BAD IS GOOD :: Are you old enough to remember TV’s The Facts Of Life and that ear-worm of a theme song that went: “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life?”
According to the theme to the highly popular TV sitcom from the 70’s and 80’s, the ‘facts of life’ mean there is good and there is bad, and it’s as black and white as that.
I want to offer a different take:
There is good.
There is bad.
And bad is good.
Let’s start with the good. The good things are easy to spot. You know you are in the orbit of “good” because you feel good.
Bad things are easy to spot as well. Bad being the opposite of good means bad things in your orbit make you feel like crap.
But the funny thing about bad things is that it only takes a shift of perception before you truly appreciate a new understanding about how bad is good. And once you do, you gain a new foothold that can take you some place really, really… good.
Gooder, I daresay, then many of your regular good things ever were.
I know what you’re thinking. But hear me out.
So, you’re going through life, walking down the road. Oops: here comes something bad. Looking at this bad thing makes you feel sad and angry and depressed (or choose your negative emotion).
Because this ‘bad’ thing is NOT something you want in your life, you now automatically also know clearly what you DO want. And now that you know so clearly what you do want, you get to do something you may never have done before: appreciate the bugger, the crap situation, the negative circumstance that caused you to want better.
Not condone it. Not believe it is right when it’s not. Still wanting it gone or stopped. But also deeply appreciating that a new idea that was born from it.
Appreciating, because the whole path of our entire LGBT equality movement lit up because queers before us, many long gone, knew so clearly what they didn’t want that they therefore knew so clearly what they did and began the small steps to getting it. Those small steps are now ours to take, and, of course, along the way we, like those before us, are given “bad things” (Hello, Putin! Howdy Uganda!) which light up the paths that future queer generations will walk. >Tweet this!
Of course, in an ideal world we’d all be sitting in feathered nests with nothing ruffling them. But evolution requires the bad, and the good, which is why that old sitcom song was only half-right. Perhaps it should have been: “You take the good, you thank the bad, and there you have the facts of life.”
Something to think about if there’s ever another reunion special. (God, what does Blair look like by now?)
PS – This great lecture by philosopher Alan Watts takes this simple idea deeper: