Immorality and the Covert Contract

Previously: I Used To Be A Good Man.


When I was a brainless arts students I had a job at a florist.

I felt deeply guilty about it.  Why?  Take a journey, dear reader, into the troubled mind of a disturbed young man.

Flowers were wasteful, you see.  They were grown on land that could have been used to produce food for the world’s starving millions.  Transporting the flowers increased the overall carbon footprint.  So did the lights in the shop.  The heating and the air conditioning.  All totally unnecessary to anyone’s survival, in a world where a billion people lacked access to clean water.

Then there was the plastic wrapping.  It would take millennia to break down.  The catalogues!  Glossy toxic colour ink printed on freshly clearfelled rainforest.

The profits of the business would go to the large company that owned the chain.  I was helping the rich get richer and increasing the total amount of inequality in the world.

The people who bought flowers there ought not to have done so.  They should have given the money to the poor instead.  Each bouquet I sold, I thought: that money could have saved a life in Mozambique.  You just killed someone.  And I helped you to do it.  You disgust me.  And I disgust myself.  Look at you, carrying that bunch of flowers home like it’s no big deal.  Why not carry a dead African baby home instead.  Put that in your vase.  What, not pretty enough for you?  You are a murderer and a racist.

I was atheist but nevertheless felt that I ought to obey Jesus.  It is a philosophy that seems stranger in retrospect than it did at the time.  Jesus said, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  End Jesus quote.  I thought, trying to make money is a faithless act.  If I always act in a Christian manner so as to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, I will be fine.  If I am not, it doesn’t matter.  Socrates said that no harm can come to a virtuous man.

I rationalized my immoral actions by imagining, I am undercover.  I am a morally virtuous man who is taking his paltry wages from the corporate world and using it to achieve good.  I gave a percentage to charity, for which I did not claim a tax deduction.  I invested some in an ethical term deposit which donated the returns to good causes, thus making me innocent of usury.  I also invested in my education which I would one day use to change the world

Then the earth spun around the sun a few times and I read articles like this one.  I realized the source of my insanity: I had made a covert contract with the world.  I said to the world, I’ll be really, really nice to you and you be nice to me.  Give me friendship, sex, fame and self-esteem.  I kept my side of the bargain.  What the fuck happened to you?  The world reneged.  Hence my daily, guttural gasps of indignation: it’s not fair!  Boo hoo!

The world had never signed up to this treaty.  We didn’t even shake on it.  It was all in my head.  People will be nice to you if they like you or want something from you.  If someone doesn’t like you, it doesn’t matter.  If you offend someone they can get the fuck over it.

The covert contract is a sign of poor self regard.  It comes from a view that people will only like you for being nice.  And if you are really nice they will really like you.  Someone in this sad position does not consider that people might also like him for his other quirks and characteristics.  He thinks that there is nothing else lovable about him at all.  His entire self worth is dependent upon his good works.

I was just a selfish cunt who wanted to get stuff for himself and did so with an irrational strategy.  Today I’m a selfish cunt who uses more rational strategies.

And you know that dead African kid?  He would have just grown up to be an even bigger cunt than I am.  Fuck him.

Next on SovietMen: Abnormal Life

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