Is Better the enemy of Good?


To some, the answer to this question is “no”. The same ones who believe better is always the goal, always, at all costs. There is a time and place for that, surely. Nonetheless, good has been under attack for far too long by the ones who perhaps misinterpreted the message. The same ones who are always scanning the room for someone more interesting, more attractive, more wealthy, more – whatever. “Better”. The same ones who sacrifice personal relationships for sales, spending time at the office when they aren’t obligated instead of with their families and friends. The ones who create unsustainable work cultures for themselves and then blame the job. The ones who don’t set boundaries for themselves. The ones who boast of their strengths but deceive themselves about their weaknesses. The ones who prefer to push feelings down deep and then later become angry about their cowardice, taking it out unfairly on others. The same ones who talk it but don’t walk it. The same ones who are always quick with snarky retorts about feelings, who pride themselves on their sarcastic bag of tricks, walking around with their bully suits on. The same ones who walk through life at an arm’s length away from true feeling, wondering why they can’t connect with others. The same ones who would risk nothing for beauty. The same ones who make decisions for a living and don’t consider the people whose lives those decisions affect. The same ones who think it cool to buy instead of make. The same ones who don’t think it important to nurture and build their own culture but adopt someone else’s culture as their own. TV. The same ones who take big things for granted and are completely oblivious to the small things. The same ones who have next to zero powers of observation. The ones who say “no” by default instead of “yes”. The ones who are sure they know that already and say “I know” a lot. The same ones who are absolutely, positively sure they are sane. The same ones who don’t spend time or earnest effort on anything that doesn’t make obvious contributions to the bottom lines that power any dreams they might have left. Dreams about stuff, things, empty, unfeeling ways of thinking about the world and ways to live in it. Empty. Unsustainable.

This can be any or all of us at any time. We are ALL guilty of waging war against good.

I’m writing my thoughts and feelings here today in defense of the idea of good.

The reason for the recent turn in the economy is clear: we simply haven’t been building a sustainable culture, not in work, not inside of ourselves, not outside, not anywhere. We have been neglecting good, collectively. A strong majority of us continue to forget the lessons illuminated for us in films, literature, et al, yet we still continue to seek out the insatiable paths to ruin. Double-glazing this-and-that isn’t going to change the nature of us. We leave those tough decisions to the characters in our movies and novels.

At some point we all will die. In the moments leading up to thee moment we pass on to whatever that means, is all of this clear, or is even that moment obscured by the impulse to sacrifice good for the sake of better?

I think of that moment more often than I should have to but it keeps me grounded, tied to what good means. I’m not afflicted with the disease of chronic dissatisfaction with my life, my friends, my car, etc. To some that may sound morbid, or even arrogant, but it gives me access to moments of sheer awe, real connectedness to people, and tear-soaked moments of absolute, all-encompassing thankfulness for each and every moment of it.

In the coming year, it is my wish for all of the people everywhere to let go of this anger, stop buying it and buying into it online, on TV, on the radio, in person. Wherever the voice of what makes us unsatisfied lives, turn it off, turn on something that BUILDS, that uplifts, that reminds us of the wondrous things we are capable of, of what’s GOOD.

of high quality; excellent.
right; proper; fit.
honorable or worthy.
educated and refined.
financially sound or safe.
genuine; not counterfeit.
sound or valid.
reliable; dependable.
healthful; beneficial.
in excellent condition.
not spoiled or tainted; edible; palatable.
favorable; propitious.
cheerful; optimistic; amiable.

Whether we like it or not, good is good and it’s entirely up to each of us to nurture it in our own time in this world, whatever it is.

Cheers to all of the good in our lives now and in the years to come.


  1. Mark Zehrer says:

    Man, this is a thing of beauty. Cheers! This is the way to health.

    I am so guilty of this sometimes, like you pointed out we have all been there, then when feeling lost I do remind myself to “walk the talk”. It’s like my compass for orienteering myself.

    To a Vigorous New Year.

  2. c says:

    We all are but it’s not entirely our fault. We’ve been well conditioned ; )

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