Doing Good vs. Helping

Essay by jaybrog January 2005

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Doing good deeds for people does not always lead to beneficial results. Even if something is done with good intentions, there is always the possibility that it can backfire and actually cause damage. There is a large dependency on what the person doing the deed sees as good. Also, deeds done with good intentions do not always result in wholly good outcomes. Actions can have a positive effect on the situation at hand, but, in turn, have a negative effect on some related situation. There is also the possibility that an action may prevent something better that would have otherwise occurred.

When a person tries to help another, the deed that is done might only appear beneficial to the person trying to be generous. For example, when a samurai is defeated in battle but is not killed, rescuing them may appear to be the humane thing to do. However, the samurai would see dying in combat much more honorable than fleeing.

In this, point of view is the key factor in deciding whether or not the action taken is truly good. Giving starving people food from an animal they held sacred would achieve a similar result. If a country wished to ship relief materials, which included beef, into a country highly populated by Hindus, a seemingly good deed could turn disastrous. The Hindus would not only have no use for the meat, but also be offended by the offer because the Hindu people regard the cow as a holy animal. The amount of good that is done is again dictated by point of view. In a milder way, if a person having software issues is using a program that is outdated, a technician might see upgrading to a newer program as the simplest solution. If the user is familiar with...