What do you stand for? Anything?! Is it good? What does the word “good” mean to you? Do your discussions often go like this:
“That is good.”
“No it's not.”
“Yes it is!”
“No it's not.”
“You’re an idiot!”
“YOU’RE the idiot!!”
This goes on to the point of endless bickering or even physical fighting. With groups it can lead to major conflicts or wars. All from people trying to figure out, "What is good?"
One could even say that every interpersonal problem, misunderstanding or disagreement you have is due to a lack of a clear definition of what is good.
So let’s try to develop a precise definition of what is good.
This will provide a useful tool for having respectful discussions about contentious personal, group and governmental issues. Ideally it will help you to clarify what you stand for, and provide a powerful way to effectively fight for what you believe in.
Simplest situation – only one person
It all begins with you. Your own internal subjective evaluation of anything and everything is the starting point of good. The only good that there has ever been is because somebody thought so. Why doesn’t really matter, it only matters that your evaluation is positive.
Life involves other people, of course, but the starting point is always each person’s subjective evaluation of something. To avoid confusion, this internal evaluation is better described as positive rather than good. This is because people also use good to mean the objective evaluation of something. Anyone committed to clear communication should use “positive” words or phrases when they speak about their own or other people’s subjective evaluation.
If you think something is positive for you then indicate so by saying it is positive for you. You could say “I like that” or “I agree with that” or “that is satisfying to me” or “that is positive for me.” Most importantly you could just do it and not say anything. Doing it reveals that you think positively about it.
If people committed to clear communication differentiated by using good to mean the objective good and positive or other similar words for the subjective evaluation, we would go a long way to alleviating many fights and conflicts.