QUESTION: How do you define a good person?

The request has been made that we post a question each week for general feedback and forum style responses. I think its a great idea, so here goes with a question for the week (with the weekend to ponder a good answer). Following my vision expressed in an earlier post, in order to make the world a better place, and to acheive a unity amongst its people, I believe that we all should be “good”. So, before delving into complicated philosophical questions, lets try and keep it fairly simple and close to home…


What is it that makes a person “good”? Is it shown by behaviour and/or by deeper thought? Is it a gesture or a tolerance? How do you define what good is? Is it based on a religion, family, education, or a self taught concept of the difference between right and wrong?

Please post in whatever language you feel most comfortable writing in!!! AND please sign off at the bottom of your comment (a pseudonym will do)!

Maestro di Amore

11 thoughts on “QUESTION: How do you define a good person?

  1. Comment qualifier quelqu’un de “bien” ?Bon, on pourrait dire que l’unique sentiment qui qualifierait quelqu’un de bien est la Générosité et le Respect.Une personne généreuse est une personne dévouée et qui sait tempérérée ses sentiments.L’éducation, la culture, l’intelligence, etc ne sont pas des critères pour définir qu’une personne est quelqu’un de bien.Nous ne grandissons pas tous avec la même culture, éducation.Mais nous sommes tous égaux face à notre liberté de comportement, et la seule qualité et le seul sentiment qui règle toutes nos passions sont la Générosité et le Respect.Une personne qui est donc simplement généreuse (à l’écoute, dévouée envers sa famille, ses amis) et qui respecte les autres (c’est-à-dire qu’elle ne se servira jamais des autres comme moyen pour atteindre ses propres fins) sera considérée comme une bonne personne.

  2. Good person? hum. You can define a good friend. Define a good worker. Define a good moralist. Define a good monk if you want…but you can’t define a good person.I know the next thing you are hoping to hear is some version of “All humans should be equally valued because they are equally good.”Yes, all humans should be equally valued, but as for the conclusion …Is anyone good?- Neo-Realist

  3. So what is a good person? Well I believe that everyone is intrinsically “good”. It is just whether or not we choose to act in a good way. Every thing we do, smile we offer, hand we extend, comes from the decision making to do so. To me a “truly good” person, is the one who does it “sans reflechir”. Of these, there are very few. But I think there are many who at least ask themselves if they should make the effort, whichever outcome they choose. Which is a positive sign!I totally agree with our first response put it. That is, that goodness is demonstrated through generosity and respect towards others. I guess because of the “effort” that goes with it (usually) is what “neo-realist” is implying by questioning if “anyone really good”. But I think that the reflection that most make is a sign that at least goodness is within all of us. Even for those who choose to take the negative option. So what makes us choose the “bad” option? I would blame society. Most people live dissatisfied lives, whether resulting from work, family, friends, life in general. Life is hard, and this reflects on the “esprit de l’homme”. Rarely do I see people smiling in the mornings, glad to be awake, ready to enjoy and make the most of their day! Furthermore, most of us live in fear. The fear of deception from friendships, partners, colleagues, governments, unknowns, the list goes on. All such fears lead to negative thoughts within us which dampen the likelihood of reacting in a “good” way when required. But all these fears live within us! To think positively regardless of how hard “life” is, with the belief/hope that every new day will bring new possibilities is all it takes to quell these fears!So in summary, I think everyone is “good”. For some it takes effort, but it is a choice we all make to do the “right” thing or to behave in a “good” way. If we can all find that little thing in our lives which brings a smile to our face, then all our problems will seem minimal and we can feel positive about overcoming life’s challenges. A friend gave me the advice a couple of years ago, that if ever you feel yourself getting down, or thinking too much. Just to stop for a minute, clear your mind, and just focus on what is around you. Notice the air you are breathing. Notice the leaves on the trees. The colours of what is around you. And remember just how lucky you are! Lucky to be alive! And if you feel “good” about yourself, then it will be so much easier to notice the “goodness” in those around you!- Resident Guru

  4. I would agree “anonymous” (a pseudo would be good). Babies are selfish! But couldn’t this be put down to a necessity. That is the newborns’ need to survive. And isn’t it through the mothers nurturing of the baby that it learns the importance of giving and sharing?I would suggest that selfishness are not intrinsic, but developed through are need to survive. As would I suspect that greed and possessibe behaviour comes from what the baby sees and hears. I don’t have children, but I do see that the raising of children has substantially changed in recent years with more emphasis on communication. Eg, I think it is recognised now that the impact we have on our children in trying to teach them to be good is moreso negative than positive. – Resident Guru

  5. “A good person” pour moi est une personne ouverte d’esprit qui a des valeurs morales et dont les actes sont en accord avec sa pensée… Et je voudrais ajouter aussi: une personne qui sait pardonner! GervaiseP.S: j’en profite pour faire un peu de pub pour mon blog;-)http://gervasie.uniterre.comUn blog sur la Birmanie est en préparation!

  6. I believe Resident Guru has proved my point while trying to discredit it. I still believe we spend more time trying to encourage good than bad, and that I believe to be proof that we need to be taught good. Bad is instinctual. In fact it is so instinctual that it can even go so far as to pervert good teaching. So a good lesson can back fire because the person is bent towards bad.Granted the conversation of the nature of man is a bit off the topic, but intriguing.- Neo Realist

  7. “I think everyone is “good”. For some it take effort. Those who choose the “bad” option …I would blame society.”That is such a weak cop-out. “It’s not my fault. I’m a victim of my society.” Your shrink would be a shamed of you. A person can not progress and grow if they take no responsibility for their actions.Just a reminder that Maestro di Amore opened this question by asking specifically “Before delving into complicated philosophical questions, lets try and keep it fairly simple and close to home…” So let’s stay focused. This is a challenge for all of our readers out there – let’s keep this conversation going. Do you find it possible for you to accomplish altruistic actions with absolutely no ulterior motives that resemble selfish ambition?- Neo Realist

  8. I guess you’re right! I was talking “intrinsically” in terms of if you were take away all outside influence. Which of course is impossible, so completely redundant to discuss. As we are all influenced from birth by the weather, the comforts, the input from others (family and friends and community). Whether good or bad intentions, all these can influence the child to react in all kinds of manners. I’m sure we all could go have a long discussion with our psychologist to discuss how our upbringing has led us to believe and act in the way we do. But I guess this all has an impact of providing us with an insight to greed, jealousy, envy, etc. All these negatives which weigh on our “esprit de bonne volonte”. Which makes it all the more difficult to make the right decision. Plus the question of what is right is always confused by differences between man’s law, god’s law, or by ones’ own morals and ethics. – resident-guru

  9. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”-Jeremiah 17:9, The BibleDoing good things is a learned skill, whereas, no child had to learn to want their own way–it comes naturally.

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