Why Bad Things are Bad

It’s the way you live your life that matters. ― Cassandra Clare

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How can one tell if something is right or wrong? Did somebody just invent all the rules and regulations? If so, how do we know if that is still right?

According to Kant, there is only one basic right which is freedom [1]. This liberty does not mean that humans can do whatever they desire, but it must be in accordance with the best nature of people. This means that individuals should treat people as an end, not as a means. In this case, free will is equal to the will accepted by the moral laws in which people’s behavior is shown in less personal terms. In order to do the right thing, people should keep themselves in check.

Moral actions cannot draw on contradictions [2]. Suppose Bear steals $40 from his friend, Bee. Thus, Bear is universalizing that everyone should always steal. If it is okay for him to steal, then it should be okay for everyone to do so. This, however, leads to a contradiction. If everyone should always steal, Bee should steal back from Bear, repeating the same endless circle. In the end, no one gets to spend the $40, and therefore, stealing is immoral. No one can make an exception for themselves when it comes to what is right.

Like love, violence never ends because it makes people feel significant [3]. No one intends to be bad, but everyone has an urge to fulfill something inside them. To contribute beyond themselves. To be known for something, even if it means dying for a person or killing that person. Everyone needs so much to be great that they sometimes forget to be good. The intention was never bad. The bad part is how far you are willing to go to make others suffer just so you could feel enough.

What about those who have been hurt?

Andrew Soloman believes that the worst moments in your life define who you are [4]. People do not find the meaning; they forge the meaning by merging all of their hurtful moments into a narrative of triumph. They draw the most strength from the worst kind of devastation, making it the best lesson to carry on and thrive. They are not ashamed to tell the stories. They are not ashamed of their identity.

Is it the same for those who have hurt others?

It is like punching a wall. The moment you hurt someone, you receive the same amount of pain you offer. Except that pain does not quickly fade; it accumulates. It wrecks your core and drowns you in sorrow, even if the sin has long been forgiven. Living in the past can also have a terrible effect on the current relationships as you drag your loved ones down the hill of guilt with you.

Imagine if you were the people who think that it is okay to abuse animals. Animals live in the present. They get hurt; they forget. You, on the other hand, hurt the lives that you think are not as important as yours. If you can hurt innocent animals, wouldn’t you be a threat to humans too?

What does that say about you?



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