Understanding Good vs Bad

Originally posted on Celi-chan In Wonderland Blog, November 30th, 2017.

Right or Wrong. Black or White. Heaven or Hell. Positive or Negative. Naughty Or Nice.

Theses terms are often used interchangeably when referring to things or events that are essentially “good” or “bad”, but what does that actually mean? How does one define what’s good or bad? And is knowing the difference between the two really inherent or subjective? I believe these terms are arbitrary and used to describe vague notions of something more complex, something that seems universally understood and accepted, and by examining what is commonly accepted as good or bad will reveal what exactly those terms really define.


Good vs Bad Constructive vs Destructive

Giving money to charity, helping those less fortunate, being honest or nice are acts that are universally accepted as doing “good”. So, what is it that all these good deeds have in common? These deeds are constructive or productive in nature and demonstrate the building or maintaining of things, relationships, people, or society as a whole. If that’s the case, then all the “bad” stuff like stealing, cheating, lying, killing, or being an asshole, means the opposite. These would be destructive actions that demonstrate the interruption, corruption, or elimination of things, relationships, people, or society. But what happens when a “bad” thing is done for a “good” cause? Or a good thing for a bad cause?


Destructive + Constructive = Deconstructive

Drugs are considered bad, exercise is good, volunteering is good, and bullying someone is bad. However not all drugs are bad, exercising too much could be detrimental for one’s health, volunteering your time to an organization that supports terrorism would generally be considered bad, and yet being mean to or punishing someone whose guilty of hate crimes or murder is often considered a good thing. It seems that the act itself, the process or method of performing the act, and the purpose for which the act was performed all accumulate together to ascertain whether the effects of the actions or events are constructive or destructive.

Let’s take the Robin Hoods of the world for example. Giving to the poor is good but stealing in order to do it is considered bad. But when taking from those rich people who have the resources necessary to recover from. or even remain unaltered by the effects of those deeds, is it actually “bad” or destructive to do so? Now, for the record I’m not saying that it’s a good/constructive thing to steal from rich people. I’m saying that when a destructive act is performed for a constructive purpose, the overall effect then becomes deconstructive. Deconstructive acts redefine what’s good or bad, essentially dissecting, dismantling, or subverting constructive or destructive effects, in order to initiate change from “good” to “bad” or vise versa.


In The End…

The terms “good” and “bad” are gross understatements of events or actions. Saying something is good suggests it is generative or progressive in nature, and something bad abolishes or disrupts the workings of the world as we know and accept it to be. However, by deconstructive acts, “good” and “bad” have the potential to be redefined and reexamined to serve society’s needs more effectively and efficiently. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.


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