ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Judge Good or Bad, by Word or by the Act?

Updated on November 6, 2020

This is a question for all time, so all I can do is offer my perspective on an answer, and leave an absolute answer to an absolute power. My shortest possible answer is "it depends".

A better short answer is this:

  • First, the interpretation of good or bad is dependent upon the values we each live by, and thus changes from person to person;
  • Second, acts are an immediate and definite statement of one’s perspective or values, while words, especially the written word, tend to provoke thought, discussion, and sometimes understanding.

The long answer follows:


We each evolve our own set of values, in part based on our religious upbringing, our family, our racial heritage, our Country, our governance, and our education. This is rarely a conscious thing where we can explicitly say ‘I value this one thing above the other’, which would be a talent that would allow us to explain our perceived goodness of an action to another who does not quite see it the same way.

The influence each has on us drives our perception of good or bad.

  • For Religion - will the value be strict law, forgiveness, enlightenment, listen to God, listen to Church, love Nature, or something different?
  • For Family - will the value be blood is thicker than water, or will it be black sheep/white sheep? Or again, something different?
  • For Racial Heritage - will the value be White Power? Black Power? Latino Power? Arab Power? Asian Power? Or All Men Are Created Equal?
  • For Country - will it be loyalty to the world, country, region, or community? Which will we each value most?
  • For Governance - do we prefer to live free, controlled, subjugated, or enslaved?
  • For Education - do we prefer to not know about the rest of the world, or do we seek to learn and understand?

All of these drive our own inner values and our individual perceptions of good and evil. We all make choices amongst these values. We rank their importance to each of us differently. We interpret them in different ways. This is what leads to differences in the perception of good and evil.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words?


Because of our underlying values, an act perceived as good by one person may be perceived as bad by another. Usually the roles are fairly straight forward, the person performing an act rarely perceives themselves as bad, while an unimpaired person observing the act will make an internal almost subconscious judgment based on all the factors listed above. (Note that I’m purposefully leaving out the influence of brainwash or cool-aid for this discussion, which prompted the article).

Acts tend to have an immediate effect in some way, an effect that may be overcome in some part by perception of a later act of justice, retribution, compensation, or forgiveness. Acts (or collected acts) also can have a lasting effect in cultural memory, for example, Moses at Mt.Sinai, Christ on the Cross, the Holocaust, or in my case, the violence of the sixties. The acts that are important to us individually; will again, be dependent upon how we adopt the values described above.


Words tend to be less immediate in their effect. However, they are an invitation to discussion, debate and understanding. Many people prefer resolving differences in this manner, since it sometimes allows an opportunity to learn the underlying differences in values between two cultures, countries, or people. Words can also be recorded in stone, on vellum, on paper, or nowadays within the internet. Words can be discovered and shared, pondered and discussed. Words record in some manner our values and will sometimes be painful, or sometimes be joyful. They will sometimes seem abhorrent, sometimes be taken to heart.


One Citizens Perspective

In the United States of America, we value freedom of speech, particularly the exchange of free thought and opinions, while seeking to control actions through law. We also value freedom of religion. We would not have been originally formed from thirteen colonies if those colonies had not come to consensus on expressing these freedoms (or tolerances) in the First Amendment to Our Constitution. We also seem to be unique in the world; the authority granted to our government officials to govern comes explicitly from the people, and not from some other source. To us, for government to seek to take away these freedoms, in any way shape or from, is a nearly unforgivable offense to the people who granted them the authority to govern. Those officials in elected positions who do so will almost surely be voted out.

Note About This Article

The title question arose in response to an article on HubPages, December 2010. The response is almost off-the-cuff and just one persons view. My apologies if I did not answer the question.

Thanks go to Hubber "H P Roychoudhury" for asking the question.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)