Question: Is there any such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’?
Well, that depends.
The question I’m really asking here is: are there any experiences, situations or physical entities that are inherently good or bad? Put another way, when all human perception is removed from the equation, is any given experience or situation still either good or bad?
I’ve given this a lot of deep thought over the years, and my opinion is that there is no such thing as good or bad; only experience. You see, to sub-classify a given experience as good or bad is fine, but ultimately they are still both the same thing – an experience or event in space-time. Added to which, isn’t it the case that the way we classify experiences is based solely on our own individual perception of them, and that perception, in turn, is the product of the sum total of our personal experiences over the course of our lives? I would argue so, and that being the case, it is clearly possible that two different people living through the same experience can interpret it completely differently; one classifying it as good, and the other as bad. It’s the same experience, yet viewing it through different sets of values and different conscious filters can affect a huge diversification of perception and interpretation.
So who’s right – is it good or bad?
The late Henry Ford has the perfect answer to this question:
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right”
If you interpret a situation or experience to be good, then it’s good. If you interpret an experience as bad, then it’s bad; either way you’re right because ultimately the only interpretation that matters in your World is yours. This starts to highlight the principals behind why we have so much personal power to control our own destinies, and why it’s important that we recognise it and use it to the best of our ability.
To elaborate with an example; we all know people who seem to enjoy living in a perpetual state of self induced helplessness. It is those people who tell themselves that they don’t stand a chance of succeeding in life, or that they’re not good enough, that start to believe it – and when the mind starts to believe it, it achieves it.
Every single thing we have produced as a species on this planet started out as a thought, an idea in someone’s head. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Every single system, product, structure – everything; it all started with a thought, a dream.
These creators, brilliant men and women so intent and passionate about the dreams in their minds eye, and so relentless in their pursuit, found ways to literally manifest their visions into existence. Where focus goes, energy flows.
And just look at all we’ve created over the millennia; from the great Pyramids of Giza to the International Space Station orbiting our planet.
Think now about the old saying, ‘life is what you make it’ – well, that’s true in more ways than one. Control of your perception is one of the keys to fulfilment and happiness. You will always find things in life that you class as both good and bad, but it’s important we realise this is merely a classification of the experience based on a lifetime of conditioning and your resulting perception of the situation. This level of awareness will empower you to see the good in everything, even if that’s the simple realisation that there’s a lesson in everything – good and bad – and that all lessons have value for those who are willing to be open to what they have to teach.
You receive what you perceive.
Another way to explore this principal is to consider the statement, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. I resolved myself at a relatively young age to the fact that roughly 50% of people in the world will find me physically attractive (thinking back, possibly a little optimistic) and 50% of people will think I’m butt ugly, deriving great confidence from those odds! Again, that same sentence can be focused and interpreted in at least two different ways – I could be pleased that half of the people I meet will find me attractive and put my focus into that mindset of positive thinking, or I could put my focus into being upset and devalued because half the people I meet will think I’m completely unattractive. Which one would you rather put your focus and energy to? At the end of the day, your assessment of another person’s physical appearance or personality is your own personal opinion coloured and governed by your own personal preferences, values and what you perceive the definition of beauty to be. There are no inherently ugly people, just as there are no inherently beautiful people – just a bunch of opinions, and we must see them for what they are.
Control your mind, and you will control your life – you can change anything in a heartbeat by changing the way you perceive it.