Book Reviews

Is it difficult to be good ?


I completed reading this amazing book “The difficulty of being good” by Gurcharan Das a couple of weeks back. It’s going to be difficult to summarize the book, but am going to pick ten statements that are worth meditating over. This book has to be read and re-read and re-read for the meaning to really sink in.

Ten statements to meditate on –

1. Dharma refers to “balance” – both moral balance and cosmic balance.

2. The loaded game of vice is a metaphor for the vulnerable human life in which death and “kala”, time, inevitably triumph.

3. Kant felt that “inequality among men is a rich source of much that is evil, but also of everything that is good.”

4. The attraction of Consequentialism is it’s simplicity. I can quickly tell if I am being good by examining the consequences of my act.

5. One should not make the common mistake in believing that the opposite of selflessness is selfishness.

6. The key point is that there is no natural order of ‘merit’ that is independent of one’s value system.

7. Karna’s search for his identity reminds one of the terrible mistake that society makes in forcing individuals to privilege one identity over all the others.

8. You will waste a lot less time worrying about what others think of you if only you realized how seldom they do.

9. The evolutionary principle of reciprocal altruism, which socio-biologists have made popular in recent decades; adopt a friendly face to the world but do not allow yourself to be exploited.

10. Goodness might be one of the very few things of genuine worth in this world.

Do read the book. Worth every minute you spend reading it.

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