If good deeds were immediately rewarded and bad deeds promptly punished would life be better?
I ofter hear judgements about whether a matter or good or bad rendered on the basis of outcomes. Such judgments assume a "yes" to the question above. But might a good deed have a negative outcome and visa versa?
No...because man's nature would still get in the way.
No. If good deeds are done just for the "rewards" they bring, they would indeed not be "good" deeds at all.
Not all good deeds have a positive outcome. Things happen to us for a reason whether they are good or bad.
Bad deeds may be good for someone who needs to learn a lesson in humility, for example.
Good deeds may be bad if the person you are doing the good deed for develops a dependence on the good deeds of others instead of solving their own problems.
Knowing when to do "good deeds" without expectations of self recognition, or subsequent "rewards", is difficult as we can never know the outcome until it occurs.
Another example is when 'wealthy' people do good deeds and expect praise, they are only trying to assuage their guilt for having more than they can ever use in their life times while watching others suffer and struggle with poverty and strife because they took advantage of them to gain the wealth they now have.
It would certainly be simpler. But there's a Jewish folk tale about a Rabbi whose son found and tamed a wild horse; all the villages exclaimed over the luck of his house, but he only answered "Who truly knows whether this chance is good or bad? Let us wait and see how happy this event makes us." Sure enough, the very next day his son fell off the horse, breaking a leg. But likewise, the Rabbi answered condolences "Let us wait and see how unhappy this event truly makes us." And it wasn't long before the Emperor's army came through, conscripting every young man in the village. Of course, the son was spared this because he couldn't walk...
Life as it is has a way of surprising us. I don't think that means that we should fail to consider probable consequences, but sometimes we may have to choose to do the right thing just because we know (somehow!?) that it is the right thing, regardless of how it 'turns out.' The world in your 'thought experiment' would be very different--perhaps so different as to completely change human nature. I find it very hard to speculate whether that change would be for the better or the worse.
No, because what appears to be good may be bad in the long run. And what appears to be bad may be good in the long run. Many people have been punished for things they never did. DNA technology has proved that. As long as there are lies, there is the possibility of errors.
The problem is something of a paradox. Sometimes what appears to be a good deed turns out to be a bad deed and the bad deed really proves beneficial at a later time.
The the question is raised, when is the outcome fully known.
For example,you see a person about to step in front of a car, and you pull him back and save his life. That is a good deed--right. Turns out the man in a child molester and serial killer. Some people would say you did a bad deed by saving his life.
I would say you did a good deed. First it is not my decision to decides who lives and dies and secondly, you cannot predict the ultimate consequences of the good deeds or the bad deeds. Sometimes, bad deeds will lead us to something good--in time.
The simple answer is that there are no immediate rewards or punishments for many acts performed by individuals.
Procrastination is not a good thing, as we normally think of it. But I am manic and compulsive. Procrastination is good for me and those who suffer me. Racism is another strange one for me. Generally thought of as bad. I pay a lot of attention to race and am often thanked for my sensitivity and empathy towards other races.
I do in fact get immediately rewarded for my good deeds. And it does not matter the outcome. I feel better. And I do in fact feel immediately bad when I do a bad deed.
Mine is very prompt.
Exterior consequences are just kind of a "the way it is" deal for me. I often think about not going and being cheery with someone who wants or "needs" to be upset. Giving your love to someone who hates you, usually irritates the dickens out of them.
I think my life is better because of what I immediately and promptly feel.
Probably not, because everyone demands a chance, and time to reflect as well. A speeded-up version of life would just take the joy out of reflection.
No, not necessarily. Actions often result in a ripple effect, so it is not always clearly known what the outcome will be until all plays out. It is also not always clear what really happened until all the facts are gathered. Bad behavior can bring about positive things if one doesn't rush to judgement and takes time to look at the bigger picture. If a person has a strong moral conscience, he may feel enough anguish to change the direction of his life. Forgiveness is another factor. Both take patience and soul-searching. On the other hand, deliberately evil, pre-meditated acts should receive swift punishment. If good deeds are always rewarded, it might change the motivation behind them. Human nature is far more complex than that of a rat in a Skinner Box. It's better to see good deeds that flow from a pure heart and kindness rather than through manipulation and rewards.
To answer your supplementary question, it depends on who you are focusing on. While the person who commits the deed might have a positive outcome, it could have a negative outcome for someone else (think a woman who leaves her abusive husband - to her, it is positive; but to him, it might be negative due to his loss of control).
For your primary question, I don't think life would be better. As a mother, one of the things I try to teach my children is that you should do good deeds just because they are good and not for the rewards that might be gained. For example, they should obey the rules and be nice to others not because they get a toy or allowance, but because it is simply the right thing to do.
Assuming that every deed will have a reward or punishment seems slightly naive. In fact, most deeds do not have immediate outcomes - and some may not even have long-term outcomes that are evident to the doer. While human nature demands some kind of concrete outcome, there are many situations in life whose outcomes are not evident until reflected upon years later.
Additionally, there is room for error in "promptly" rewarding or punishing. Think about criminal trials - often, it takes a lot of time to find the evidence necessary to determine exactly what happened and why. This is the case in many re-trials today of decades-old cases that now can test for DNA. Many convicts are released because they were innocent - though the evidence at the time (immediately after the event) showed guilt, further evidence brought to light after innovations / reflection / further study proves innocence. These convicts have spent years in prison, not only losing their independence but also damaging their relationships, earning potential, and potential to contribute meaningfully to society. (As well as letting the real felon get away!)
