Isn’t it interesting how we have these “buzz words”; these trendy phrases it seems the whole world starts using all at one time? And then we assume that we all mean the same thing when we say the word and yet we never stop to clarify?

I was chatting with Chad the other day, telling him a story and I started talking about compassion and he asked me to define it, so he could get a clearer sense of what I meant. I realized that I had never thought to define it. As I was reading the posts from yesterday’s blog it seems as though I am not alone.
Many of you expressed that this is not something you spend time defining and yet it is something we start wars over, we punish babies for. We kill and feel justified over that which is “good” or “bad”.

I wonder what would happen if we ever took the time to sit and think about the fact that the people we are interacting with have no idea what we mean half the time. We base our interactions on assumptions and then react when we feel like someone isn’t “agreeing with” or “understanding” our point. We are so silly.

I am listening to a book on tape by a Buddist Nun named Pema Chodron and she talks about the practice of responsibility. Essentially, making a commitment to recognize that any anger is your anger and usually is based in a misunderstanding; making a commitment to remit yourself of this truth every day for one year, how different we would all be!

Anyway, just food for thought because I struggle to define “good” and “bad” on my own as well!


Add yours Comments – 81

  • taylor nikole

    on September 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    oh goodness gracious….
    sam witwer… is pretty cute 🙂
    idk, this episode is making me happy *inncocent whistle*

  • Lou

    on September 25, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    good and bad. and ugly.
    I don’t think good and bad exist anymore. 🙁 so hard to make the distinction. it’s all in perspective. everyone makes choices for their own reasons. who am I to say someone was wrong for defending a certain politician or for insulting someone or even striking another person out of anger? is their judgement not as relevant as mine?

    Look at how the media generates sympathy for people who our society would call “evil” (or some-such term) 10-20 years ago.

    is it a lack of morals? is it thinking too hard? is it reality catching up to us because we are becoming too culturally evolved for ourselves?

    there is no good or bad anymore. there is only ugly.

  • Kathy-Lynn Brown

    on September 25, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    You know… you are truly right. I find myself talking a mile a minute sometimes and the person next to me hurrying the conversation up. I have a tendency of mumbling because I’m afraid that I will say something and it will be taking out of character. I figure if I say it low enough then at least I’ve said it and the person next to me can not make fun of me for saying something thinking it means one thing and it actually means another.

    Now with that said that does happen to me a lot. I’m a lead pharmacy tech. And I work with a great pharmacist that I think of as a brother. But sometimes I can be explaining something to him and he takes it the wrong way. It really pisses me off. But I go along with what he says and I pretend that he is right.

  • Bouroux

    on September 25, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Allison.
    I have to sit and think every time I post on this site; I imagine most other non-native English speakers do the same also.
    I agree with you Friday. Sometime it’s not easy. I have two choices. The silence or trying to communicate. I read in english, translate in french, think in french and translate in english.

    The words we use have a meaning that depends on our state of mind. If my best friends come to divorce my appreciation of marriage is not the same as the time of their marriage. I may be negative during discussions that have nothing to do with marriage.
    If I do not say that I am disturbed by some things the person who reads me interpret what I say depending on his mood.
    The person who writes may not reflect the state of mind of each reader. If I talk about the beauty of sport to someone who broke both legs in skiing, I risk the upset.
    When you are involved in a situation, things get complicated in our comments. We use words and expressions not to say what we really think. In other cases our comments are direct and sharp.
    My definition of good and evil depends on my mood, my beliefs, my prejudices and my life experiences.
    In the film Hard candy, Ellen Page (Juno)
    plays a character good and evil in the same time. It’s amazing.

    Good night.


  • taylor nikole

    on September 25, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    i wish i could think in french :-/
    im still trying to get my ir verbs down

  • Mr.Message.Writer

    on September 25, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    You might wonder why people in technical fields work so hard, just to communicate with one another. This is the reason why, because there are so many barriers to understanding, education level, beliefs, etc… All have an effect on how data is perceived, and how that data is interpreted by the minds of others.

  • taylor nikole

    on September 25, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    heheh i really appreciate a good laugh:
    (if you’d like to see my interesting studying of chem habits that is)


  • Gabby

    on September 26, 2008 at 3:46 am

    I know what’s good and what’s bad.

    But that doesn’t mean it reflects to other people’s POV though.

    I believe good so triumph over evil, I think good people deserve good things.

    But when you see culture rewarding those who are bad and punishing those who are good it hard to take.

    Take Smallville for example. Your character was fired by the villain for helping the hero. She deserves great payoff instead we have her cousin and her best friend revealing they love eachother on the day of her wedding.

    Her cousin is bad, she did not so good things yet she get rewarded. It’s hard to admit that, so I rather give it up then continue seeing.

    Sorry for my little rant, just saw Plastique and as a long time fan I felt f-ed over. I wished I had warning that the past 7 seasons aren’t cannon anymore.

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 3:48 am

    “What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a happenin’ …” Early Andrew Lloyd Webber.

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Ref. Taylor Nikole YouTube video:

    Hmmm. Just because it is their nature for certain atoms and compound to react violently to each other every time they meet, does that mean that they are “bad” ??

  • jennygirl

    on September 26, 2008 at 8:06 am

    And what fun would it be…an election year with everyone claiming each other’s anger and clarifying and attempting to understand one another?

    Kidding aside, having 20 6 year olds everyday, 8 of which English is there 2nd language, I am quite used to the idea that people do not know what I am saying half the time. I am lucky if it’s only half the time. But usually they CAN tell when I’m attempting to be funny!

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I guess it IS a matter of perspective on whether a person is good or bad. (Get ready for it Taylor Nikole!) Jeffrey Dahmer was just hungry … and he saw the good in people in a way that few of us do … especially with a hint of oregano!

  • Kirk D. aka "Spartacus"

    on September 26, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Hey Alli-Mack,

    My Thoughts:
    Good communication and teaching skills seem to go hand and hand, but the willingness and the ablility of the other person/student to hear, listen, and perceive also play a major role in understanding what is being said. Its a 2 way street, this communication thing and it takes time, patience, and most of all love.

    On “good” and “bad”:
    I believe there are “good” choices and “bad” choices, both of which are venerable to spin, interpretation and perversion when the end result is produced. It seems to point to the intent of the heart of a person in making said choices. I don’t think we can really know the motives of the heart of a person and their complete history and inner workings, but we can try. And it seems to me that this is what is truly called into question.
    This is one of the great themes of the Christian Bible that I have been reading and studying about of late. It seems to bring alot of what we (The Allison Mack Blog Community) have been discussing into focus, at least for me.

    On anger:
    I don’t think all anger is bad. I believe it is possible to get angry and not sin against another.
    Anger at injustice, greed, self-centeredness, favoritism, etc., can lead us to good loving action. But the motive of the heart always seems to come into play for me.

    On Compassion:

    I think compassion is a deep loving emotion, coupled with action. Compassion without action is just sympathy. I can look at something or someone that is going through a rough time and say to them “I feel bad for you. I hope it gets better” and all I give them is lip service. Compassion seems to go beyond the intellectual and emotional and into the actual, where I am moved into action to help. This is where I get out of my comfort zone, count the cost and get involved.

    (From here I kinda go off subject but in the same vein. I hope.)
    This to me is where unconditional love is so key and yet so hard to live out. How can I say I love someone and don’t act? But of course sometimes our inactions are products of love as well. I can remember times of being in financial trouble and looking to my parents to bail me out. But they chose to let me weather the storm alone (but under their hidden watchful eye), and allow me to grow through adversity. I hated it at the time but as I look back I am so grateful for the tough lessons in life. This is compassion as well, I think. But it seems to point more to the motives of the heart. The heart is a fickle thing, who can understand it?

    Well, there is my 2 cents worth.

    One Love

  • Kirk D. aka "Spartacus"

    on September 26, 2008 at 10:10 am

    A side note:
    I have heard and read that anger is a secondary emotion, resulting from a primary one! Anyone know or heard the same thing?

