An expression my mother used when she first met my son. He was all of 2 hours old. There was something about him. It was unmistakable. My mother was not the only one to notice. Upon leaving the hospital, now 3 days old, we were stopped by a stranger who said “for this gentile soul,” and he offered us a bill for “goyri” – good luck. At day care, later in school, at the park, other moms, it was always the same. “He’s such a good kid.” Not, he is well behaved. Not, he is caring. Not, he is courteous, amicable. No. He is a good kid. He exudes goodness. It has always been thus. Later in life, I might even comment: son, you’re such a wonderful young man. To which often he’d disparagingly respond, “I know, mummy.” It was not a declarative, gregarious or boastful, ‘I know.’ It was an exasperated, “I know.” As in, F*ck, I know! As if he’d wish he could shed this goodness. He wanted to be more! He wanted to be complex, maybe. He wanted to be his own person uninhibited, free to simply express his will, and be as others are: sheer will.
Even Kant would think less of my son for not laying claims to his will as an expression of reason, unthwarted by circumstance or nature, or disposition!!! For Kant the true expression of goodness is that which is the outreached determination of reason – the seat of deliberative free agency! It is in fighting against the impulses that drive natures, dispositions, historicity and contingencies of spirit, that a character worthy of applaud, or inspiration, of gratitude, or pride is to be reckoned with.
Am I to favour instead those twisted, wretched beings who wear their existential grievances taunted by the (so-called) ephemeral, sensational, and psychical instead? Shall I embrace those who in battling their demons as exhibitionists flaunt their genitalia??!!! Internal struggle need not be so crude. A Narcissios awakening. Both emancipatory and subservient but always desperate.
“F*ck, I know,” he says in exasperation! An assault on the personification of self as other!