Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Good is Always Useful

From Seton Magazine:
Arguing that “the good is always useful,” Newman explains that anything that is “beautiful, perfect, admirable, and noble in itself…must be useful to the possessor and all around him” but not always in terms of tangible results or sudden noticeable benefits such as a job or higher salary
To Newman “useful” means real gains and improvements that transcend quantification and calculation. Unlike a train, car, or computer, the value of goodness “is not useful in any low, mechanical, mercantile sense, but as diffusing good, or as a blessing, or a gift, or power, or a treasure.”
Thus goodness always serves a practical purpose, reaps benefits, enriches human lives, and improves the world. It produces effects and aftereffects that Newman compares to the spreading, diffusing, and communicating of light, joy, and love.
The good is useful because of its discharge. Like a child’s play that produces joy, a person’s contemplation of beauty that evokes wonder, the pleasure of friendship that offers companionship, or the delight of singing that lifts the heart, goodness—like liberal education—brings immediate and far-reaching blessings:
Good is not only good, but reproductive of good; this is one of its attributes; nothing is excellent, beautiful, perfect, desirable for its own sake, but it overflows, and spreads the likeness of itself all around it. Good is prolific…. A great good will impart great good…. I say then, if a liberal education be good, it must necessarily be useful too.
(Read more.)

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