It is crazy to think that an actual demon figured out what’s wrong with trying to be a good person nowadays. But, I guess weirder things have happened. Michael from “The Good Place” has it all figured out.
The world has turned into a crazy place. Okay, it’s always been crazy, but right now it seems like someone should hit the self-destruct button. There is one show that has managed to explain how to be a better person at a time where everything seems to be collapsing.
This article might have some spoilers so read at your own risk.
For those of you who haven’t seen this gift of a show, “The Good Place” focuses on the afterlife of four humans, a demon and a Janet. In season three they realize that people haven’t gotten into the Good Place (what some may call heaven) in over 500 years. As a result, they’ve come to the conclusion that it is harder to be a good person now.
When I heard that I realized two things: first, that Ted Danson is the perfect man to save humanity. And second, that we are all complicit to a ton of messed up stuff without even realizing it.
An easy example of this is the amount of clothes we buy that are made by people who are forced into labor. Just a quick Google search is enough to realize that our favorite dress was made on sweatshops, and a bunch of our everyday products come from modernized slavery such as prison labor. That’s not even getting into the food market where immigrants are underpaid to harvest our produce.
Michael, Ted Danson’s character, arrives at the conclusion that even when we are trying to do something nice for someone, like buying some flowers for your mom, it can have dire consequences and continue to empower people who well, suck.
This is a very simplified way of thinking. But it does show how complicated it is to live an ethical life in a world that is so intertwined with oppression and injustice.
So in order to be better we should be responsible about how our actions affect others. Like instead of spending money in a store that uses child labor, maybe buy your top at a local store.
“The Good Place” shows that morality comes from believing that people can change for the better. It’s not easy, but trying to improve and learn from our mistakes is all we can do.
Throught the show Michael is determined to prove that humans can keep improving and no one is just good or just bad. We are all a ball of complicated emotions and actions that might have unintended consequences. The humans, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Jason (Manny Jacinto), and Tahani (Jameela Jamil) become better people after their deaths.
This idea shifts the way people from the “Bad Place” think about humans, but it also shows that we are constantly improving and learning. We are growing at a time when all our mistakes can be found somehow. That means that we have more of a responsibility to learn and improve as we grow. Also, learning to apologize.
After all, if Eleanor can come back from hating on the environment and supporting an abuser’s coffee place, we can all do better. At the end of the day, pobody’s nerfect!0
Also published on Medium.