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We are good because they are bad

The phrase and thought "we are good because they are bad" is the source of almost all evil in the world. This thought is against four fundamental principles of the Quran: Justice, Freedom, Compassion, and Knowledge.

This thought is against Justice because the position of a person in the categories of "good" and "bad" is not permanent and fixed, but it is temporary and fluid. Any person can do "good" and "bad" deeds at some point in their lives, and therefore, "good" and "bad" cannot be permanent and fixed properties of a person.

This thought is against Freedom because it defines one group of people by another group of people, and that is wrong. People are defined by their deeds and words, not by an affiliation or opposition to other people. Thus, a person is good or bad because they do good or bad deeds, not because they are a son, daughter, wife, husband, member, participant, friend, enemy, supporter, etc., of someone or something.

This thought is against individual freedom because the words "we" and "they" remove and absolve personal responsibility and individual accountability. Thus, a person can do horrible things in the name of a group or idea, and a person becomes a slave of ideology or groupthink. In order to advance in the hierarchy of the group, the individual does deeds that are contrary to her personal principles of Justice, Freedom, Compassion, and Knowledge. A person who loses herself to the idea "we are good because they are bad" becomes a slave of the hierarchy, rank, and career.

This thought is against Compassion because it sentences a large group of people ("they are bad") without any evidence and proof. Also, due to the hypothetical and wrong "win-lose" type of connection between the statuses of two groups in that phrase, compassion and understanding are not possible between those two groups. Superiority of one group is defined by the inferiority of the other group. Therefore, it is beneficial and important for one group to show other groups as inferior and perpetuate their inferiority. This means instead of compassion, cruelty and oppression are the modus operandi between the groups.

This thought is against Knowledge because it is impossible to know exactly the state of being "good" or "bad" of all members of the groups. Thus, people who think and say "we are good because they are bad" claim all-encompassing knowledge of own selves and others, and that is impossible. People change, improve, and regress at different rates, and therefore, telling that group is "good" or "bad" is not objective in the same way as calculating the average temperature of all patients in the hospital. The average temperature of all patients in the hospital has no meaning to doctors because doctors cannot administer treatment based on that information. Groups cannot be good or bad, but individuals of the group can be good or bad at the particular points of the timeline. People change with the flow of time. Telling that person is good or bad based on her affiliation or opposition to a particular group is the claim of absolute knowledge about that person. The claim of absolute knowledge is the greatest stupidity that a person can make.

The phrase "we are good because they are bad" is the source of all conflicts and wars. Look at the terminology and vocabulary of all wars, and you see that this phrase is repeated over and over again. For example, "we are good (non-Nazi) because they are bad (Nazi)." We are good (capitalists) because they are bad (communists). We are good (non-Jews) because they are bad (Jews). We are good (whites) because they are bad (non-whites). We are good (men) because they are bad (women). We are good (rich) because they are bad (poor). This phrase is the idea of the satanic devil: "I am good (created from fire) because Adam is bad (created from clay) (7:12). Thus, the claim of superiority that is based on others' supposed inferiority is the way and method of the devil and devilish persons.

The phrase "we are good because they are bad" is the root of competition, and competition is the root of cheating. The schooling system promotes and produces competition and cheating because "we are good (high grades and marks) because they are bad (low grades and marks). Thus, grades, marks, points, medals, etc., promote the claim of superiority based on others' inferiority, and they shift the focus from personal improvement to comparison and competition. Comparison and competition produce envy and enmity that poison individual and societal lives.

Competition and comparison are not harmful when a person competes with own self and compares her today's state with her yesterday's state. Me today must be better than me yesterday. I do not have to be better than someone or to be the best in the field. I have to be better than me, and that is it. My life is my personal and private journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. My life is not a race, sprint, or marathon against other people.

Competition and comparison against other people is the losing game, and it cannot be won. Just look at the career of any fighter, and you see that everyone loses in competition. So, the competition must be against self, not against others.

Comparison is the poison that makes the lives of children and adults unbearable. If you want to traumatize and cripple a child psychologically, then compare her to other children continuously and constantly. If you want to commit moral suicide, then continuously and constantly compare yourself with others.

Nowadays, social media is the meat grinder that butchers your morality because it pushes and forces you to compare yourself to others. Thus, you are losing yourself, your identity, and your personality by comparing yourself with "influencers" of social media. You become the participant of the "vanity race" that has no finish line, and it is finished when you die morally due to exhaustion.

So, what should I choose: definition by others or definition by habits? Comparing myself to others or constructing myself? I am good because you are bad? Or I am good because I have daily habits of causing good?

My habits define me: thinking habits, feeling habits, talking habits, and acting habits. Other people do not define me. I do what I know to be true. I do not do something to appear better and brighter than someone. And if I do something to appear better and brighter than someone, then I pray to God to let me know and amend my mistakes.

Daily habits define the "goodness" or "badness" of a person. The comparison to and competition with other people do not define a person. That is why religions target the daily habits of people, and that is why philosophies cannot reach the masses. Philosophies do not target habits. When philosophy is enriched with routines, rituals, and habits, it becomes a religion.

"We are good because they are bad" is not a solution, but it is a problem. "I am good because I have daily habits of causing good" is the solution. Searching for the mistakes of others and using them to stroke, uplift, and feed your own ego is not the way of progress, but it is a way of regress. Concentrating on daily habits is the way of progress.

Verses 96:3 and 96:4 point to the daily habits of reading and writing. Reading plus writing equals thinking. And thinking is the cure of egomania and egomaniacs that claim and cling to the idea that "we are good because they are bad."

Those who follow the Prophet (PBUH) should remember the words of Hunayn: "You are the children of polytheists too." Thus, you cannot claim superiority that is based on the supposed and hypothetical inferiority of other people.

I chose, and I am choosing habits, not a comparison, not a competition.

-İman isteyen münafık


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