Goodness had little to do with the inherent qualities in someone. Goodness was about knowing in your heart what anyone in the world, especially you, is capable of, and then choosing to be good, to do good, every day. It was not virtue but practice, and you failed more often than you succeeded. Every person was capable of hurting another, capable of indifference, capable of tyranny. It was what made us human, after all. It baffled me how malleable our souls were, how changeable, and how naive each person was, including myself.
Goodness was beyond thoughts and words, of course. It was action. With the exception of children. For children were always good—even in their words. Until they grew up and they learned to choose how to act. The very appearance of agency was the loss of innocence. When they could choose what they wanted to be, people seldom chose good. It was why the world had, throughout history, been caught in a terrible state of affairs. The first realisation anyone had while coming of age was how all of us were terribly selfish.
Goodness was not being selfless. We couldn’t be selfless. Goodness was a measure of how easily we could think of someone else before we did anything. Some people quickly thought of others. They spent most of their lives in the service of other people. Some did not think of others at all. They spent their entire lives in a bubble of their own, in a public isolation, of sorts.
What about me? Like with all things, I was in between the two. Unlike both sides of it, and like most people in the world, I was going to spend my life constantly worried over things I could do nothing about, events I could not change, and people I could not help. It was a fate decided long ago. It was a battle I could never win. Perhaps, all I wanted was to be a child again. Wanting to be good was to be in a state of perpetual helplessness. All I could do was try.
Perhaps, on most occasions, trying was enough.