Saturday, February 2, 2013


If you have the concept of "good" then you have to have the concept of "bad." My old friend Hubert Selby Jr. helped me to recognize that. He'd say, Michael you can't have up without down, left without right, etc. Because each contains the other or is meaningless. The same goes for pleasure, none without pain, and no success without failure.

So, if you have the concept of good, bad comes with it, and in that way every day, though some can be better or worse than others, contains both good and bad. The trick to peace of mind and heart, and even joy, is to be grateful for whichever the moment seems to be, bad or good, because without one you can't have the other.

Of course if you are totally enlightened, you understand that it's all one and therefore there is no "bad" or "good"—but I ain't quite there yet...

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Blogger JIm said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 3, 2013 at 5:23:00 AM EST  
Blogger Bob said...

I've always felt that 99% of life is basically bad and 1% is good. But that 1% is so good it makes up for the rest of it and makes life worth all the pain. Not unlike the "bright moments" philosophy of musician R. Roland Kirk.

February 3, 2013 at 11:06:00 AM EST  
Blogger JenW said...

It's difficult to measure good and bad in terms of percentages- so many variables and methods of collection. Do you count people, actions, events, intentions, some or all? Do you keep a tally in the life of one particular person, a group, or the human race as a whole? What about plants & animals - life? Here's what I try to do each day- just living- no calculating and it's simple: Embrace the good, don't dwell on the bad. Hold on to the ups, let go of the downs. Leap with the left, wrangle with the right :-)

February 3, 2013 at 2:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Robert G. Zuckerman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 3, 2013 at 3:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Robert G. Zuckerman said...

exactamundo. the actual mathematical scientific reality is that the fundamental natural state of things and base is goodness. I believe that what Bob may really mean (and this is my opinion, I do not claim to actually know what Bob means) is that the bad consumes 99% of our attention even though in quantum physical proportion it is in fact 1%.

As for Jim's deleted comment, the nightmare of gun violence we are currently experiencing is the direct result of the subversion, hijacking and bastardization of the Second Amendment and the Founding Documents by the treasonous right wing teapocrit criminal unpatriotic unAmerican cancer in our land.

February 3, 2013 at 4:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Ed Baker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 3, 2013 at 5:03:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Bill Lannigan said...

I have so often changed my opinion of what was "good" for me and what was "bad" for me

February 3, 2013 at 11:31:00 PM EST  
Blogger Robert G. Zuckerman said...

The self deleted comment following my assertion that goodness is the core state of things, the way, and that all else is abberation and non-core called into question my assertion and my claim of it being scientific fact. I stand by this assertion and claim, arrived at through the acknlowledged, valid methodology of empiricism. And logic as well: if we don't believe in the fundamental core goodness of existence, then why even bother, why stick around at all?

It is said: How one sees the world (chooses to see) is what it becomes. It is also said, "if you look for the good in others, you will find it there. When you speak to the good in others, you strengthen it."

Much of it is how on chooses to see things.

February 4, 2013 at 9:45:00 AM EST  
Blogger AlamedaTom said...

"He jests at scars that never felt a wound."

~ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet: Act 2, Scene 2

February 4, 2013 at 11:24:00 AM EST  
Blogger Robert G. Zuckerman said...

"You won't discover the limits of the soul, however far you go."


February 4, 2013 at 11:47:00 AM EST  
Blogger Bob said...

I was thinking more in terms of human life being predominately suffering (bad). And the 1% being so good, even ecstatic, that it makes life meaningful and bearable and even joyous. I am at heart an eternal optimist.

I don't presume to know what plants and animals think but I like to have fun guessing. I enjoy talking to birds and fish.

Robert's comment about "why stick around" made me recall something I heard maybe 50 years ago: "Life holds no one against their will." Does anybody recall who may have said that or where it came from? I've searched and searched but can' find it anywhere.

February 5, 2013 at 1:15:00 PM EST  
Blogger JenW said...

I get you Bob. Sometimes I wish my faith was stronger to make sense of all the suffering. Holding on to "the good stuff" does help me personally, stay positive. The leaping and wrangling was purely intended to give Michael a smile. The only leaping I do lately is into bed, out of exhaustion....

February 5, 2013 at 5:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lally said...

I have to say, despite my own struggles and the suffering I have witnessed, I wouldn't put such a big percentage on the "bad" in life and the world. (although that may depend on the day) As I often point out, the world hasn't been as destructive or deadly as it was during WWII ever since, despite the many smaller wars, and it hasn't been as bad economically as it was in The Great Depression, and when I look at the culture, not just here but elsewhere even in countries where the destruction was enormous, I see seemingly more happy songs and movies and artistic breakthroughs etc. during those times than in more peaceful and prosperous times.

February 5, 2013 at 5:34:00 PM EST  
Blogger JIm said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 6, 2013 at 7:40:00 PM EST  

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