The concepts of good and bad are simply extreme sides of the imagination, and nothing else.
We get obsessed and caught up in the intensity of events in our lives and almost all the time we categorize them being either good or bad. However things are never good nor bad, they simply are. The only thing that changes, is how we see them from our point of view at that moment.
An old Chinese story about the good or the bad
There is an old Chinese story saying that once upon a time there was a poor farmer and he only had one horse. He was dependent on the horse for important work to feed his family.
One day, his horse runs away. In the evening the farmer’s neighbor comes over and says “I’m sorry to hear about your horse. That must be bad for you”, surprisingly the farmer responds “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. We will see”. The neighbor gets confused, he can’t really understand how such an economic tragedy for the family is not a bad thing.
The next day the horse returns and brings with him some wild horses. In the evening the same neighbor returns and says “How wonderful to get this many horses. It seems that your luck has changed. That’s really good”. The farmer, again, responds with “I don’t know if it’s good or bad. We will see”. Yet again the neighbor gets confused… how this cannot be a good event?
The next day, the farmer’s son tries to tame one of the wild horses, but the horse throws him off and he breaks his leg. In the evening the neighbor comes over and seeing the son in pain says “I’m so sorry for you. What a terrible accident”. Again, the farmer replies with the usual “I don’t know if it’s is good or bad. We will see”. Now the neighbor was starting to question the mental health of the farmer.
A few days later, the army comes into the town to recruit young men for the ongoing war. With a broken leg, the farmer’s son was not considered. In the evening, the neighbor comes over and says “How luck you are that your son avoided the war. Isn’t that amazing?”. He wasn’t surprised when the farmer responded with “It is what it is”.
The moral of the story
The story has its origin in the essay collection Huainanzi, more than 2000 years ago.
The moral of the story is that life is not good and it is not bad, it simply is what it is. We can’t know what events will lead to, we can only judge them by what we see at the moment.
David Icke points out that “Terms like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are extremely simplistic in what is a far more complex situation”.
We have the power to decide what things mean to us, we can attach a different meaning to an experience in our lives and we can see good in some things, or bad in everything. We can turn fortune into misery with ease.
The point is not that apparently bad things do not happen, they certainly do. The point is that we can decide on what to focus on and what they mean to us. It is all in our mindset and what are the patterns of our thinking.
We get sore muscles and pain that help us grow, we get frustrated and ashamed, but that makes us grow and learn. Pain makes us move, suffering can make us grow, appreciation can grow our ego, good things can make us overconfident.
Now it’s YOUR turn
- What is good and what is bad to you?
- Do you see the good in bad things, the bad in good things or simply accept how things are?
Through this article series, we are helping you build a solid mindset. We are strong believers that once we can understand a subject, we can engage with the idea or refuse it altogether. Both ways are helping us grow and develop our own way of seeing the world.
In the end, everything starts with us, with our mind, our self, and even our stories. Choose to act now on Studylia.