Mar 05, 2021

Why should you be good?

I don’t consider myself a religious person. I don’t think bad people go to hell and good people go to heaven. I think there is no experience after death. If you believe in those things, then you already have a pretty compelling reason to be a good, honest person in your life. But if you don’t believe in them, why should you be good?

The way I think about it is this: life is a collection of stories. What character do you want to play in those stories? Obviously, the hero is the best character. What rational person wants to be the villain? I know I’ve been the villain before, usually out of short-sightedness or insecurity, but I’m doing my best to be the good guy. Everything you accumulate in your life will eventually be taken away when death comes. Why not try to leave something useful behind?

People don’t need a threat of consequences for being a bad person or a promise of heaven for being a good person to incentivize them to do the right thing. They just need to keep the big picture in mind that there is no point in intentionally causing pain for others. I hope when this life is over, my existence can be viewed as a net positive.