Monday, May 16, 2011

Law 5: Good Fatih

Making Monday

The folks at Wikipedia characterize good faith this way:
"In philosophy, the concept of Good faithLatin bona fides “in good faith”, bona fide “genuine” — denotes sincere, honest intention or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action; the analogous concepts are bad faith (duplicity) and perfidy (pretense). In law, bona fides denotes the mental and moral states of honesty and conviction regarding either the truth or the falsity of a proposition, or of a body of opinion; likewise regarding either the rectitude or the depravity of a line of conduct."
Which is a long way of saying that when you work in good faith you work without guile.

Good faith, both in terms of honest intentions and a demonstrated willingness to follow through, are an important part of the faith of the makers.


Users always have an angle, a short-cut, or an ulterior motive. Makers can afford no such luxury.

When users approach a writing project, they're more interested in what they'll do once it's finished. That's why the blank page is so terrifying: it's the barrier between them and their schemes. Makers, who come to write ready to immerse themselves in the process of distilling thoughts and feelings into words, see the blank page simply as the playing field.

There is, however, something more subtle--yet ultimately more significant--about good faith. Undertaking a project with honest intentions means that you bring no mental baggage that might mar the work and distract you from the process.

We generally think of intentions, not actions, when we use the term, "good faith." But in a legal context, the only way to demonstrate good faith is with evidence of actions consistent with the claimed intentions.

Due diligence, which again in a legal or fiduciary context means taking actions that show more than a token attempt to discharge one's duties, is an important part of acting in good faith. Makers don't expect the first draft to be the final without the due diligence of revisions.

But the hardest part of good faith is follow through. While there are projects that should be abandoned, the good faith of the makers means that when they start something they're willing to see it through--even when it's frustrating, inconvenient, or tedious.

Image: Bill Longshaw /