  • Sherann Johnson

    on September 26, 2008 at 11:35 am

    speaking of confusing words and phrases. I read this quote by Tim Burton the other day:
    “One persons crazyness is another persons reality.”
    -Tim Burton

    Anyone else find this quote a little confusing? I have an idea of what it means, but it’d be cool to know what you guys think also.

  • shinefloyd / luigi

    on September 26, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Hey David!!
    you never cease to amaze me!!
    about to compare my pizza with Allison’s donuts… it’s not impossible…
    David you are very welcome here in Uruguay…. and of course your food is all free!!

    Maybe you don’t know… but I cook very yummy “Chivitos”…. you can find pics of “chivito” on google… try… They are made in “Uruguay”.

    To my friends Jennifer and Friday… you are very welcome too!!
    free food for you too!!
    food like… “chivito”… “asado”… “lasagna”… “capelletti caruso”… “spaghetti a la carbonara”… “milanesa napolitana”… pizza… and more!

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm


    I eat at Luigi’s Restaurant in Akron, Ohio USA all the time, but I don’t get my food for free. I should tell them that I know the owner of the original restaurant in Uruguay. Maybe they’ll give me a discount.

  • Robin

    on September 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Some really great views on this subject here by everyone.

    I think a lot of arguements i’ve had in the past is through mutural misunderstanding, Where sometmes things said and actions appear clearly good and bad, but yet with time and through gaining better knowledge, it becomes easier to put ourselves in the place of another and at least understand the why.

    Speaking of anger, i’ve noticied lately that I seem to get angry at such unimportant things in life, being stuck in traffic, empty cartons left in the fridge and of course computer crashes. All petty things hardly worth getting annoyed over yet I seem to get so worked up about them, something I need to work on…

  • shinefloyd / luigi

    on September 26, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    that’s a good idea!!
    I eat at Luigi’s restaurant… all days… and I get my food for free… hehehe..LOL

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    10:16pm at work. They turned off the lights on me at 10:00. It will be fun finding my way out of here! I have to go up a set of stairs to the 5th floor to turn in my badge at reception (vacant since 6:00pm) then down the stairs to the lobby. If you don’t hear from me again, I either fell down some stairs or the guard shot me.

  • arash

    on September 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    There should be an easier way to see the light David.

  • Scott

    on September 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Completely off topic.

    I have a disc of season 3 playing in the background, and I realized a few minutes ago that these have audio commentaries for some episodes. I found that very cool, it’s going right now, the episode where Chloe gets the power to make people tell the truth. Allison’s got audio commentary on the episode alongside John Glover and… I THINK the writer, maybe writer-director of the episode.

  • Lori Bennett

    on September 26, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    question? what were u talking about when u were using the word “compassion” that ur friend chad had u clarify what u meant by using that word. i can understand when people use slang. here in the midwest (iowa) slangs like gay (stupid), wack (outthere), dope (awesome), wicked (cool), sweet (totally awesome), but friends of mine in Texas use the word money (good). and it’s a cycle b/c when i was in high school we had different words meaning the same thing, i know these b/c my nieces and nephews are teenagers and they always say them so when they are talking and using these words i know the whole story even though their parents look at them as if they are talking code. we laugh cause their expressions are funny.
    allison u made a good comment when u said that when we are commenting to one another we know exactly what we are talking about, but the others reading our words may misinterupt our whole concept we are trying to express. so for now on when i read others’ words and am not sure what they mean i will ask for them to “clarify” b4 i assume they are going off the grid (crazy). i will also try to put meanings of my words in ( ) to help clarify what i am saying so that i won’t be misunderstood. have a great night everyone.

  • taylor nikole

    on September 26, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    arash 🙂
    flip the switch?

    and that is true Lori….
    Except in Cali… we steal words from everyone haha 🙂
    except nor cal says hella….
    weird 🙂
    could you use compassion to mean something else?
    is that what you mean?
    or do you just need to know the what context it was being used in the conversation?

