On Virtue and Signals

Sept 19th, 2022

Cell Phone tower on Victoria Street. by Greg McCann

We all have our good and bad qualities

Private and public selves

People want to be seen as desirable

Often this means being seen as good

This leads to moral signals

Moral signals generate a moral system

A moral system contains moral currency, or movement between signals in the form of favor or disfavor

Too much emphasis on currency has a corroding effect on any system

This can lead to traumas and the ensuing moral panics that follow, amplifying and therefore polarizing signals to the level of distortion

It has been said that evil often comes disguised as good, and this is true. Recent history can bear testimony to this in many ways

An error occurs in assuming that this is always the case (an error of emotional polarization)

This results in a deeply cynical and dualistic view of things like charity

The assumption being that any charitable act is being done as means of compensation for an immoral act

Under these circumstances, the awareness of this assumption takes on a volume and frequency in people’s minds, to the point where even one’s own motivations for doing a private charitable act, succumb to self doubt

Its important to remember another motivation to do good: because someone was good to you

This is a different form of moral currency, relying far less on signals and more on the heart of the individual

To be an individual is to be not divided in two

I can’t tell you whether anyone’s ever been good to you

The need for compensation is essential to human conciousness, due to the mind seeking equilibrium

The mind's need for equilibrium is something that mass media exploits

This is one of the meanings of covering one eye, to induce anticipation and the need to complete a circuit

It’s a signal which implies that something is owed, and since the subject is looking at the viewer, on some level the viewer is intended to become the object of a debt, within their own mind

This is also the basis of the economic system, that in order for value to be increased something must be owed and someone must pay

It is the projection & reversal of obligation based in dualism, requiring endless repetition going nowhere, with nothing being paid forward, only backwards

In this way currency is based on what people want, or lack

To see things in terms of lack is a negative sum perception that leads to desire

To desire something means to give up a type of agency in exchange for it, or to “not sire”

Evil does not always disguise itself as good, but it does always present itself as desirable

If enough people desire good, evil will disguise itself as good

If enough people desire evil, then evil will reveal itself

This is the true lesson of the last few years

The financial/moral system has relied too heavily on signal based currency and gotten away from heart based value

A common form of this currency is clout

Clout is completely artificial, based on whatever gets you status, and in a moral system it is a sign of deep corruption

What does it mean to desire good?

To “not sire”, or give up a type of agency (clout), due to perceiving a lack of morality in one’s environment

Paying it forward doesn’t require anything back, it just adds value

Doing this, however, can put a strain on the heart

The heart does need currencies to refuel, and paying good deeds forward defers this need for developing a different frequency that generates different currencies

Volume and frequency in the aggregate effects the viability of this type of moral system

Its a high risk/reward strategy in relation to the heart, in exchange for a more sustainable system in the long run

Putting the heart at risk is the ultimate vulnerability at a time when evil disguises itself as good

This is because the heart is open to deception when it is vulnerable

Or at least, the heart that you know

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About The Author

Greg McCann: Artist, Writer, sort of musician