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The "Good Guy" Delusion

I read this article the other day about how our minds process good vs. evil. When we see ourselves, we see ourselves as the good guy and others as the bad guy. This person agrees with my point of view, good guy, that person doesn’t, bad guy. Yet, real life is rarely like a Hollywood movie where bad guys, are just bad for the sake of being bad. What's worse is when we feel we have a moral obligation to point out the bad guys. “That person is bad, how are they not seeing it? Maybe if I just point it out to them they will correct their behavior. After all, it’s the ethical thing to do.”  

So we cling to this delusion that it’s the other guy, the bad guy, who needs to change, never really examining the situation beyond a surface level. The problem is, no matter how awful and terrible we perceive someone else to be, they are most likely carrying the same delusion as us. They see themselves as the good guy and others as the bad guy. So how can we all be good guys? It takes careful reflection and deep soul searching to look beyond the delusion. There’s this real wake up moment when it finally dawns on us that maybe we're not always the good guy, that moment when we finally proclaim, “Wait, it’s me?...I’m the bad guy on this one?” Unfortunately, most of us prefer not to go there, we’d rather live in a space where we're the perpetual good guy.

When we preach to others about morals and ethics we often overlook the small cracks in our own lining. Yes, there are blatant, ethical outrages every day but I guarantee you most of the people at the source of those outrages have found ways to justify their actions and, you guessed it, see themselves as the good guy. That is why when we talk about moral or ethical behavior we should always consider, as good and right and justified as we might think we are, it is possible that at the same time we could just be somebody else’s bad guy.