So far in this series, we have discussed what good is, that we don’t always do good, and that it is within our power to choose whether or not we do good.
Earlier I suggested that contemporary, western decision making skills have put our society into the doldrums.
So let us talk about how we make decisions.
If good can be defined as what is desirable for all, then wouldn’t we all want to do good? I asked a question earlier: wouldn’t it be nice if we knew what ‘good’ was so we could measure all our decisions against it?
Unfortunately, we do not have all the facts all the time, we don’t know what the future holds and often we don’t know what the past has brought. So how could we possibly know if a decision ends up being a good one? A well-meant decision could turn into a disaster given certain unforeseen circumstances.
I’d like to start talking about the gravity of this with an illustration. If we were ever to travel to the distant past, we would have to be very careful to not touch anything. Even the introduction of a few of the microorganisms that live on our skin to ancient and delicate ecosystem could destroy it completely, which means all the billions of descendants of every microorganism, every insect, every bird, every mammal that made that ecosystem its home would never exist. That has some very far reaching impacts. One could destroy the world by stepping on a bug.
If you spend some time reflecting, you might be able to think about how this happens in your own life. Think of where you are and how you got there. Why did that happen? And why did that thing happen? You could go on and on, finding minute decisions and circumstances that have changed the course of your life.
This means that every single thing we do has practically infinite consequences affecting too many people to count. And we don’t even have the information in our minds to make our decisions good ones.
How many things have I ruined because I didn’t know how to make the best decision??
Better not screw up.
I know that’s a dark note to end on, but I promise there is hope. Stay tuned.