Thus, I don't think life would be "better." It might have more concrete, and quicker, outcomes, but there is always two sides to every story. Plus, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. There are too many variables in our lives to say that having immediate rewards/punishments is beneficial; in fact, it might often be more harmful.
Today as I was leaving my house, a neighbor walking her dog talked my ear off about dogs and baking for 20 minutes! I have no dogs and hate baking but was just trying to be "nice" by just saying hello & waving. She couldn't leave it at that.
ha ha that is funny, reminds me of the blinded evangelist and the lovely caring atheist.
Your good deed of the day! She is probably lonely and you help make her fell better.
...."would life be better?".......I'm sure it would be for the good guys who perform good deeds..........but I'd steer clear of being the bad guy!
It is not a matter of IF deeds are rewarded or punished but our perception of the rewards and punishment, because make no mistake they're dealt with sometimes immediately and sometimes slowly. All of our thoughts, prayers and actions have consequences but because we do not perceive these consequences we do not recognize them in our version of reality.
What we perceive as reality is an illusion created by what we perceive as normal, once we gain some insight into this illusion we begin to see that everything we do has an immediate bearing on our lives and the lives of those around us.
A simply experiment to prove to yourself that what I'm writing is true is to go through one entire day without creating any negative actions, thoughts or verbal communications (this includes body language) and see how that alters your reality, most people will find this to be a challenge but the rewards are immediate and profound.
You must forgive any perceived transgression immediately, with a genuine smile, while offering a kind word. You must pour love from your heart all day long, not get frustrated, irritated or moody and just watch how others will pickup on your reality. It will affect everyone you come in contact with, just give, give, give and I guarantee you will be stunned by the end of the day at the outcome.
Unconditional Love is the most powerful force in the Universe and vise versa Fear can keep people controlled and manipulated. If everyone on this planet practiced this just for one day, warfare would cease, hunger would end and trust would begin to grow and lying would become a thing of the past.
To answer your question, when humanity recognizes that good deeds are immediately rewarded then life will get better one day at a time and since that is all we are given, why not start tomorrow.
As the cliche goes, "life is what we make it." Often times, we prefer to do good in order for us to be physically rewarded be it at work, at play, with family or in community. We usually see the positive comes out of good deeds. But we see sometimes the negative or the unexpected comes out of good things that we may do for others. The more we may act negatively, the more we may be in trouble, right? So, responding in the proper way may be best?
What is the proper way? For me, it is seeing this life in accordance to how I see it in my spirit that makes me stronger inside out because it is the acceptance of God's will in us that I have seen true happiness and peace in this life, being able to do my best for the love of God and of others, being able to share in His truth that makes me whole and fulfilled.
What this temporary life brings in material form can make me happy but there is no substitute to making God in me happier as I humble myself to Him and see the truth and power in His words.
A defeatist attitude some may say but if you realize what true love of God and of others really mean, your outlook goes beyond this life, for it becomes your spirit connected to God that tells you, this life is but a trial of our faith and a trial of our love of Him who created us all. Every time, we see blessings in this life made possible by God's goodness to man.
Worrying and fear of failure is what weakens man in his spirit, that is why he takes hold of material things that may eventually enslave him.
But anyone who sees happiness in the fullness of His spirit, trusting God in his faithfulness and obedience to His commands, accepting His will while he prospers His truth in this life seeing and guiding others what it means to grow stronger in spirit as against selfishness, pride, deception, malice and greed where evil may be embedded to reign in every man's heart, he may see more truth than others who may rely only on human intelligence and human wisdom, abandoning whatever realities, truth and power his spirit may bring to this life and the next.
From bad comes good. I know this is hard to stomach but when you look at past atrocities and then revisit the area many years later you often see vast improvements that could not have been made if not for those horrible events.
I'm in no way condoning violence, war or even pestilence but it does seem that out of the depths of evil flowers grow.
Interesting question. Perhaps life would be easier to manage;but it would also be more surprising. It is the intentions that are judged and we would be surprised when some apparent good deeds bring punishment instead of reward.
Immediate reward and punishment for good and bad deeds is possible only if you are a small child and see the world in a simple black and white way. For adults, it just isn't possible.
For one thing, how can you define good and bad? There are a few things such as taking another person's life that we can all agree on, but even there, things get murky. "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". Human history if littered with people who did horrible things thinking they were saving the world. The Inquisition leaps to mind, but there are so many more. The English saw Napoleon as the " butcher of Europe". On the other hand, to the French he was, and still is, a national hero. So who is the good guy and who is the bad?
Life is not black and white and drawing the line between good and bad is not a simple thing. The question is childish and unrealistic and there is no possible answer. Better to leave the judgement of good and bad to the God of your understanding and try not to judge yourself or others...... just enjoy the life you have and give thanks for every day.
Interesting -- I would say calling a question someone asked: "The question is childish and unrealistic and there is no possible answer". Is a bad thing, black and white. Only stupid answers is what I was taught.
Well said! Life is almost never black and white, and who decides what is good and what is bad?
It is a beautiful question asked with a childlike innocence.
Perhaps instant gratification or punishment is not HIS way of working. There is time for everything and so is the pre-decided time for the unfolding of the result of karmas which manifest in the form a chain of events in the life of a person.
I can't say it will be better but our lives will be thrilling and surprising. In my opinion, when those factors happened, it will open another set of doors and possibilities. And those possibilities may lead to another good deed or a new bad deed.
No, not necessarily. Ego is tricky. It would figure out a way to bypass this or ignore it. We already have karma, which is action-reaction based on ego. The delay is on purpose. The delay helps us achieve humility, which helps to thwart the real source of all evil -- ego.
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