Why be kind, just, ethical? I’ve already spent a good amount of my time thinking about this question – and there is more than one good answer.
But I’ve been fascinated lately by a new way to think about the reasons for “being good”.
Perhaps one of the most powerful moral motivators I can imagine is curiosity. And that curiosity dwells in the question: “how good might the world (and life in it) become if I choose to do the right thing consistently?”
I’ve already seen just how powerful speaking truthfully has been in my own life. I’ve gone from being a bitter, helpless, timid person to being competent, confident, and (hopefully) more of a help than a hindrance to good in the world. How much more could I do, and how much more could my life improve?
Jordan Peterson set me on thinking about this kind of exponential curve possibility. More than most modern popular thinkers, he has successfully made the connection between right action and meaning and growth in human life. But he (rightly) makes the point in the lecture snippet below that we have no idea just *how* meaningful and growthful human life could be if we really pushed the limits of how good we are.
“Well, there are remarkable people who come into the world from time to time and they’re people who do find out – – over decades long periods what they could be like if they were who they were. . . If they spoke their being forward. And they get stronger, and stronger, and stronger and we don’t know the limits to that. We do not know the limits to that.”
“We do not know the limits to that.”
God, doesn’t that just make you want to know?
Yes, I want to be one of those people because it’s right. Yes, I want to be one of those people because it will make me a lot happier.
But I’m really curious to see *if* I can be one of those people, and if I can, then *how far* I could go to make a better self and a better world. What might things be like if we tried? Don’t you want to know, too?
Being a self-centered, destructive slob is far too boring in comparison to that shining opportunity.