Ohio. Tonight the sun sets at 5:20pm, and I’m still thinking about my soul. Goodness. What does it mean to be a good person? Sometimes it feels like striving towards a faint light on the horizon that turns to vapor when we draw near. Maybe we punish ourselves for failing to grasp it, never realizing that striving is what makes us good, even though it’s a familiar platitude: the journey, not the destination. Progress, not perfection. The maddening thing about clichés is they are usually true.

In 1932, John Dewey described goodness as a dynamic, not a state: “Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining, is the aim in living. The bad man is the man who, no matter how good he has been, is beginning to deteriorate, to grow less good. The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better. Such a conception makes one severe in judging himself and humane in judging others.”

But is severity necessary? I think of my old mentor down in New Orleans, how he’d often say, “When I’m hard on myself, I’m hard on other people.”

Spacemen 3 – Feel So Good

The Perfect Prescription | Glass Records, 1987 | Bandcamp
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For years I’ve nursed elaborate fantasies of living in a remote cabin or better yet a double-wide in the Mojave desert. But would isolation make me more sensible?