The Common Good

PJ Taylor November 2012

Of course, you’ve heard of the term “the common good” before.   

I have more often been a failure in my life than I have been a success.

I have had trouble connecting with more people than I’ve connected well with.

I have failed being a participant in more groups’ efforts than I have succeeded.

Many failures.  Few successes.  Often my fault.

But one of the reasons I have not worked well in many endeavors is that I realized I was involved with a group of people who were not trying to fairly pursue common good for all the participants.

Whether working with co-workers or customers, when I’ve come to a realization the work I was doing was not generally creating fairly equal common good for everyone involved, I’ve tended to withdraw from those activities.

And I’ve often tended to make myself either adversarial or scarce with people who I’ve realized were not pursuing the common good.

I believe in the common good.

The “common good” sounds like a meaningless cliché, but it is very important to me.

I think it is a powerful concept that many people don’t understand.  When people don’t seek the common good, they often unknowingly shoot themselves, often not realizing why they have been a primary causal factor in destroying their good intents, work, and social connections.

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When you don’t know what to do – in a job, a relationship, or whatever, ask yourself:

What course of action is most likely to create the most fairly distributed common good for myself and others?

If you can find reasonably accurate answers to those questions, you’ll often find reasonably good courses of action to pursue.

When asking yourself:  Should I continue a course of action further?  Or should I change course?  Consider asking yourself:  What will possibly create the most common good for myself and others?

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The artwork atop this post is by P J Taylor.  © All rights reserved by P J Taylor.

This blog began in 2006. If you enjoy these posts, and would like to read all of them in order, you can begin here. When you’re done reading one, click on the link to the next post in the lower right corner.

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One thought on “The Common Good

  1. What many don’t quite “get” is that working for the common good negates a self-seeking attitude; in a hierarchical world “common good” and “self-seeking” are antithetical concepts, difficult to negotiate and reconcile. It might be better to carry on working for the common good personally and to hope that the school of personal experience brings those who operate out of self-serving attitudes eventually to realize that as others go, so do they.
    Have a fulfilling Christmas, Kwaanza, Chanukkah, Diwali, Solstice, Yule or ? G

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    Mark: Thank you. As always, very interesting. Best wishes to you and yours in this holiday season.


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