“I’m an accumulation of every single thing I’ve done, good and bad.”
David Millar, Scottish Road racing cyclist champion
Morals preach at me, “Love thy neighbour…… Do Good unto others…” I stand brainwashed to believe that Paradise beckons as I align my thoughts and actions to the goodness of my values.
Millennia of Religion and philosophy have depicted human life as that eternal conflict between the Good and Bad. The Goodness of Creation and Harmony ranged against the Badness of Destruction and Chaos. As I look down from the metaphysical level, I recall ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ amongst the earliest words I learnt as a child. All my fairy tales and comic books dealt with the likes of Krishna vs. Kanksh, Superman vs. Lex Lothar et al. I go through life and see my ‘Bad ‘instincts of jealousy and fear battle against the ‘Good’ strivings of my intentions and fulfillment.
I surf the news channels and notice how much thoroughly ‘Bad’ and negative information is investigated and followed through as compared to ‘Good’ and positive developments. Almost as if we are waiting to imbibe and carry away all the bad impressions and stereotypes. Could it be that we get attracted and these are quicker to form within us?
My colleague wins a lottery and feels elated. The euphoria however scarcely lasts for a couple of days and I can sense that the feel good level quickly returns to what it had been before the lottery win. The same person however gets into a prolonged bout of unhappiness and blame game when he incurs a loss in the stock market, a fraction of what he had won.
I remain witness to how a loving relationship between my friend and his spouse so easily degenerates into a break-up from a single anger-driven destructive action. Several positive overtures and communications fail to heal the rupture.
As I drive on the crowded roads, I become enraged from a single case of rash driving. As I leave the scene fuming, I scarcely notice the multitude of folks who give way and allow me to pass. My emotions can scarcely be quelled, be it by such good behaviour or kindness. The ‘bad’ memory remains vivid and I continue to rant about it on the dinner table, hours later.
As I go through life, do I see a Bad Good asymmetry? A negative bias towards Bad. Be it in the reports in media and in everyday events as above…
I look inwards and sense that I too am more motivated to avoid bad self perceptions than to pursue good ones. I muse and wonder why this is so. Could this be because ‘Bad’ signals that I need to change? And does my ‘Bad’ intuitively push me to adapt and change myself in line with a situation or environment? So does ‘Bad’ condition me to become more flexible and adaptive to an ever-changing world? Is this why my Bad is stronger and thus more relevant than my Good?