Today I wondered about the phrase, 'Doing the right thing.' I like to think of myself as a standup kind of person, and as such, I like to think that I do the right thing or am trying to do the right thing the majority of the time. Today was a particularly difficult day and I found myself saying, 'I'm just trying to do the right thing.' Of course, I was actually yelling it to the ceiling, hoping my day would improve.
I started wondering, 'Well, am I doing the right thing? How do I know I'm doing the right thing?' I wondered how I had decided I was trying to do the right thing.
I defined the word decide, which means to make a choice from a number of alternatives. To me this means that individuals decide, in our own way, which thing of many, is the right thing. What may seem like or be decided as the right thing to one may not be to another, which is true. I've often felt something is right when someone else thought it wrong, or vice versa.
Definitions will never fail. They have never failed me, never will. Dictionaries are like the writer's bible. At least, they should be. At least, I think they should be.
So I decided to define the word right, which means morally good, justified or acceptable, or correct in one's opinion or judgement. Then I wondered, 'Well why go as far as to say morally good?' Why not stop at good? Why don't we just say, 'Do the good thing.' You don't hear anyone tell you to do the good thing. There's a reason they didn't do that. Not because it doesn't sound right. It just doesn't sound right because we are programmed to know that it is wrong. And when I say they, I mean the little faeries who made the dictionary and decided how we should speak and what right or wrong grammatically speaking, of course.
Besides the fact that it would be grammatically incorrect, good doesn't actually mean to be good! Good can actually, simply mean to be beneficial or advantageous to someone or something. If we all decided to just be good, rather than right, or morally good, we would all be considered a bunch of inconsiderate cavemen, which is sadly what our language has been reduced to!
I wish I could go back to the days when my teacher or my mom made me pull out the dictionary every time I didn't know what a word meant. I wish everyone did that. There's a million ways I can go with this, and it's overwhelming. Wouldn't it be different if we somehow had certain data already programmed into our minds and we would never forget it? In my alternant universe, it would be the dictionary. Everyone would come with a fully decked out dictionary and they would never forget the words and definitions they had already learned.
The world would be so different, and far more intelligent, I think.
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