There’s an old story I recall hearing one time about a hospital in Japan where a young patient was brought with a bizarre, unidentifiable illness. None of the lofty doctors there knew what it was or how to heal the patient. So they brought in the janitor. The janitor!? Why the fuck would they do that? They did it because he was the smartest human being alive in that country. But why was he a janitor, then, you ask? Sadly, he was an “untouchable,” a member of the lowest level of the caste system. He was so low that regular people avoided eye contact with him, considering him something less than human. Nevertheless, they brought this guy in and he looked at the patient and gave an order, and all the other doctors hastened to obey. They followed his orders, and the young patient lived.
Why did they listen to the janitor? Because they had to. He was right. Regardless of who he was, what he did, where he came from, or how low he was in the eyes of all the “normal” people, he was right… and they had to listen to him. “Untouchable” or not, they had to listen to him.
I bring this up because I was observing in the shower this morning that the highest personal goal a human ought to have during their lifetime shouldn’t be to attain goodness. Being a good person is a noble thing, but I think it should be the second highest personal goal a human should have. And I would urge everyone to always err on the side of good rather than evil, to pursue kindness and nobility and honor and integrity and all things admirable… but… the first thing a human should strive to be… is right. When you’re right, the patient lives. Good and bad are neither here nor there in this instance. To be right is to know, to be right is to have all the information, to be right is to be in command of your mind’s processes, to be right is to always be able to answer truthfully, regardless of whether what you did was good or bad.
I strive to be good, yes. But I strive even more to be right.