virgin islands scene

What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.
-- Margaret Mead
 

 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Common good

There’s more to your interest than your interest alone. What’s in the common good also very significantly includes you.

It’s tempting to think you can gain some personal advantage by gaming the various systems and institutions of society. But that is impossible because you are a part of society, a beneficiary of its institutions, and whatever harms them also harms you.

Yes, you can take more than your share from the cookie jar again and again. Yet eventually, if you keep doing it, whoever was filling that jar will stop, and there will be no more cookies.

But if everybody else is taking unfair advantage of the system, aren’t you also forced to do so in order to get an equal share? Absolutely not, because such a situation is unsustainable and it is in your best interest, in everyone’s interest, not to normalize such transgressions.

Everything has a cost and there is no such thing in material reality as something for nothing. To think and assume and live in opposition to this fundamental truth is to cheat yourself out of life’s richness and best possibilities.

The common good survives only when goodness is common and widespread. In this highly interconnected world, being good to yourself means being honest, respectful, understanding and considerate toward everyone else.

— Ralph Marston

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