Good Will

People people everywhere with traffic, buildings, noise, and joy.

Platitudes fall as numerous as snowflakes in Siberia this time of year.  Most express some aspect of good will.  Many involve other people.

We rarely wish good will to the moon, or the inert universe.  Sometimes we meditate on a hopeful balance of all nature and life.  Almost everyone will agree for a while that other people should have decent lives, at least if that is not too much trouble for each of us.  Humans are social enough that it is more likely that we hope even strangers intend well than that we desire them instantly dead.

We should probably spend more time considering just how fortunate it is that we are a social species.  It allows us to perform miracles.  Those miracles would be far more harmonious with other, grander, ideals if they include everyone, and not just you, me, and our tiny limited little tribe.

I rarely pine for wilderness and ancient times as I stand on a dock warmly dressed in biting wind, grateful that civilization (good will to it) has given me so much.

Good will _ being free _ is hardly part of economic analysis.  If it were it would be included among the set of non-zero-sum games.  Wishing good will to you and hundreds of others does not diminish our share of the bounty.  It may even add to my own.

Perhaps caroling “Good Will” is useless.  Perhaps action speaks louder than words.  Perhaps talk is cheap.  Perhaps even thinking about good will is a philosophic scam in a sad world filled with horror and calamity. 

I believe attitude is an important part of life.  A cheerful outlook may be ignorant, perhaps the pessimistic and cynical reap all the material rewards.  Good will is not material (unless you are an accountant) but it has a value, and can make each of our lives better than living without it.

Some claim hell is other people.  Or no people.  I’ve occasionally felt each way.

Life is an improbable wonder.  Trillions of cells, insanely complex chemical reactions, improbable conscious means of experiencing the sensory world.  To take all that for granted, in ourselves, in everyone else, is insanity.  To think a diamond or an extra square inch of dirt or even love or honor is worth more than a second of life is the anchor of core criminality.

Ain’t we the lucky ones?  Good will to us all!

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