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The third season of The Good Place made me think a lot of things. Like, too many for a four minute video, but also, I think I managed to shove a lot in here.

One thing I didn't get it as that there's actually a bad side to the way folks like me like to engage with the world. There's the curiosity about why the world is the way that it is, that's good. There's a desire to make the world better, that's good. But there is also a real interest in, like, just finding reasons why things are bad. It's a cognitive bias towards "the world sucks" and I kinda hate it. It's generally strongest in backlash to the popularity of something, and I kinda hate it.

I think people can sometimes conflate a desire to care for the world with a desire to tear down LITERALLY EVERYTHING. And when people actually do get off on tearing things down just for the fun of it, it delegitimizes the real problems. Folks who like to see things in a fairly simple way see that behavior and they think, "Oh, that's just liberals, they hate everything."

We need to do more than hate, we need to see the world through more than just the lens of judgement and objectivism. I want to talk more about this soon!!!

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Good Morning John. This video has spoilers through the end of season three of The Good Place. 

The Good Place is a good show about four not very good people who have
died and ended up in a very bizarre afterlife. Through its first two seasons the show explored really deep questions, many of the same ones we've been dealing with as humans for thousands of years.

But then in season three, as The Good Place is good at doing, it swerves on you. And suddenly the show isn't about how to be a good person, it's about how to be a good person in 2019.

"Earth is a mess, y'all!"

Spoilers in earnest, now!

The bad place is going to get all of them, eventually. Even your precious PP King, Doug Forcett. 

In season three we find out that everyone goes to the bad place. Even the guy who knows the rules and has been doing everything he can, his whole life. 

The proposal here is that the modern world is so messed up, you can't live in it without being a bad person. 

"The last time someone had enough points to get into the good place was... 521 years ago." 

This is kind of a rough thing for me to hear personally, because like, I kind of believe it? 

"The bad place isn't tampering with points. They don't have to because everyday the world gets a little more complicated and being a good person... gets a little harder."

For more than ten years one of the central themes of this channel on YouTube has been to engage with the complexity of the world. But, if you do that, what you find isn't that everything's bad, it's just that nothing is all the way good. The book that you love that was written by a misogynist. The terrible things done in the name of your religion. The historical atrocities that like all of society is based on and that you may still benefit from. Every beautiful genius expression of human creativity and hard work has a dark side.

"Like, there's this chicken sandwich, that if you eat it, it means you hate gay people."

Now unlike Jason's friend Big Noodle - and I love the Big Noodle allegory - I'm the kind of guy who actually has time to figure out if oat milk is better for the world than almond milk. It is. But what does "better than" really mean. What's the scale here? How bad am I if I choose to drink almond milk because I like the taste better? And how much worse is that than like, being mean to a friend, or like, putting Sprite in my water cup at McDonald's. 

The Good Place's answer is the accounting department - beings who judge every action you take and determine how many points you get or lose.

"Anastasia in the stuffed vegetable department. We've got Hector over in American coins. And my dear buddy Matt, in weird sex things."

And if you don't hit a threshold, you go to the Bad Place.

"The math is cold, objective, and air tight."

Maybe it is in their universe, but it is not in ours. One thing the internet has been really good at for certain people is highlighting all of the many ways unintended harm can be done. For others, oddly enough, it's been really good at insulating them from that. It's almost as if the internet amplifies your world view. But for people who are open to the complexity, the reality of reality is just way too complicated for the accounting departments of our brains to handle.

It's almost as if Utilitarianism relies on a hyper-individualist world view that isn't reflective of reality. Individuals make decisions, I will never say that's not the case. But there are many decisions that are much harder than others and have much greater costs associated with them. The theme of season three quietly but geniusly highlights that our current system of consumerism fueled pop-Utilitarianism mostly isn't a tool we're using to make the world a better place. It is instead a way to rapidly and inaccurately judge the goodness and badness of ourselves and each other.

So here are four really important things that I learned from this very good content.

One. Not everyone has the capacity to weigh every choice they make and that does not make them bad people.

Two. It is harder to be the kind of person who seeks complex truths rather than retreats into simple lies, but it is also better.

Three. Morality should only be one part of that curiosity because if it is only about morality then you only view the world through the lens of judgement.

And number four. Our accounting department will always be flawed, and so we should not judge ourselves or others as if they are not.

John, we are down to just two days of Pizzamas. I will see you tomorrow.