Parameters of a Philosophical Quest
Arshia Sattar
THE DIFFICULTY OF BEING GOOD: ON THE SUBTLE ART OF DHARMA by Gurcharan Das Allen Lane/Penguin Books, 2010, 434 pp., 699
January 2010, volume 34, No 1

The Difficulty of Being Good is as wonderful a title for a book as it is a philosophical statement that provides the parameter for a lifetime’s quest. The declaration, for it is such, boldly encapsulates theproblem that has compelled humankind for centuries. For me, it circumscribes the central problem of being, it is the very definition of the human condition. I imagine that animals have no moral centre from within which they act, that ethics and morality are the unique purview of human beings, that it is the capacity to choose to be good that makes us different from other sentient beings. At least on this planet, as we know it. Cultures and peoples define the idea of good differently, perhaps. But it would seem that we all have an idea of the good, the true, the beautiful. And we also have an idea of how to locate these values for ourselves and how to recognize the same aspiration in others. Sometimes, it’s our philosophers who teach us how to discriminate, how to discern, how to ponder.

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