Good People are Good to People

I woke up this morning with the words, “Good People are Good to People” in my mind.  It rang true to me, so I thought I would see what the rest of the world thought.

As you might guess, my first stop was Google, which ironically has an informal company motto of “don’t be evil” – it seemed like I was already on the right track!

I learned that Jack Johnson had written a song called “Good People“, in which the chorus is:

Where’d all the good people go?

I’ve been changing channels

I don’t see them on the TV shows

Where’d all the good people go?

We got heaps and heaps of what we sow

My initial thesis, that good people are good to people, wasn’t yet substantiated, however, I was now aware that according to Jack Johnson, we had a global shortage of “good people”.  In the midst of this “good-people crisis”, I was glad to be on the case and optimistic that I would get to the bottom of things.

Good People Brewing Company provided me with just what I was looking for – no, not a frosty pint – but rather their mission statement on their Facebook page, which implies good people are those who do good for others in their communities and beyond.  You can read it for yourself and see if you agree with my analysis.

To create quality beer as a celebration of the eclectic fabric that makes up who we are and our great Southern culture while supporting those good people who do great things in their communities and beyond.

In September of 2009, Esquire magazine actually published a list of the 75 Best People in the World, citing the “talent, achievements, [and] virtue” of these “do-gooder” men and women as the criteria for selection.

In a very interesting TED Talk, Dr. Philip Zimbardo (of the Stanford Prison Experiment) Shows How People Become Monsters… or Heros.  Zimbardo asserts that, “Evil is the exercise of power to intentionally harm, hurt, destroy, or commit crimes against humanity.”  In contrast, Dr. Z says, “Heroes are ordinary people whose social actions are extraordinary.  Who act.  The key to heroism is two things.  A: You’ve got to act when other people are passive.  B: You have to act socio-centrically, not egocentrically.”

Aha!  This is exactly what I was looking for:  For someone much smarter than I am, with decades of research behind them, to back me up.  I agree, Dr. Z – good people aren’t those who act egocentrically; good people are those who act in ways that are good to people.  These are the heros.

In terms of the debate regarding whether we are facing a shortage of heros, I’ll leave it with you to decide whether Jack Johnson’s question is relevant… “where’d all the good people go“?

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