said that what was happening was wrong and needed to be changed. Facing down centuries of adversity and trying to change the ways of a culture that have been passed down from generation to generation to generation is no simple task. Most men dont have the fortitude, endurance, or even courage to fight so strongly for something like he did; even when it affects them personally! On the other end of the spectrum you have Charles Manson. Manson has always claimed that he gave those kids hope and that all he wanted was for them to be free of the oppression of this fascist regime we call America. Get real, hippie. Perhaps a small part of him truly believes that. But on the other hand, when you tell a lie enough times, it becomes increasingly easier to believe it. What Manson really enjoyed was the feeling of power that he got from leading these teenagers on a wild goose chase to spiritual freedom. Manson, in all fairness, had been an outcast his entire life. Not that this is any sort of justification, but perhaps, a small part of an explanation. So, to him, having control, even if its only a small bit, over a society that had outcasted him was on overwhelming experience. I believe that people need to be honest. People, all too often put up a front of This is why I am doing this. Not necessarily to justify their actions to the public that they affect, but to justify it to themselves. Most people inherently have a concept of good and evil. Though sometimes evil may be the easier route, it is always the less rewarding route and so to justify that they had to take the easy way out, they come up with a bogus explanation. If people would simply try to help themselves and make themselves happy, wealthy (in whatever sense of the word you take that), and sincere, this would be a better place. There will come times when people will need help, and I cant tell you that it is your duty or place to help them. That is to be left to you. If you believe that helping others is your path to happiness, then dont let anyone or anything stop you. But at the same time, you shouldnt ever forget about making the most important person in your life, the person that will always be there even if everyone else has left you behind happy: yourself. Dont ever forget that you are your biggest asset and possibly, if youre not careful, your biggest liability too.
Section 4: The Cracks of Society
Society has never been perfect. It is not a machine. Only the nave would believe otherwise. Society has a number of faults and they can be answered. The first place and most reasonable place to start at would be public education. Honestly, Im quite sick of hearing people complain about public education because they arent complaining about the right things. They are missing the point of everything that they should be focusing on. The problems with public education are the results of what comes from public education. Immoral, narrow-minded, illiterate kids who end up hooked on drugs, getting pregnant, becoming racist, chauvinistic, and flat out worthless are the results all too often. As touchy of a subject as it may be, religion needs to be taught in the school to a degree. Before anything else, the Bible is a piece of literature and a great one at that. It teaches love, compassion, brotherhood, and all other morals that are supposedly upheld by schools and parents. If that is true, youll be hard-pressed to find a better example of everything mentioned above in any other book before or since. Teaching love, compassion, friendship, and other moral structures to children can never be a bad thing. What could possibly be the harm of all of that? I also believe that other religions should be taught as literature as well. People are so worried about being politically correct that they are completely blinding themselves to the fact that their ignorance has corrupted the youth. Of course, it is much easier for those in charge to fix things that arent broken in order to avoid saying that they were wrong and made a mistake. They get this huge Superman complex which makes them so damn untouchable that they feel that they arent permitted to make any mistakes or else society would crumble. What they need to do is wake up to the fact that the very idea of what they are trying to preserve is exactly what they chip away with everytime they take away more morals, more religion, more faith, and more humanity out of the place where 90% of social interactions are to be learned. Parents can teach their kids morals, ethics, manners and such but, like it or not, it is the schools place to re-enforce it. Schools saying that they shouldnt get that kind of responsibility is exactly the same as when Charles Barkley said Im not a role model. Yes you are! You are a role model whether you like it or not so suck it up. Schools in Russia dont focus as much on academics as they do on teaching an individual how to think rather than what to think. So then, is it any wonder that they have mass produced some of the greatest minds throughout history and we have only produced a handful? My greatest sadness is that the more we try and fix the problems we have, the more it appears we drift away from the real solution. Only when we have drifted so far away from the solution to the problem will we look back on the time when people actually cared about self-image and realize we screwed up. Your own self-respect is something taken too lightly. Whatever happened to people waking up to do their job to fulfill a purpose and finding meaning in that? Why do people have to be entertained twenty four hours a day? The mindset of people going to work nowadays is that if it isnt fun, it isnt worth going. Is it any wonder people need drugs to get themselves through the day? Perhaps if they had learned how to want what they have rather than get what they want this would be a far better society. Something has to break eventually. I dont know what it will be, but I trust enough in humanity that eventually morals will outweigh politics. Perhaps it is nave of me to do so, but I have to have faith or else theres no reason to wake up tomorrow morning because everything would already have been lost. I hope Im around long enough to enjoy a world that climbs out of the cesspool it has jumped in.