Principle 41

This entry is part 37 of 98 in the series Principles

Discerning the Good

Isaiah predicted a time when people would have great difficulty in recognizing what is good. He said people would call good, evil; and evil, good.

Some differentiations are not difficult to recognize, but others are.

Here are a few good things easy to recognize:


Helping those less fortunate.

Forgiving others.

Getting an education.

Living the golden rule.

Going the extra mile.

Helping the sick.

In simple individual circumstances these and other acts are fairly universally seen as good things. But seeing the good becomes much more complicated when groups, peoples and nations become involved. Opposing groups will almost always see the other as being evil and themselves as being the good.

For instance, each extreme among the Christians and Moslems see themselves as good and the other as evil.

The world is divided between socialist/communist thinkers and capitalist/free enterprise.

Then you have dictatorships and freely elected governments.

Union and non-union workers is another.

Within certain dichotomies of thought both sides firmly believe they are right and the other side is evil and nothing seems to be able to change their minds.

Is there some key available that the objective person can use as a guide?

Fortunately, there is.

This key is buried in several examples we can discover from the past.

Example 1: World War 2.

The core conflict that started the war was between Nazism and western democracies. Both sides saw themselves as the good guys and made great sacrifices to win.

To understand who better represented the good, one merely need step back and ask what would have been the difference in the results of the two sides winning?

We know what happened when the Allies won. Peace and tranquility was established and in Western Europe and the people ofUnited States went on with their lives in relative freedom.

The interesting thing is that even the archenemies Germany and Japan became democracies and experienced a great improvement in freedom and prosperity.

In other words, when the Allies won even the enemies won because all benefited through the win.

But what would have happened if Hitler had won the war?

Would there have been an increase of freedom in the United States and Europe? Would people have the freedom to criticize their leaders? Could each individual control his destiny?

Most people are very happy that Hitler did not win and can visualize how miserable existence would have been if he had succeeded.

Example 2: The American Revolutionary War.

At the historical beginning of the United States we had the Revolutionary War. On one side were the Royalists who believed it was good to be ruled over by a king with unlimited power over the people. The other side wanted self-government where the leaders would be elected and the people could throw them out if they did not like them.

Back then it was difficult to see which side was the good as evidenced by the fact that only about a third of the people in this country supported the rebels.

Now, several generations later the good is easy to see. We see many benefits from a free government and even England has removed the governing power from the king and given it to the people. When the rebels won the war not only did the United States benefit, but the losers benefited also.

And this leads us to the key of discernment.

Here is the principle behind recognizing the good.

When the good prevails the majority benefit, not only among those who win in the conflict, but among those who lose.

When evil prevails only a handful in power benefit on the winning side. Most of the rest suffer or lose in some way and are controlled through fear and indoctrination.

The only trouble is that during a conflict both sides teach that the majority will benefit from their winning. To find the good we must visualize what would occur in the future if each side had their way. Look not for the benefit of the few, but of the many.

For some this vision is easy and the probable results are obvious. Others are fed propaganda and programmed to not see objectively. Yet vision for the majority is possible. What is needed are teachers of light to make accurate vision easy to obtain.

People like to say that the conflict is between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and lies.
Miguel Angel Ruiz

Copyright 2014 by J J Dewey

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