-1- Goodness
By abandoning the notion that the good is possible or worth pursuing, the rug is ripped out from under the feet of any human commmunity. We teeter at the edge of a nihilistic abyss. Conversely, by shifting one's allegiance to law-and-order or to juridics and away from love of the good, individuals are relieved of the possibility of becoming good; law and its attendant punishments obviate the need to aim toward goodness in any of one's actions. Both subjective relativism and juridics are nihilistic.

To live ethically, and to have a good society (as context for socio-individual life), it is not necessary to guarantee goodness, only to pursue it. Pursuit of the good takes billions of forms. These forms will not necessarily agree with one another or be compatible. All that is unavoidable is to pursue it and to bring the multitude of pursuits into self-coordinated action. (Here is where some values, the practice of some values, become meta-ethical—some values are about the generally practice of ethics, the practice of goodness and maintaining it as a possibility for all people and people). It is in the simultaneously conflictual and harmonious self-coordination of action that it is possible for all people and every peoples to engage in ethical practice.

Whether we take the good to be an eternal idea (one of three? four?), or a customary contractual idea (always affiliated with linguistic competence), or a completely basic idea (an atom of meaningfulness), or a customary non-contractual (skill-developmental) practice (and therefore a meta-practice), the GOOD has always attracted allegiance. It still does, and is no less a goal for relativistic peoples than for conservative peoples. In any case, the good is to some degree ultimate. And it stands without being situable in a larger context. In our WikiEthica it is the most general of values, and holds first position in our list. Not even happiness is more basic, for happiness is itself a good to which people and peoples aspire: "life, liberty and the pursiut of" happiness. It is no coincidence that the composers of the "Declaration of Independence" made no mention of the good as a goal of living, for though wholly basic, goodness is utterly unspecified. We treat the good here as specified by all values but itself. It implies specification and each value is a specification of it. To "do the good" is not yet to do anything at all. Thus there is no section indicating the location of "goodness" in the list, except that it has no locative section at the beginning, and has no locative section at the end (since the entire list fulfills the purpose of the closing locative section).

At the other end of the list, among the most specific, the most technical, the most local values, every value is capable of being appropriated for the bad. Without a connection to the good, to what only appears to be an ethical value, but is really only a nickname for ethical practice, the most specific values are neutral. The good endows them with quality, but they do not have it of themselves.

In order to bring about the good in character, outcomes, and context, arrange your implied list of values so that every action and quality of life actualizes the pursuit of goodness. But, as Daoism says about life, and Buddhism about enlightenment, you can be too attached to goodness. So, eventually, once a significant set of ethical skills is developed, forget your concern with goodness by simply meeting each situation without self-interest.

What is the goal of goodness? Good life, meaning a (2) happy life. Or should this formula be reversed?

The Conflict:

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