Because I’m pretty sure I don’t have it.
And that’s not to say that I’m a pessimist who thinks no good is possible and everything is doomed — that would be defining the potential of humanity according to a status-oriented model of morality, which is a framework I don’t use. So, no, I’m not that cynical, but I do have a lot of confusion and skepticism around this term and how it’s employed.
Whenever moral evaluations take place, the two models I’ve frequently seen employed in discussion are these:
- a status-oriented, “being”-centered morality of personal characteristics and fixed natures (that which takes for granted the existence of “bad people”, as a division from the rest of the population, which commentators then use to sort people on the basis of whether or not they go in that category)
- and, less frequently, an adaption of the former that emphasizes “shades of gray” and that “everyone has some good and bad in them” (which always devolves into a rather frustrating and defeatist brand of moral relativism that, in attempting to acknowledge complexity, prevents acknowledgement of anything by undermining any productive discourse, deeming the whole discussion a pointless exercise and thinking itself enlightened for it).
Neither of these models jive with my understanding of reality and human nature, and out of frustration with their ubiquity, I want to share with y’all an alternate model that I find far more useful in practice.
This post was brought to you in part by the encouraging comments on this post and in part by sheer bitterness. Enjoy.