I’m at Day 100 of this quest and reveling in the fact that the nights are suddenly cool here in Kansas. Autumn is only a few days away. Outside my open window, a road crew is wrapping up its work, scenting the breeze with the reek of oil, but the geese are flying overhead, and I no longer feel like I live in an oven.
I’m finishing a big project for a paying client, but I’m still hard at work on my quest. I’m plodding through a stack of papers by Professor Jonathan Haidt to understand divergent views of morality.
I’ve got a long list of interviews planned, but right now I need to soak up more information before I venture forth once again. On the other hand, I’m proud to report that I’ve wrestled Skype to the ground, so I hope to be providing some video interviews in the future.
I’ve added my good friend Kelley Hunt as a Fellow Traveler. Her music explores goodness (and a bit of badness) in all its forms. Through our one-on-one conversations, she is as much as guide for me as a Fellow Traveler.
Following a link from Andrew Sullivan, I discovered the anti-me. I’m in search of goodness because deep down I think goodness is the natural state of things. In The Pessimist’s Manifesto, Karl Smith sees life far differently:
Bad things happen because badness is the natural state of the world. If something good ever happens count yourself lucky and be aware that this too shall pass.
Thus, I see our proper mission as easing pain, where we can, to the extent we can, the best we can. This is best done up close and personal where you are mostly likely to quickly notice if your efforts to help are actually doing harm.
I also see “our proper mission as easing pain.” Smith and I start from what look like opposite sides of the philosophical world, yet end up in the same place. Fascinating.