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Unfortunately for you all, I made it out and home. You’ll have to put up with me a little longer. And today I discovered why there is a very arbitrary seeming deadline on my project. My supervisor gets a bonus if the project gets done in 2 weeks … so he has burned through an extra maybe $20,000.00 in the last 3 weeks trying to speed things up (actually slowed the process down) so that he can get his bonus. I’m a little too old to be working 55 hours on top of 10 hours of commuting a week. I used to work a heck of a lot more hours than that … but like I said, that stuff makes you old before your time … and working for someone else to get a bonus …. Not very motivational.

    Back on track in a moment. I’m going to see if there’s any food in the house.

    Then we’ll talk contracts.

  • taylor nikole

    on September 26, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    “Unfortunately for you all, I made it out and home. You’ll have to put up with me a little longer. ”

    *snaps fingers* oh darn :-p

  • taylor nikole

    on September 26, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    repine… repine 🙂

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Okay, contracts in a minute, but I really want to ask if most of you really don’t believe that there are bad acts. Not even getting into where someone is physically attacked or injured do to someone else’s action. Let’s say that you went out to get in your car … and it wasn’t there. Was that bad of someone to take it? Or is the attitude “Let the kid have some fun riding my car around” or “The man who took it to strip it probably doesn’t have a good education and needs to feed his family.” Let’s say that you created the best painting you had ever made and someone spray painted over it? Would you think “That person has as much right to express himself as I did.” ?? If you finally got enough money for a new paint job on your car and someone threw eggs on it …. You all must be raising “nice” to a new level if you would see nothing bad about being victimized!

    Other attitudes: Shoplifting … the stores can right it off. They decriminalized it now. If you get caught, you have to pay what the stuff was worth AND give it back. It’s just a game!

    Still more attitudes: So what if I stole their [fill in the blank] and broke their [fill in the blank] … they have insurance. They’ll get all new stuff thanks to me. I did them a favor.

    Okay contracts. I promised to talk contracts. Let’s say I promised then didn’t? It shouldn’t matter, should it? You’re not paying me to do this are you? Still, I said I would do something. In this case, I made a contract no one asked me to make and I won’t get paid for, yet I feel obligated to follow through. How bad would I be if I didn’t? Not bad at all? Only human?? This is an age where people don’t even feel the need to follow through on written, legally binding contracts. “Let them take me to court. It was more work than I thought and a better job came along.” I think of most of my interactions as contracts. And I don’t feel right if I don’t follow through — I think it is bad to not keep promises you make, legally binding or not. Once I made a sign for someone that was simply the letters “DWYSYWD.” Nicely symmetrical. It was the man’s motto … “Do What You SAY You Will Do!” In return for the sign, the man was going to give a catalog for my engineering reference library. I never got it. Another expression “I gave him every penny he was entitled to!” People often only think in terms of the money involved in a contract and nothing else. Often there is a deadline — a time constraint. Sometimes there is supposed to be a phone call when the job is done. Usually, I’m lucky if I get the cash. I can count on not getting the non-cash aspects of the contract. But, to be fair, I will say that the best non-cash transaction I ever had was actually very much overpaid in what I asked for. I laid out a mural for a pizza shop … in return for pizza! It was the best paying art job I ever had.

    Examples of contracts:

    I’ll do the dishes if you do the laundry.

    You can take the car but be home by 9:00pm … and bring it back with a full tank.

    Give me your phone number and I’ll call you.

    Show me your new dress … I promise I won’t laugh.


    Anyway, people who don’t keep contracts are not trustworthy. The attitude is that people who trust others to keep contracts are chumps that deserve to not get what they expect. But I don’t see a society advancing when verbal contracts are a joke and legal contracts are a written joke. So, I think breaking contracts is bad for all parties involved in the contract. … And a goal isn’t a contract unless you make a promise about it.

    I hope this made sense. I am so tired ….

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Repine … is that like … planting new trees?

  • David Hayes

    on September 26, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Well, I think I’ll go … recline.

  • taylor nikole

    on September 26, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    just complaining
    but i love vocabulary… so i thought id use another word :-p