I have no idea how to do it. I try sometimes. And sometimes I don't. And sometimes I'm good without meaning to be. (More often than not, I'm bad without meaning to be, but that's another story.) The point is: I don't know what it means to be good. Really, truly good. And even if I did, I don't know that I'd know how to be it.
Over the last year or so, I've thought, more than ever before, about the nature of goodness. Of how hard it is to Spike-Lee-it-up and Do The Right Thing on a regular basis. The right thing is too hard to determine. Right for whom? Right in what context? Right how? How can we know? How can we be sure?
The other complicating factor, at least in my own life, is that I find myself regularly struggling against an intense desire to do the WRONG thing, particularly if I'm feeling wronged. We're all like this, aren't we? Doing the right thing when everything is right, doing good when you feel good, is easy. But when you don't, when you're not, it's hard. And worse, when people aren't doing right by you, it's even harder. Who doesn't want to serve bad behaviour right back at the person or people who served it to them? Who doesn't want to teach wrongdoers a lesson? I'm talking about base desires here, people. I'm talking about the dark things you don't want to admit. The urges you wish you didn't have. Everybody lies awake at night thinking about what other people do or don't deserve, and the answers we come up with directly correlate to what those other people have done to us. We think what they deserve is based on how they behave toward us. And we want it to be up to us decide what they deserve as a result. We ALL want that. Don't even pretend you don't.
Professionally speaking, I think a lot about what I'm doing with my time, in my life. Is it useful? It's it helpful? Have ANY of the things I've done been good? I'm educated. I've been relatively lucky in terms of my upbringing and opportunities. I'm not struggling. With that in mind, there's no real reason for me not to aspire to work (at least) that is ... moral(?). Is there? But if I did that, what would I do? What would that good work be? Where would I find it? Would I be able to live on it? Would I have to give up the kind of living I'm used to? Is that the only way to do it, if I even found that kind of opportunity in the first place? And if I did find it, if I did it, if I was lucky enough to find myself doing good work, how would I ever know if it was good ENOUGH?
In many ways, I think I am good. Maybe even inherently so. One of the least reasons for this is that I DO think about these things. I might not be great at figuring them out, but I think about them. At the same time, I know that there's a problem in how much I want to be perceived as good. To be appreciated. That's bad, isn't it? I have martyr tendencies. But even being a martyr is so... unsatisfying. Unless you publicize your martyrdom and reap the reputational rewards, I mean. (But if you did that, you wouldn't be much of a martyr, would you? Or would you? See? I told you I don't understand this stuff. At the very least, if you're a publicizing martyr, you can't say you're good, can you?) It's all very hard.
I don't know. I don't know what I'm trying to say. I don't know how to be good, but I try. That's something, isn't it? That's... dare I say it... good?