Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ruined by Reading

“Reading is good for you.” It sounds like a truism, yet, like so many things, reading can also be bad for you.

As long as I can remember reading, there has been a recurring theme in what I have read. “You cannot be a hero and also know you are a hero.” (1) In my mind, this boils down to, you cannot be good and also think you are good. If you think it, it is not completely so. This is a curse to the introspective. If you have a strong desire to be good, then is it possible to be good and not just self serving?

I find myself questioning every action. I am a good and moral person by nature but my awareness of this, combined with an insidious belief from my youth (see 1), make me doubt myself. It is only recently that I have come to acknowledge the problem with this early belief. Actions in line with your heart can both be good and be known to be good. It is only those actions where we attempt to deceive – ourselves, the world, that pretty girl – where the act and the motivation can be in conflict and where the knowing can cast a shadow on the doing.

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