Quality is a concept that has intrigued philosophers and critical thinkers since the era of when ancient Greece was the center of Western culture. I hesitate to venture into the realm of real critical thought but the nature of this alpha-blog requires that when challenged by the letter Q - I must respond.
Quality has a multitude of definitions, two of which are; an inherent distinguishing trait, and degree or grade of goodness are two definitions found in the dictionary. Brown hair and a round stomach are two physical traits that can describe me; easy going is a behavioral trait that could also define me. But these descriptions could change; my hair is falling out, a recent diet has shrunk my stomach and sometimes I am grouchy, just ask my family. Even I would have a difficult time finding descriptors that are unmistakably me. The distinguishing trait definition is easier to state than to define in a thing or being. Eastern philosophical thought, primarily Buddhism, operates under the assumption that all things change. That is the nature of the world. Change is constant. Without actual study it would appear that Eastern thought is not encumbered with the burden of defining Quality as a distinguishing trait.
How does my writing, my work, my driving, my marriage, or my parenting skills rate? Poor, fair, good, better, or the best are measures without a scale. My weight can be accurately determined, I step on a scale and bingo a number appears. Can I walk through a machine or detector and get a numerical grade on personal abilities? The answer is quite obviously no.
Individuals behave on the basis of self perception. Am I driving okay, is this blog well thought out, or is my personal life satisfying? Research of my driving record reveals no recent accidents, tickets or insurance claims but that doesn’t indicate how fast I drive, stop signs I miss or if my eyes drift away from the road more than is safe. I may start a blog or a piece of flash fiction and delete it after a quick review; those pieces never see the light of day. Once I was told that I was an excellent photographer, they loved my pictures. Then I mention to them my collection of hundreds of photographs that I would never show. Careful editing made me appear better than an initial impression. I believe I write okay, drive well and have a good marriage.
My wife might agree on the first and last points (I hope) and she would express some qualifications on my driving. After all she is a Quality Back Seat Driver (no tickets in 47 years), which is a feat I can’t approach. But she can't park as good as I can, unfortunately no quality points are awarded for parking skills.
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