(1) In this post and many others to follow, we will follow the following mantra: "we are NEITHER optimists nor pessimists, we are realists."
By now, we've established that a human life within reality presents an infinity of choices of activities to pursue, persons to befriend and love, cities to visit and live, and so on.
(2) By now, those choices that are 100% bad are no longer available to most persons. Either laws have been passed making these activities illegal, the cities have been abandoned, or the person has been either incarcerated or mentally institutionalized.
(3) Importantly, this means that almost every CURRENT activity or person or place has one or more "positive" qualities, one or more things that, on balance and if one is being honest, one would consider "good" and desirable. These positive qualities may or may not be trivial; but (and most miss this) they often are trivial.
(4) In an age (today) where the overwhelming attitude of the time is relentless optimism, there is a very high risk and danger that one will ONLY focus on this one or more positive qualities in choosing whether to make this activity, person, or place a larger part of one's life. When the positive quality is a trivial one (free Wifi offered at some hotel), the badness of the decision only multiplies.
(5) Much better is to identify the overwhelmingly negative attribute of the activity, person, or place and determine whether it's outweighed by the positive qualities. This negative attribute is usually unappreciated initially but GROWS ever more important and UNignorable the more one develops a "relationship" with the activity, person, or place. Reality PRESSES the overwhelmingly negative attribute upon us ever more forcefully as time unfolds.
Several examples are in order:
- Most men seek out physical beauty in choosing a female romantic partner. When they locate someone attractive, they pursue this person with full vigor. The positive quality (physical beauty) dominates their assessment of the matter, causing them to ignore or greatly de-emphasize remaining negative qualities, including overwhelmingly negative qualities (such as dishonesty in the female romantic partner selected).
- Most persons today seek financial security and money from (pretty much) any source they can find it. When they locate an economic opportunity, they try to exploit it for all its worth. The positive quality (having financial security) dominates their assessment of the matter, causing them to ignore or greatly de-emphasize remaining negative qualities, including overwhelmingly negative qualities (such as LOSS OF FREEDOM- both mental, emotional, and physical- associated with exploiting the economic opportunity).
- Many persons today become rabid fans of professional sports teams. This gives them something to do, some event they look forward to watching. This positive quality also dominates their assessment of the matter, causing them to ignore or greatly de-emphasize remaining negative qualities, including overwhelmingly negative qualities such as the loss of many hours of the day every day for months while the "season" drums on.
- Many other persons today sign up for very demanding physical activities such as marathon running and triathlons. They begin training for months or years in the hopes of improving their health. In the meantime, they become blind to the many ways in which this activity is dominating their thought and consciousness, making them totally disconnected from the rest of the general population disinterested in these activities. They even become blind to whether they will actually enjoy competing for the many hours (5-10) involved in a marathon or triathlon event (in the case of triathlon, some become blind to whether they actually enjoy all three sports and/or whether they enjoy doing them all oTn the same day).
So, for example, the lover of GOOD will not deny that many jobs and careers do offer the benefit of financial security to those performing these labors. He will weigh this benefit against the tremendously negative quality of the almost total and complete loss of all sorts of freedoms involved in the actual performance of the work necessary to do these jobs correctly. He will then conclude the benefits don't outweigh the burdens: