After having covered almost half of my life (I think it is irrational to consider 40 or 50 half of your life, when most people don’t live until 80 or 100), I’ve come to have an idea of what turns me on. Just, in general – mentally, physically, emotionally etc. And that is, be prepared for something extremely shocking, potentially scandalous – idealism. Yes, my idea of what turns me on are ideas. Or rather, a person or a thing that stimulates ideas, and not just for its sake. Oh, no. But, ideas that can mean something. Which is just a roundabout way of saying what I want, relationships cliché alert, is a meaningful connection. Talk dirty to me, tell me how we can save the world.
This is not ideal, believe me. I referred to some of this a while back in a post called Sapiosexual (a person who finds intelligence most attractive), but the whole premise of being turned on by an idea is based on inequality, and very strong power relations. Of which the one idea that defeats them all, even love and hate, is goodness. My goodness, it will take me a lifetime, if at all, to know all that goodness comprises of. Nothing ever was so illusory, so ephemeral, so un-pin-down-able. The history of all philosophy, i.e. human thought, is a history of trying to figure out what being good and doing good is. Looking for evidence in human action, trying to formulate universal bullet points of what can be done in order to be good, even if it entails doing questionable things to get there. Goodness is the ultimate tease, the fool’s gold or any other metaphor of kind deception you can think of.
Even if most of us generally believe ourselves to be good. I know you do, and so do I. I think it was either said of Byron, or something he said of himself (he was, what we call in pop culture, a “bad boy”) that when someone is continually called bad, they can only get worse, without any hope or interest for redemption and benign action. What I used to believe as ‘good’ was merely innocence, high idealism or a strong defence against corruption. But, after putting in much thought, I’ve realised a corrupted goodness is more truthful and valuable for our species than any other variety. We’re of an age where in all our art, culture, politics, science, what we continually look for is redeeming the bad. We’re obsessed with it, whether it be charismatic villains in stories, or fallen celebrities. We’re brutal in our opinions of them, but we crave to sympathise with them. Some of us even put them on pedestals, because the innocent, uncorrupted goodness just doesn’t seem relatable and doable anymore. If someone has gone to their metaphorical hell and come back, chances are we can too.
But, the illusion happens primarily on our own end, when we believe that by attaching ourselves to these ideas, whether it be a person or a thing, we can dissolve ourselves in their inherent goodness. Not only will it rub off on us, but that by identifying with these examples of goodness, we don’t need to be in the process of finding our own good anymore. And then, when we are passed that idea, either disillusioned by it or by outgrowing it, we blame the idea for lost time, time we could have focused on finding that inner good. But, here’s the catch-22 of it all – we can’t find that inner good without searching for that outer good, wherever we may find it. This is my problem with all Personal Development ideology. You can’t develop your person to, let’s admit it, that ideal good self, without facing all the good and bad you are to find coming your way. You cannot exclude that illusory goodness, because the only illusion it carries is that of excluding you the trouble of finding it within yourself.
Perhaps, it might help if we try to be honest about our own corruptions. To ourselves, if not to someone we trust. I feel we are doing that already, with our enthusiasm for the “grey” in human emotions. It is very difficult to do, especially when your inherent goodness maybe your only defence mechanism to face the world. But, surely, that is not enough. Not enough to make the most of your life, and find some meaning in it. It is very hard. I am finding it very hard to do myself. But, like the revelation I made which I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it is helping me in, well, understanding things. It’s worth a try anyway.
Do you find goodness attractive?