"There is no Greater Good, only Good, however small the Good!"
Funny, how while watching a TV show, a profound and life changing statement will give me pause!
"There is no Greater Good, only Good, however small the Good!" said Dr. Theo Yedlin as the decision was made to hand select those going back into the pods. "It is for the Greater Good to only take those who are healthy and breeders." said Jason, the demented leader of the army in Wayward Pines.
This gave me pause.
I took an Ethics class in my graduate program where we struggled with what it means to make decisions based on "The Greater Good." Wars are waged and fought for "the Greater Good!" The Mentally Ill were mass sterilized at one time, "for the Greater Good!" Women were not allowed to vote "for the Greater Good!" LBGT community were not allowed to marry "for the Greater Good!" And I could go on and on and on!
My question in the Ethics course was very simple: "Who gets to decide what defines the Greater Good?" Of course we talked about how it depends on who is in charge of "the big decisions", be it religious leaders, politicians, doctors, judges, etc. There was a head nod to how each of us must make these decisions on a daily basis; as we discussed whether to let totally disabled babies live, whether to quit a job and have to live on food stamps because your boss asks you to falsify records, and such.
It was all framed around The Greater Good. Here is how the dictionary defines the Greater Good: "The benefit of the public, of more people than oneself; that which is better and more correct."
"That which is better or more correct." "The benefit of the public."
What is better or more correct than: THERE IS ONLY GOOD!
Dr. Yedlin says "There is no Greater Good, only Good, however small the Good."
Dr. Yedlin wanted to make the choices for who would go back into the pods and wake up thousands of years later, by lottery, since all could not go. That would be fair he said. But "for the Greater Good" the leaders only wanted those "perfect people" who could then breed to make more perfect people.
Yes, only a TV show, but I have found this story to really cause me to take ethical pauses, especially in this highly contested election year we are in.
I watched both conventions even tho' I am a Democrat. What I heard from the RNC was how one person would make the decisions for the Greater Good. What I heard from the DNC was how WE collectively as much as possible will make decisions based on THE GOOD!
We have been challenged, just like when JFK ran for office and won, to take care of our neighbor; our Muslim neighbor, our gay neighbor, our black, Asian, white neighbor, our poor and stinky neighbor, our mentally ill neighbor, our single mom who had an abortion neighbor, our pagan and Jewish neighbor.
WE ARE TO CHOOSE ONLY GOOD, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE GOOD!
We have come through a time when it is all about the "I"! We are in a time when the Enemy is everyone who does not look like us, does not believe like us, does not love like us, does not worship, work or dress like us. The Enemy is everyone who is of a different race or nationality or an immigrant.
It's for the Greater Good I heard during the RNC to be forceful, carry more guns, hate, and eject those NOT LIKE US. And one man, all by himself will be making the decisions for the Greater Good.
NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE GOOD! That is what really gave me pause.
I pray that I never feel like I cannot stretch myself to do Good! Whether that be to fill up a backpack for underprivileged children, send a card to someone hurting or celebrating a birthday. Whether that be smiling at everyone I meet even when I am in my own pain. Whether that means "voting my conscience" and being proud to live in a country where I can do that. Whether it means leaving my pentacle at home on the day I helped my elderly mom serve lunch to her church ladies because I knew she was scared to death they would find out I was pagan and not Christian.
Whether that means praying for others, lighting candles for the sick, those morning and the world. Whether that means caring for animals and the earth by doing all I can in my own little piece of the forest.
Once upon a time, in my younger days, I truly felt it was all up to me to save all the children throughout the world. I convinced myself that without me, things would fall apart in my family of origin, my marriage family and my job and church.
One day, I was in a true panic attack over it all and I heard Goddess say to me:
"I ONLY ASKED YOU TO TAKE CARE OF THAT RIGHT IN YOUR PATH. IF EVERYONE WOULD DO THAT, WE WOULD NOT BE IN THE SITUATION WE ARE IN."
That is The Good!
That is The Right!
To be kind, caring, compassionate, positive, giving, thankful, at peace, loving, faithful, and accepting of others to do their part in the unique way they are asked to fit into the puzzle.
In the end, Dr. Yedlin, only got his wish by sneaking in a gay boy and his quirky probably mentally ill receptionist. But I can promise you, all those in the pods waiting for the next time in Wayward Pines are not Pure, Perfect People. But someone, the"I" made the decision, all alone as to who would help the Greater Good!
We must all be intentional about doing Good, HOWEVER SMALL THE GOOD!
We do this while the crazy, "all about me" world goes on around us. And just maybe our example will spread like the mint in my pots... the plant started in one and now has sent out delicious shoots that have invaded all the other pots in my garden balcony! Ahhhh mint!
Pause. What are you really doing to choose the Good. Where can you discern how decisions made for this Greater Good hurts many others in the process. Will we always succeed? No! Will we make mistakes? Yes! Do we keep trying? Yes, cause as President Obama said in his DNC speech last night, "That's what happens when you try, mistakes happen." Then Trying leads to Hope in the face of Difficulty. And Hope leads to a better Today and Tomorrow!
Idealistic? I don't think so! I think this is what we are suppose to be doing, and have lost our way. If we take care of the neighbor and the neighbor takes care of us; there is no need to make decisions that ultimately exclude others. Because when Good is only doing for "the good of the public" then the individual faces go out of focus.
Be the Good, live the Good, demonstrate the Good!