Lohbado's painted books were born from his love of books and the pleasure of reading. This morning, Lohbado read the introduction to Spinoza’s Ethics. According to Spinoza, good is that which enables something to reach greater perfection. Bad is that which interferes. This discussion is useful in pointing out how moralistic talk is not grounded in reality. Everything that exists is part of nature and acts according to nature, not because a person wants things to be a certain way. A tree grows, not to provide shade or lumber. The uses and benefits of a tree are how humans interact with the tree according to their desires. A tree doesn't grow because a human wants it to grow, although a human might plant a seed and do his or her best to ensure ideal growing conditions. A tree grows of necessity when a seed experiences the right circumstances. The tree grows of necessity from causes and conditions in nature, not because of some purpose or end in mind. The tree grows because the nature of a tree is to grow.
Proper moisture, light and weather conditions which enable the tree to grow and flourish, in other words, anything which enables the tree to reach greater perfection is good. Anything that interferes with the growth of the tree is bad for the tree. Drought, excessive heat, parasites and fire are bad for a tree in that they interfere with the growth and well being of the tree. Good and bad are not independent entities. They exist in relation to things. Good is that which is helpful. Bad hinders. This runs counter to the moralistic idea of good and bad, which is based on a personal agenda, for example, when someone says homosexuality is bad or loud music is good. Those are moralistic judgements based on one’s desires or personal interests.