It is often claimed that doing good things for others will result in good things happening for the giver in return, but can the following statement be true?:

Do bad things to others and good things will happen to you in return.

  • 1
    No "logical proof" applicable here. Commented May 4, 2023 at 11:00
  • no such society - in which this is the norm - spoken or unspoken - could be called truly rational for its individuals imvho, as it would cease to function as anything but a collection of completely atomised non-moral agents. we may not need morality to be rational in some ways; we do need each other!
    – user65758
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 11:59

3 Answers 3


The purpose of war is to "get good things back in life, by doing bad things to others". There is always a war somewhere so it's more than just "possible". It happens often.


Neither statement is a universal truth or falsehood so you can't follow a universal truth from it's negation.

The thing is you can find edge cases where doing good to others means bad things come back to you. Like idk if you think you're doing good to comfort someone and they perceive it as annoyance and as something bad. Then despite you doing, what you consider to be, and maybe even what others consider to be, good, yet you receive something bad.

Conversely if you do bad, idk being a soldier killing other people is in most frameworks not a good thing, but you get praise, medals, recognition, wealth and whatnot for doing it.

So if you'd formulate that as a universal rule, you could come up with exceptions to it. It might nonetheless be a good rule of thumb as it might work in a lot of cases. Though it's not "true" or "false" but just "often true" or "often false".

And the other problem is that as shown in the examples it kind of depends on unstated assumptions on what is "good" and "bad" which may differ from person to person.

  • couldn't you cut this down to a comment?
    – user65758
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 12:11
  • 4
    @trivia To be honest when I answered the question, the question was slightly different. In the sense of if "do good, receive good" is false is "do bad receive good" true and can we proof it. The size of the answer is twice the size of a comment, but yeah one could probably shrink it, but comments are for comments, so why not an answer when it attempts to answer the question?
    – haxor789
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 12:22

Doing good is not guaranteed to bring you good. Nor is doing harm guaranteed to bring you harm. It happens that the good suffer sometimes, and the evil prosper sometimes.

But, overall, it's not the way to bet. Especially over the long term. Especially when you want to have friends.

The words of Mr. William Broad are frequently in my mind.

There is nothing fair in this world.
There is nothing safe in this world.
And there's nothing sure in this world.
And there's nothing pure in this world.
And yet there's something left in this world.
Start again.
It's a nice day.

People who do good things are, usually, noted by their neighbors. People who do bad things are, likewise, usually noted by their neighbors. And they usually experience some consequences.

There is a notion called the Rule of Three in the Wicca religion. Stated very briefly, what you do comes back to you three times. I tend to operate as though this were true. It isn't strictly true. It's not a rule of logic. But if you try to be nice to people, people will mostly try to be nice to you. And the net result is much better.

But then, I'm Canadian. We tend to apologize a lot.

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