Being Morally Good in The War of Life

Life is a war—a long war between happiness and others. In every battle of this war, we expect fairness—be happy as much as others and be treated as equals. From childhood, I was taught that people who are morally good and lawful will always win this war. That's who I wanted to be. All the movies, books, and religions taught me sticking the goodness will always result in happy endings. My parents, grandparents, friends, and relatives believed in this idea; we all believed in it together.

All my life, I've been waiting for this war to end. It's been thirty years, and with this expectation, I cannot survive; we cannot survive. There is no end to this war. Being morally good doesn't help happiness to grow. It helps to become a better person in society, that's all. Being a better person doesn't guarantee to win the war; it doesn't make me the best person in my war.

Ursula K. Le Guin was right when she separated a morally good man from the best man in a fight.

" 'Let the best man win' doesn't mean the good man will win. 'This will be a fair fight, no prejudice, no interference—so the best fighter will win it.' If the treacherous bully fairly defeats the nice guy, the treacherous bully is declared champion."

Learning the best man is not the good man takes a long time for us—as it took thirty years for me. We have to forget all movies we have watched, all the superheroes we've seen—all the misperception. The problem is not being morally good but expecting a good outcome solely from being good. The problem is the expectancy. Ursula saw our deficient comprehension and continued,

This is justice. But it's the kind of justice that children can't bear. They rage against it. It's not fair! But if children never learn to bear it, they can't go on to learn that a victory or a defeat in battle, or in any competition other than a purely moral one (whatever that might be), has nothing to do with who is morally better.
Might does not make right—right?
Therefore right does not make might. Right?
But we want it to. "My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure."
If we insist that in the real world the ultimate victor must be the good guy, we've sacrificed right to might. (That's what History does after most wars, when it applauds the victors for their superior virtue as well as their superior firepower.) If we falsify the terms of the competition, handicapping it, so that the good guys may lose the battle but always win the war, we've left the real world, we're in fantasy land—wishful thinking country.

This justice is the counterpoint to our beliefs, all the things we learned, and our envisions for happiness. Society taught us that a good soul would eventually win, but our beliefs are shaken from the core.

When we abandon the rules in real life, we lose and become weak. Our goodness doesn't make us frail, believing we, the morally good ones, will be victorious does.

In the fantasy land created around us, we don't realize that the good guys are learning how to fight. They lose battles, but they win the war by choosing to fight. They practice, focus, and don't give up. However, folks behind movies and TV series still move our focus to only being morally good instead of the superheroes' mentality change. They still display how these heroes learn fighting, but that part never sticks with us.

With all the influence on us, with knowing that real justice is different, how do we become both right and might?

If life is full of problems, as Mark Manson said, how can we choose the good problems instead of the bad ones? How can we remember the big war we're in?

Not learning how to fight doesn't prepare us for most of the fights in our adulthood. The protectiveness of our families, constant support, and religion make us believe that we don't need to prepare for the fight well.

As unprepared fighters, we lose battles by hoping that we will win the war because we are morally good. However, we won't. If there is no preparation, no one can win a war by being nice.

People often tell me, "pick your battles wisely." But I think choosing the battles is what makes good people lose. Accepting the reality that good people lose wars, we have to choose which wars we would like to have, not the battles. Similar to deciding on which problems we will focus on, we need to choose good wars to fight. Choosing the battles is an amateur mistake, while choosing the wars is a professional approach, and we need to live professionally.

This phrase may sound awkward but professionally living requires learning how to live in happiness, not in a way we're forced to do. We don't have to stick to our weaknesses and accept them. I know that some of us are privileged, and not many people have a choice to decide what they should do. However, there is always a way out to happiness. History is filled with stories of people who didn't accept their fate. They learned how to fight after a long struggle. That's what we should do as well: know our privileges, embrace our advantages, learn how to fight, and pursue happiness. Is there any other way? Will someone else (maybe our parents again) teach us? No, nobody knows our fight better than us, and we will never win anything just because we're good.

We're alone in our fight, and we have to figure it out alone.

Now, it's time to accept this and start practicing. Not tomorrow.

Medium Length Last Updated: Jul 29, 2022