“Our own observation tells us that every state is an association of persons formed with a view to some good purpose. I say ‘good’, because in their actions all men do in fact aim at what they think good.”
– Aristotle, The Politics
But since men are individuals with singular thoughts and attitudes towards the infinite variety of situations arising out of the common life, various grades of conflict are assured. What is thought good for A is not necessarily considered good for B, and perhaps is completely undesirable for C and D.
A, B, C and D all desire what’s ‘good’ for them; in the ensuing contest of wills, whether the forum be democratic debate, marketplace dispute or territorial conflict, all sides propagandize in favour of themselves and against all others. Methods, with varying degrees of ingenuity, are employed to further aims. Favourable results are fervently desired.
As the energy available for such tournaments waxes and wanes, winners and losers emerge; the propaganda of the winners becomes the new definition of the ‘good’. The wise will be wary of what the party, religion or nation casts as ‘evil’, for it is most often that which they once defeated, or which they seek to defeat once more. The wise are beyond all fear of decay and redemption; they understand that there is nothing left to defeat, that there is only more energy to embrace and encompass, there is only more light to illuminate love.