Good, Goods and the Good

There is something essential about consuming. In consumption, as in all aspects of life, there are ditches we can veer towards: too much something, and too little something else. It’s important to pay attention to the too muches and too littles.

But what happens to the tone of this discussion when we start to think about the act of creating?

It changes, right? Generally, we celebrate things that are created. We endorse expression, meaning, creativity and purpose. That spans the gamut, from food, to clothing, to cars — creativity encompasses everything within capitalism’s order of supply and demand.

But let’s push outside of our capitalist model, if we can.

What fascinates me is creating good. I don’t mean creating well, though that’s usually implied. I don’t mean creating a good (or service), though I suppose that’s usually implied, too.

Let’s take a quick look at ‘the good’ in the philosophical sense.

Instead of creating and consuming goods, we should focus on creating and consuming good. Just for starters, good is rooted in values:

  • capacity for awe & appreciation
  • ability to connect
  • drive to better understand our world.

Every culture defines good, and those definitions often transcend their cultural paradigms.

That is so critical: we get mashed into categories and labels and identity, and from there are eager to see the worst in each other.

We should be looking for the best.

There are lots of adjectives under the banner of good, for example noble, true, generative, generous. The good nudges us toward a better future, and helps us set a course to get there.

Of course, not all consumption is good. That should go without saying. But when the only economy that matters to us is the one made out of dollars and cents, we are entirely impoverished.

The futile bickering between sociopolitical ideals is silly. Nobody’s living up to their ideals, so it all amounts to hypocrisy.

It’s like squaring off along a fault-line, and competing for the prize of best fracker.

But if we would just bend down to dip our buckets into each other’s streams of good, we could be rich beyond riches.