Oh my. Oh. Dear. My. I just realized that today marks the beginning of the second quarter of this quest. This is seriously spooky because I haven’t journeyed nearly as far as I had intended by now. How could a whole quarter already be over? (Insert your favorite cry of frustration here.)
I have learned a few things.
I now know that I need to read Plato, but haven’t yet. I know there’s an entire scientific discipline dedicated to understanding the neurological, biological and psychological basis of our moral choices, and that it may make sense to discuss goodness in terms of how we humans are hard-wired to make morality.
I know that a portion of humanity (the percentage is unknown to me) believes that goodness only comes from God and religion. Another portion of humanity (again, percentage unknown) believes that goodness only comes from reason. My own sneaking suspicion is that goodness is a combination of reason and moral codes (which may or may not be found in religion) and maybe something else. I also suspect that the good guys and the bad guys can’t identified by the color of their hats or by whether or not they tote a Bible or disdain it. Neither the devout nor the atheist seem to have a lock on morality, but then again, maybe I’m missing something.
I’ve learned that I need to journey within myself as well as outside of myself to understand goodness. I’ve taken to daily meditation and prayer to do that. If I don’t embark on this inner journey, then this quest will be a little like going to Italy and never stepping out of the airplane or tasting the pasta. (By the way, the fact that I’m a non-believer who has launched a pray-a-thon has led me to consider writing an article entitled “Prayer for Those Who Don’t Believe in God,” or maybe that’s “Prayer for the Eager Atheist” because either one of those titles would describe me.)
I haven’t yet written as much as I intended about my own life and my motivations for this quest. (I keep thinking that people are asking themselves: Why is this strange woman doing this?) I haven’t interviewed near as many people as I intended on the topic of goodness.
I also haven’t raised the money I need to buy a good video camera and microphone, come up with the funding to finance the rest of my journey into goodness, bought said video and audio equipment, or learned to use Skype, create a podcast, download an audio interview onto my computer or done other items on my to-do list.
Stay tuned, though. I swear I’m going to wrestle both the logistics of this quest and its substance to the ground. I AM going to answer the question: What is goodness? And I’m going to do it within the next nine months.