How does both society and school define “good” and “bad?”

Weston Liang

Staff Writer

     Ever since the rise of human civilization and society, the concept of “good” and “bad” has been thrown around for generations upon generations. Some things that have been considered bad by people in society may now be seen in a new light. Due to school existing within the large realm of “society,” it will experience the same concepts. The “good” of society is supposed to be well understood by most people, right?

     “I think that, according to–admittedly fluid–societal standards, something is ‘good’ if someone or something can derive a benefit from it … Picking up litter in a park is ‘good’ because you’re helping keep the park environment clean [and] pristine for the existing ecosystem and the park visitors there,” explained Benjamin Tarver (11).

     Many of us have been told to do something good, although different people may do it for different reasons. Some people do good things to make the world a better place. Some people do good things in order to get something else in return, and some people do good things simply because they feel like it. While a “benefit to all” action is considered good, its contrast to all this is “the bad” of society and school.

     “I guess from a school standpoint, schools also want students to follow the rules. It’s kind of like how society wants you to follow laws. I would say that something both school and society consider as bad is when you’re breaking the rules,” answered Ms. Nahigian.

     “Bad” can be described in several contexts. Ms. Nahigian’s description is more focused on the lawfulness of the term. Rules are made in order to keep the general environment safe for all. Breaking them may result in negatively affecting others. However, some perceptions of what can negatively affect people can change. Society’s rules are expectations in a constant motion.

     “I definitely think that there are different things that perception has shifted over time. Things that may be less accepted in the past … [such as] LGBTQ rights can definitely be put into that category,” noted Ms. Nahigian.

     When culture and morals are in constant motion, change will be inevitable. LGBTQ rights, as Ms. Nahigian mentioned, is a prime example of how cultural changes in society can shape what is and what is not considered as morally or lawfully bad. There once was a time in history where being part of the LGBTQ community was seen as wrong. Even worse, it was considered to be an actual mental illness. Many years later and that viewpoint has reversed itself entirely. However, some of the morals and laws of society have inherently existed to regulate the potential harm that some may commit to others. In the case that one should end up committing something bad, what should be done?

     “I am a firm believer of ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’. We should focus on forgiving and rehabilitating those who have committed ‘bad’ actions according to society,” proclaimed Ivan Ko (11).

     “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is an ideal that many seem to forget. Not every single bad action must result in direct punishment. Many people are starting to prefer rehabilitation efforts over standard punishments. Instead of keeping bad people at the bottom of society to remain bad, we could pull them back up to a state of goodness. 

“My definition of good and bad is that if it helps the people closest to you, your community, and the world, that is a good action. Actions done in the interest of hurting others, your community, and ultimately yourself are bad actions,” stated Ivan Ko (11).

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