Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so

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April 20, 1889 is when a certain someone entered this world. He was considered a bright child, although his father didn’t approve  of his son’s interest in fine art as a career. After being rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts and being homeless for quite some time, he applied to serve for a country at the outbreak of World War I, though he was a citizen of another country at the time. During his service, he was present at a number of significant battles and was honored for his bravery. Unfortunately, his country lost in the war and, as a result, he developed a sense of justice and felt like his country (because at this point, he’s practically accepted by the country) had been betrayed. After the war ended, he joined a political party that would try to prompt his country to return to the glory state that it once held. He encountered many setbacks— including going to prison for nearly a year due to being suspected of treason— and persevered through them all. During the Great Depression was when he was able to shine the most and allow others to take notice of his passion and leadership. With his party now being the only legal political party in the country and him being the absolute leader in all areas of his country, he finally felt he was ready to declare war on all the countries that were against his own. A lot of “sacrifices” had been made; a lot of laws had been introduced; a lot of disclosure was revealed at the height of the war. Among his peers, he was considered a hero. So much so that many claim him to be the reason the United States got out of the Great Depression due to his decision to overrun Europe causing the U.S. to go into war mode and thus reducing the number of unemployment, though it did increase the number of American soldiers (biography.com). I’m sure you all know by now who I am talking about. The name of this individual is none other than Adolf Hitler

Notice how I worded that entire paragraph to make Hitler sound like was the good guy in the story— or at least the tragic hero. Yet, nothing I mentioned was false; everything I wrote was based on facts provided by the internet.

 It’s all about perspective. Good and bad are subjective— they intertwine depending on the perspective of an individual. Who’s to say what is considered good or bad? The government? Our religion? Our morals? Nay, it’s the individual who thinks it is that makes it so. When it comes to groups, especially a society, we have what is called a ‘mob mentality,’ meaning that people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. In other words, the majority will always win over the minority. As individuals, we do what we feel is right. But when we meet, and likely join, a group, our beliefs are challenged and many succumb to the pressure of others. We think we know what’s right or wrong until we have to deal with society’s standards of morality—and even then we still might be confused. Remember when we were merely children, unaware of our circumstances, who were given many opportunities to do whatever we wanted in public? Even going as far as screaming or yelling to get what we wanted (our parents likely punished us later for taking advantage of that). Now we’re teenagers/adults who are aware of our circumstances and heavily consider the consequences of our actions. Society has played a huge part in what we think is either good or bad. Though the fact still remains: there is nothing either good or bad. 

Having this sort of attitude comes with benefits that can ultimately change our outlook on life, and perhaps the lives of others. For starters, having this attitude will allow us to better understand others’ points of view thus increasing our ability to empathize. Empathizing with others will give us more opportunities to truly learn about them and their circumstances; prompting us to do something about it and, as a result, hopefully help, or at least improve, their circumstances. Constantly doing noble deeds such as these will take us to a position we never thought we would be in, yet are glad we’re in.

Because there is nothing good or bad, that doesn’t mean we should be apathetic about the things going on around us. After all, we have the ability to choose for ourselves what we think is good or bad— and nothing can take that away from us. With this ability, we determine not only our future, but the future of others. Think about the case of Edward Snowden, the guy who revealed details of classified United States government surveillance programs and was forced to leave the country. Some think what he did was heroic, others think what he did was treacherous. Regardless, it’s up to us, as individuals with the freedom to choose, whether or not what he did was good or bad, or perhaps neither.

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