Wandering thoughts about doing good and its benefits

First of all, I want to warn people who might think this entry is interesting.
It’s not… believe me, it’s not. This is not an attempt to keep you hooked.
In fact, this is a direct result of my thoughts wandering.
This piece has no intro, body, and conclusion.
I advice you not to expect anything from it but the author’s confused, messy, and jumbled up thoughts.
Now, if you still want to read after that, please do… but I won’t be responsible for wasting your time. You’ve been warned.

There is something about social responsibility that I realized just recently (7 months ago…)
I’ve always wondered why we need to follow the rules… why it is so important to be a “law abiding citizen”.

To the young me, it seems that the rules are a restriction; something that limits what I can do for myself.
If not for those rules, I can go out of the house and play with whoever I want as much as I want.
I can disregard my parents’ advice and do dangerous (often stupid) things, like jump on roofs.
After a while, I found out that all those were for my own personal saftey.
So, okay… I need to follow rules because it is for my benefit.
I got that.

But what if following the rules won’t benefit me?
Being conscious of the world around made me realize that some rules aren’t there to serve my purpose.
Why is it bad to steal and take advantage of others?
Why do I need to pay attention to the needs of strangers who I don’t care about one bit?
If I am able to do those things, won’t I be better off… even at the expense of others?
If I take from them, I’ll have more.

I got part of the answer in Church.
We are supposed to show compassion and kindness to people, even strangers, because it glorifies God.
We are indebted to Him for creating us and letting us live on earth; He owns us.
Therefore, we must do His bidding and take care of the land and each other.

I thought “problem solved!”. Now all I have to do is convince others so that they’ll do the same!
Then I met people who come from different beliefs.
They believe wholeheartedly on their own truths… what right do I have to impose my own version of the truth?

So then the same problem was back… without the aspect of religion, why is it still right to do good?
If all I can depend on is solid reasoning and logic, could I still defend goodness?
What if disregarding the rules could ONLY benefit the doer of the bad, why would anyone want follow the law?
Say you can’t get caught, why do you need to hold back when the result is + for you?

Needless to say, I was trapped in the question for a while.
Then I found out something that would help.
+ for me = – for others = – to all = – to me
Using this logic, I can say that taking advantage of others is really stupid.
Even for greedy people, if they really consider what’s best for them, they’ll see that being kind to others and following the rules is the only way they can ensure a long term and stable return.
Let me give an example:
Say in a fictional village where everybody is a stranger to everybody else, they’re forced to live together.
They immediately formulate rules to live by.
Then, someone starts to steal believing this action will benefit him. It will benefit him, yes.
But only in the short term. Eventually, this action will cause distrust and anonymity to everyone…
and if someone else decides to offend again, the discord turns to open hostility.
Instead of a preferrably peaceful community, the hostile village requires everyone to constantly hold their guard up and look out for potential offenders.
In the long run, it is always beneficial to follow the rules.
Plus for JUST me that results to minus for others will result to minus for all, which is inevitably minus for me too.
Okay!

So, apparently, I need to be good because it keeps me safe, because it is also righteous as it is logical.

But I still have another question.
If I eliminate righteousness and logic… do I still need to do good?
Do I need to follow the rules if I know that no matter what… it won’t benefit me?
If I will be blamed and persecuted for being good, do I do it?
If there is no return in the short run, long run, if God won’t reward me, if there’s absolutely nothing to gain from good, why must we do it?

My only answer at this point is that it feels right to me…
I know that’s subjective, and I can’t argue with others who feel otherwise, but that’s the only answer I can give.
It feels right to do what’s right.
I don’t know what else.

 

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