Goodwill, Ethics & Storytelling


The steps we take to get somewhere are more important than where we ultimately end up. Form over function, process over outcome and so on and so forth. As we explore more deeply the process of development, I find myself re-interpreting the idea of growth as a product of both process and relationships. Concatenation. Elements combining to form something new. A child is able to re-tell a story they have heard from the people around them. For a time, they are the caretakers of that story. Eventually, as they imprint their own experiences on to their re-telling of the story, the story evolves and becomes different than what it was. As this re-occurs amongst individuals, a culture evolves and society moves forward.

Concatenation occurs over lifetimes. Why is it that the story I told you in the spring is different than it is in the fall? How did the story change? The words are the same. The characters have not changed. Nor has the moral or the beginning, middle or end. What has changed is me, the story teller. Their experiences between then and now have created a new person. A different imprint onto the story itself. When we listen to stories we are actually listening to the story teller, the stories are their stories.

Goodwill & Ethics

Goodwill is a product of relationships. Relationships chosen both by us and for us. Without goodwill, ethical bankruptcy would drive culture into the ground. In practical terms, goodwill does not have to exist universally. Only a collective aspiration towards achieving goodwill is necessary for a culture to maintain itself. This allows jealousy and selfishness to exist as sign posts. In other words, without the experience of ill-will, we would not aspire to counter it.

Power is a function of relationships. Power is represented by matters of authority, struggle and concession. Debate is a form of struggle. Learning is a form of concession. Power cannot be destroyed.

Strategic goodwill is what moderates power. As we develop, as our relationships develop us, we learn to moderate our expectations of the outcomes of the power dynamics between us. Power is taken and power given. Being strategic, we can choose to place it aside if it suits us. Couples for example, come to terms regarding a power dynamic between them. Depending on the subject, power or authority in related matters falls to one or the other.