December 10, 2023

By  Ahmet Abdulaziz…….

There cannot be two views on this issue. We all are good and we all are bad. This is what we have got from nature. So for the whole of our lives we continuously struggle to go for good and to avoid what’s bad.

But first of all we must know, what is good and what is bad. I will not share here the definitions of these two words, because there is no need at all for  that, since we all know what is good and what is bad. But the fact is that the definition of good and bad differs from person to person.

In fact good is what our parents had told us, and bad too. Our parents are the first ones who make us understand what is good and what is bad. For example in the good old days our parents used to say, “do not play with those boys”.  This used to mean that those boys were bad or in other words, were not good. This is how we all learned to distinguish good from bad. Step by step we all started learning. Then came a time when we all started learning from others too, apart from our parents alone.

We started learning from our friends, teachers, and from other people around us. But that’s not all. We started learning from Television, Radio, Newspapers, magazines, etc etc. All of these in one way or another tried to show how to differentiate good from bad.  We keep on learning both bad and good.

In the next stage we learned from the laws, rules and regulations. In fact these are for those who still have not yet learned  to distinguish good from the bad, and that’s the last chance of learning for us. But it’s not just learning only, it’s the application of all that we have learned, in our day-to-day lives, which is important.

But the problem is that whatever we learned from our parents, friends, teachers, etc etc, only tell us what THEY ALL think as good or bad. They may differ from each other, although in general they all teach us the same, but clash when their preferences in more than one sphere may differ. That’s one reason why our own understanding of good and bad start getting mixed up, when we take decisions of our own. This is where the laws, rules and regulations forcibly make us draw clear lines between good and bad.

However, the social structure and culture of  areas differ from place to place.

Though the definitions of good and bad remain the same, their application differs from one society to another, from place to place and from country to country.  Some cultures strictly forbid something whereas the same has been considered as acceptable somewhere else. It is the social practices that allow flexibility in the definitions. The laws, rules and regulations also work the same way. They differ from country to country, from state to state.

But there are still some basics which are universal in nature. Honesty, for example is a good deed everywhere, however if we work out a statistical survey of different societies and countries, we will find that in some countries a big proportion of people are honest, whereas it’s not the same in some other country.

It is the extent of tolerance of something bad in a particular society or culture, or appreciation and acknowledgement of something good, that  forms the overall social and cultural behaviour, but the individuals remain to take their own decisions, about going for something good or bad.

The bare fact however is that we all are both good and bad at the same time. No one can claim that he/she is completely good. That is impossible. We all love to do something which is not good. We all loved to steal the cookies from the kitchen, even when our mother had strictly forbidden us. We all loved to be naughty. In fact we all had been naughty.

The desire and areas of activities differ as we advance in our lives. Some of us do good more than bad, whereas some end up doing more bad than good. In fact it is the society, cultural norms and the laws of the areas that ultimately give their decision, and declare someone as good or bad.

The world is filled with instances where someone officially declared as bad guy does more good than many others.  At the same time we find people who have been looked upon as good guys by the society, are in fact involved in activities which are considered to be bad. Most of us, even when doing something bad, usually make ourselves believe that whatever we do is not bad.

My question in the end however is, apart from what others think about us, what do we think about ourselves. This is the question that the whole society should ask itself. This is the question that we all must ask to ourselves, repeatedly. Are we good or bad?  Our own personal assessment  is what matters the most and makes the real difference.

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