This article was submitted to Ergo by Iqra Khilji, a second-year (Batch 2015-2020) at the Gujarat National Law University and marks the first in a series titled The Good, The Smart and The Ugly.
A year and a half at university and I still can’t quite grasp what it requires for you to be accepted and admired by all. Until I realized that the former is an improbability and the latter, an impossibility. However, to define boundaries for smartness and goodness is taking it to a-hole level. I dislike plenty of people. I mean, ‘plenty’. But why should that make me the Nietszche to their Kant and make me refuse to appreciate even the thought process the poor old guy put in to come up with what he did come up with, as little sense as it made? Why is trying hard so taboo? (The hypocrisy here is that I’m ridiculing Kant, but let’s not focus on the nitty-gritties of this purely illustrative analogy, shall we? Besides, I do appreciate that he tried. That’s constructive criticism, so you can stop smirking. Thank you.)
“It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321.”
-Anthony Burgess, The Clockwork Orange
Someone didn’t report that they were erroneously marked high on a subject. Someone slept with the guy their friend was crushing on but had no chance with. Someone goes around revelling in how exquisite they look. Someone just can’t stop vying for attention. X asked someone to vacate the seat beside him because they weren’t “cool’ enough to be in his vicinity. Y’s moot partners refused to pick her up from campus at three hundred hours. “Oh my God, such bitches”, I can hear someone yell from my sub-conscious’s recollections of unintended eavedroppings.
I don’t know if the overlords sent the Commandments deciding upon the absolute nature of good and bad (credibility depends on whether or not such Commandments were accompanied by homo-hating of the highest order; the said hatred killing the credibility of the document as “Divine”). The good is not deterministic. It is chosen by subjects exercising free will. And these subjects may aslo have different ideas of ‘good’.
I might believe in the definition of good that takes me to my professional zenith the fastest and contributing to the greater happiness of the greater number by those means. You might believe in happiness for all, that I might find flawed, and I might stick to the ‘maximum possible’ happiness than hindering self-advancement of the individual for universal happiness. We all want ‘good’ to win, psychopaths being exceptions. What validates your narrative and discredits mine?
Expectations shape, if not define, performance. A truism I can’t not reassert. Your average rightist Southern man/woman was repeatedly made an element of ridicule and a symbol of bigoted ignorance. The whole situation glares at you and prods you and says, “Now who’s laughing?” Did the “Irresponsible Intellectuals” beget this day for the US and the world by constant dehumanization from their glorious thrones? For all we know, it is quite possible. Trumpians are not the minority. They ARE the dominant side. And have been for some time, and we were wrong to assume that the majority’s views were aligned to the narrative of whom the Republicans so dotingly call, the “Hollywood liberals”. That right there is a gaping failure of dialogue, given the social barriers. Were we always so irredeemably opinionated and ready for war? Will we remain so and is this the end of us? I do not know. And I do not wish to get carried away with abstract rhetoric of no consequence. We failed to realize that they could have other motives and motivations that “Trump”-ed all our concerns (sorry). Happened in Germany, happened again.
I have said it before and I will say it again: there is nothing wrong with being assertive and slightly dogmatic in order to bring about the events that suit you. It is self-oriented and perfectly human in that selfishness. But to be opinionated to an extent where you undermine the potential of the other side’s narrative so much, that you refuse to indulge them with your attention or refuse to deconstruct their arguments; that only makes way for delusions that you’re winning while completely unaware that no one agrees with you and your notion of the greater good; or perhaps no one wants ‘the greater good’. Can we ask the superegos to adjust the attitude, please? I’m not even sure if they belong at law school in the first place (joking, keep the moral compass sound, please).
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