Naomi McCarthy

artist, writer, animateur

Kathleen's truthful assessment of her goodness and badness

21 March

What percentage good or bad are you?

...I have no idea.

How can you quantify "good" or "bad" without first having a baseline of morality? Is being "good" having the same desires as someone who is bad, but simply not acting upon those desires? Is being "good" based on what you do for others, even if it's at the expense of your own happiness?

Here's what I think. I am more good than bad, but I am not as good as people think I am. Maybe 65% good, 35% bad? I don't know how to measure this, but I'll let you know some of the things that I do wrong:

 - I think negative things about others, though I'm not likely to say them. Instead, I swallow these negative thoughts, which makes me "worse" because I'm more resentful.

- I'm not a malicious or a violent person, but I have a fairly low tolerance for what I perceive as incompetence - both on my part and on the part of others. Thinking about the things that I'm not good at, as well as the things that I get frustrated with others for not being good at, makes me feel "worse" than I actually am.

 -  I'm more competitive than I let on, but I end up hiding the competitiveness - instead, it's as though I have a running tally going on, thinking that I must be better or worse than that other person - a better writer, a better cook, worse at researching, worse at social skills, worse at not being self-centred. If I spent all the energy I expend comparing myself to others on creative pursuits, instead, I'd be a more productive and happier person.

- Guilt has played a big part in my life, and I'm trying to make it less of a part of my life. Again, it makes me feel more convinced that I'm bad, when really the worst part is that it leads me to think too much about what I perceive as "bad" - which in itself is bad.

This is a fairly long answer to a fairly simple question - but the truth is that I don't know how to say how good or bad I am, because it happens sometimes that I'm a bad person - grumpy, impolite, ungrateful, lazy - without good reason. I'd need to take a survey of those who interact with me on a daily basis to try and figure out a percentage. Even then, the results would be skewed. And why do we need a percentage, anyway? We live in an age where so much information about the state of the world is easily available, quantifiable, ready for analysis - but how is it possible to plug a person into a machine to analyze their goodness? So much depends on the situations that people find themselves in, as well - you may never know how good, or how bad, a person is capable of being. 




Contact:  Shirley.dandelionprojects@gmailcom