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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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JohnCoop Offline
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Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 12th 2012, 11:07 PM

So there's been this dilemma that I've been pondering lately. I go to high school and come from a family with lots of ties to the military and law enforcement, so I here a lot of 'stories'. This, combined from what I have seen everyday in high school (most of it doesn't compare to the 'stories' I here...in any regard) has caused me to ponder the whole good guy vs. bad guy thing.
I've seen/heard about 'good' people doing some pretty damn ugly things and I've also heard of 'bad' people do some good or even great things. Its completely backwards if you ask me if your going by the stereotypical Good Guy, Bad Guy thing. We are raised with this Hollywood mindset (for the most part) that good people are solidly good and that if your bad, then your completely bad. But now that I've lived for a few years and acquired a pretty good amount and spent a lot of time thinking on this subject I've started to question that whole Disney/Hollywood mentality.
What I now pretty firmly believe is that there are no cookie-cutter, standard issue good or bad guys in this world like Obi-Wan v. The Emperor. There are only good and bad decisions like whether or not to get into a fight with that person you really don't like or not getting in the fight. Some of us or more prone to making good decisions and there are also those of us that are more prone to making bad decisions. But every once in a while those of us that are prone one side or the other will swing a make a decision contrary to what we normally do.

What is your opinion on this?
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Re: Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 12th 2012, 11:21 PM

You might want to read about The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo. You can find his lectures on YouTube. It's an interesting watch. It's about how and why good people can do really bad things.

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Re: Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 13th 2012, 02:49 AM

Well, it's a little bit more complicated than seems to be. We have to consider what exactly is good or bad; this is a topic that many of the old well-known philosophers enjoyed. Whether something is good or bad is debatable. It's a tough call. I think being a good/bad person is not easily definable because there's different sides to the story. Perhaps I can look back at my Philosophy notes later and mention some of the philosophers that really fucked with the good/bad situation, but right now...I'm just gonna relax.
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Re: Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 13th 2012, 03:04 AM

I think people are mostly good, but there are some people who are bad and some good people who just do really stupid things. We're also easily influenced by our environment and/or the people around us. Basically, when you're dealing with human beings nothing is going to be black and white, cookie-cutter or cut and dried.

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Re: Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 13th 2012, 11:32 PM

I think you're skipping a couple of crucial steps, such as the criteria or definition of "good" versus "bad". Another question is whether good and bad exist on the same spectrum, that is, someone could be 80% good and 20% bad in a given situation. The last question is whether you believe good or bad decisions are either partially or completely rational?

I don't believe a person or a decision is good or bad. There's two sides to every story and the decision should be examined with all social-environmental factors that were present at the time as it is vital context.

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Re: Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 14th 2012, 12:18 AM

Touche, touche, a lot of very valid points have been brought up here and I understand that the way of thinking I outlined definitely has its fair share of holes in it. I wouldn't say I fully endorse this way of thinking (friend told me about, been thinking about it off and on for a while) but it is certainly an interesting way of looking at things. But yeah, the whole good vs. bad debate is very abstract/relative since everyone is going to have their own perception on what classifies as good and bad.

Thanks for y'all's opinions!!!
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Re: Good/people or just Good/Bad Decisions - May 14th 2012, 10:18 PM

Other than the subjective establishment of what is "good" and what is "bad," I believe the following:

I don't think humankind are born "good" or "bad." I don't think it could ever be that simple, and I don't think it's that simple as life goes on. No one is a "good" guy or a "bad" guy. It's not a game of cops and robbers. Instead, humans have the CAPACITY to engage in actions that follow an established (again, subjective) criteria of "good" and "bad." It's a spectrum on which anyone can occupy any point of it at any given time. "Good" and "bad" are used to describe people based on where their actions lie most of the time. Since all are capable of good and bad, though, no one can constantly sustain that label. Hence why people are not good or bad.

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