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SufiClown's avatar

"He who is too busy doing good finds no time to be good" - Rabindranath Tagore. Comments?

Asked by SufiClown (360 points ) July 30th, 2010

How does one differentiate between “doing good” and “being good”? Does the former necessarily lead to the latter or is it the other way round?

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15 Answers

Trillian's avatar

Sounds like bullshit gobbledygook to me. Or sour grapes.

TexasDude's avatar

Oh how I love Sufism and its mantras with multiple levels of interpretation…

An evil person can still do good deeds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good by nature.

That’s my interpretation of it.

syz's avatar

That’s pretty damn busy.

truecomedian's avatar

One point that I could make is what I call Resultism. It’s like, concerning oneself with the actual result of one’s actions. Like you could help an old lady across the street, but if you get her hit by a bus, what was your intent worth. A+B=C. To be able to see and know the “C” as much as possible is very important.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Perhaps it has something to do with differentiating between the outer and inner person. The outer person is the doer, and the inner is the one who simply exists. I believe the speaker might be suggesting it is more important to exist as a good person than to spend a lot of time doing what one considers to be good deeds.

mrentropy's avatar

I can take this down to a personal level and there it makes sense to me.

I’ll expand on request.

Zyx's avatar

To answer @SufiClown‘s question: It refers to the fact that good and evil can’t be predicted as the current justice system tries to do. “Doing good” might be stopping murderers where “Being good” might be finding a place where all murderers can live like unicorns. You can go too far in either direction.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I take this to mean that one who is truly out there doing good for people doesn’t waste time on ‘being good’ or seen as so in front of others – meaning they need no recognition for it and they don’t care if others think they’re good.

HoneyBee's avatar

I think that the act of doing good would define a person, possibly not the whole person but a part of them as a good person because they essentially are part of the same whole and not two seperate entities.
It’s like asking the question which came first, the chicken or the egg? There is no one definitive answer because they are two of the same thing.

evandad's avatar

Too cosmic for me

whitenoise's avatar

I see it as that acting as a good person, in line with your own character, you’d do good things and not be obsessed with it. Your intention is to be a good person and act like your true self.

When obsessed (busy) with doing good, you’re defeating the purpose. Being good allows you to focus on others. It is like chasing the butterfly.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think it depends on whether one’s good works are the result, are motivated by one’s intrinsic goodness or are the result of, driven by one’s desire to appear good. Some people do good because they are good. Some people do good because they want to appear or be thought of as good.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

To me personally then this is what happens when you don’t slow down to smell the flowers. It’s not a zen saying but it means the same thing, it’s not all that deep.

SVTSuzie's avatar

I disagree w/ Tagore dude.

SufiClown's avatar

@SVTSuzie , Please elaborate.

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