Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?
David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
People who claim that they’re evil are usually no worse than the rest of us… It’s people who claim that they’re good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Don’t talk to me about people who are ‘nice’ cause I have spent my whole life in ruins because of people who are ‘nice’.
Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky.
Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like being a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we met at a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a soccer ball in my neighbor’s yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story, you, hearing the words “soccer” and “neighbor” in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that your childhood neighbor was Pele, the famous soccer player, and I might be courteous and say, Didn’t he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow up in New York? And you might reply that, no, you grew up in Brazil on the streets of Tres Coracoes with Pele, and I might say, I thought you were from Tennessee, and you might say not originally, and then go on to outline your genealogy at length. So my initial conversational gambit - that I had a funny story about being chased by my neighbor’s dog - would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pele. Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.
Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
Sometimes, the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power, mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies. You remember that, boy. Doesn’t matter if they are true or not. A man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in.
Robert Duvall, Secondhand Lions
Nobody thinks they’re a bad person. I’m not even claiming that people always think they are doing the right thing. They may know they are doing something dishonest or insensitive or manipulative, but they always think there is a good reason for doing it. They almost always that it will turn out for the best in the end, even if it just turns out the best for them.
Jeff Goldblum, The Big Chill
That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
Roald Dahl, The Twits
Good people will do good things, lots of them, because they are good people. They will do bad things because they are human.
Harold S. Kushner, Living a Life That Matters
I think we can’t go ‘round measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
Hugh O’Conor, Chocolat
I’m a good person. In most ways. But I’m beginning to think that being a good person in most ways doesn’t count for anything very much, if your a bad person in one way.
Nick Hornby, How to Be Good
People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.
Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (via frecklesmakemestrong)