The Daily Stoic for May 8th. “Good And Evil? Look At Your Choices”.
“Where is Good? In our reasoned choices. Where is Evil? In our reasoned choices. Where is that which is neither Good nor Evil? In the things outside of our own reasoned choice.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.16.1
Growing up in a non-religious family certainly allowed me to approach religion with a more critical eye. While I took part in some Catholic rituals -I’ve been baptized, and also took communion when I was 9- it was more like a celebration to keep the whole family happy. So even as a small child, I used to dislike hearing a priest talking about good or evil.
You need to be good to go to heaven, otherwise, you’ll go to hell when you die.
That sounded like emotional blackmail to my ears. And the wrong way of educating others.
So instead of being kind, nice and polite to others because that’s the right thing to do, you are coercing people to act rightfully under the threat of eternal punishment?
That just didn’t seem right.
Good And Evil? Look At Your Choices
I’m not a perfect person. We tend to think we always act in a righteous way. We always see the mote in one’s brother’s eye without noticing the beam in one’s own. However, I acknowledge there’s still a lot I can learn and a lot of times when I should act differently.
What I do try to do every day, apart from doing something good for someone, is make better choices. And by “better” I mean doing the “right” choice. Regardless of if it’s the most beneficial for me -in the most selfish sense of the word- or the most advantageous one.
I recently lost a good business opportunity because of that. But I have decided that this is the way I want to do business. If I build something, it has to be built on top of right choices.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Good And Evil? Look At Your Choices”, reminds us that our choices matter. Good or evil, right or wrong, it all emerges from our reasoned choices. Not from the circumstances, the environment or the outcome of a situation. Just from our choices.