For one moment, let us entertain the words "good" and "bad"- and discuss two models, drawn from the perspective of the Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, the outer ring of the Neoplatonists, Eckhart, and several other thinkers, what makes "good" man and a "bad" man. What do you think of these models?
The Good Man
The good man is good because he loves The Good; this "Good" he loves is a single name given to the Common Universal Nature and Good from which he is not excluded.
This "Good" is also called the 'Truth'; it is the common source of all things in the world, and the common mother of all lesser truths. It is hidden Law behind reality, the Mother of Gods and Men, and the Gods adore it; as the philosopher tells us, they take counsel for the Common Good of All.
This "Good" is called by men "Universal Nature" and "Providence", and it is that from which all things flow; it is Necessity; it was once called 'Fate', and from it, all events come to pass along the threads of unavoidable consequence.
When the good man approaches this great Truth, he approaches it first in his study of the world, in relationships with others, and in moral consideration, all of which ask him to see beyond the needs of self and the sense of self, and by this, he is enabled to live for others as much as for himself.
When he is ready to approach the Truth in a greater way, he does so through the gate which is called the "Bare Knowing of Reality as It Is", and he experiences Reality in just that manner, apart from the desires of people to see it in other ways, or to make it accord to some agenda.
This experience of the "Good" is therefore the keystone of Wisdom, and this experience is the initiation of all initiations.
But the good man does not stop there; stripped bare, seeing all things as they are, he re-clothes himself and enters the world again, no longer acting primarily from a sense of ego or self, but acting AS the Good, for he knows the Good in all things.
He allows the Good to be the Good through him, for the Good is the supreme reality, of which all other realities are needful appearances.
The good man then Knows with the Knowledge of the Good, and Loves with the Love of the Good.
The Love he felt before he was bare before the Deathless Reality of the Good, and the Love he feels now, are not different, though one is more universal in its scope than the other. But in his first Love and in his realized Love, the good man recognizes the common face of the Good.
As the good man has seen the Good, and as he allows the Good to be the Good through himself, he is compassionate to all beings. He harms none needlessly. He is forebearing, and he endures sorrow and joy alike for the Good. His strength is Truthfulness; he knows the Truth and the Truth shows itself in his every action and thought.
He is free from envy, for there is nothing he lacks in his knowledge of the Good. He seeks first and foremost the welfare of all.
The Bad Man
The bad man is bad because he loves not the Good; he loves his own egocentric notions and pleasures before he loves what is Good.
The bad man never approaches the idea of a supreme Good; through willful ignorance, or an ignorance which is no fault of his own, he never sets out to understand the Good of which he is a part. He studies the world, but only for the sake of his own understanding, or for some benefit, never for the Good.
He engages in relationships with others, both those relationships he is born to, such as family and society, and those which he chooses, like friends and lovers, but in all relationships, he never puts aside his own desires for the Good of those he relates to; he uses them instead for his own ends and pleasures. He cannot see beyond self or his sense of self. He tends to believe that there is nothing beyond these things, and if he thinks there is something beyond, he thinks that it is senseless to the good of people, or unconcerned for the actions of people.
He never hears the call to approach the Truth in a greater way, and if he does, he cites it as inconvenient, irrational, or nonsensical. He will not allow that others may have seen a "Good" or a "Truth" that he could not think up himself.
He will never strip bare before Reality; he will dress himself in every garment and cloth he can, to cover up the hollowness he feels within, the nagging sense that his life was meant for nobler ends, or, lacking the ability feel even that, he will dress himself up out of pride and vanity.
Always acting from a blind sense of ego or self, never in touch with the greater reality from which even his sense of ego or self arose, he acts poorly; he does not see the visions of his eyes or the sounds of his ears as mere appearances; he sees them as the only realities, and he identifies with them. From this is born greed, anxiety, and selfishness.
This man is bad because knows without the knowledge of the Good; his love is empty of the true promise of love because he loves without the love of the Good. His love, instead of being a thing of peace and rest, is a thing of anxiety and domination.
As the bad man has not seen the Good, and as he allows nothing of the Good to consciously express through himself; he is prone to hate and violence towards beings, in deeds and in thoughts. He is harmful to himself and others. He cannot endure sorrow and trials, suffering them with a feeling that he is always being victimized.
His lack of endurance leads to depression and violence, and a need to blame others for every misfortune. He is deceitful, the Truth is spoken rarely or not at all by him, for he would rather manipulate Truth for his own falsely-percieved benefits than to honor the Truth for what it is.
He is envious, and he covets the belongings of others. He seeks first and foremost the welfare of himself.