We miss a lot when we lump people or experiences into moral categories.
Posted in , Jan 30, 2018
I had to go to a funeral on Saturday, so I went to get a haircut on Thursday. The hairdresser, after asking about my hair care practices pronounced, “Ah, you have good hair!” This struck me as funny, as if she was passing moral judgment on my hair. I gathered she meant that taking care of my hair required little effort.
I took the train down to Baltimore with a friend. “Did you have a good trip?” someone asked. I smiled, marveling at how easily the word good is substituted for a more precise adjective. We’d had a safe trip, a comfortable trip, an uneventful ride with a 20-minute delay. Yes, I guess that adds up to good.
I find dividing my days and belongings into good and bad problematic. You see, it gets me in the habit of passing judgment on things and events, and from there it’s a slippery slope to doing the same with people.
Once I realized this, I put a bit of effort into getting in the habit of using more accurate descriptions. The effect of doing so brought life into, curiously, better focus. I suspect this is because few things are purely good or purely bad, and we miss a lot when we lump experiences, people and even hair into moral categories. Most important to me, though, was that being more precise with my words helped me get off the slippery slope of constantly judging things. And (dare I say it?) that was a very good thing, indeed.