Nice Guys, Capitalism, and Kierkegaard: On Getting a Cut
We start with the concept of validation. Social validation, for example, but also the passive validation of existence. Merely existing is a validation of something.
We can move onward with the belief that a law of existence is validation. If you’re not validated prior, you do not currently exist. This goes for anything and whatever.
Previously, I had used social validation and mere existence as two examples of validation. Mere existence validates our experience of experience, but these same experiences are may not be necessarily validated in social settings.
The formalism of society creates a different economy from mere existence while being based on mere existence.
The kind of formalism can change. There are many types of societies yet they’re all societies. The uniqueness of each society doesn’t take away from its universal validation within mere existence. When graded on mere existence, all societies are the same. When formalized, societies differ.
Looking at this give-and-take from the perspective of the giving part, we ask “what can the individual be expected to give?” as a way of maintaining a balance in society. This goes along with the saying, you only get out what you put in. A society stabilizes reason by having each citizen answer this question for themselves. The answer to this question then is used to judge every citizen.
The evolution of society has led to capitalism. Where each citizen is expected to give work for capital. Capital stabilizes the process of citizen validation.
What is each individual expected to give? Capital.
A particular example is working a job and getting a pay check out of it. Another example, a bit more abstract, is behaving in a social way as to garner a certain reputation/rapport. This last example uses our words/actions as objectively appraised products that signify and put us in debt to a responsibility of living up to our reputation/rapport.
In contrast, there’s examples of jokers that do not operate under social pretense who are thus labelled jokers. Jokers may be defined as actors whose actions willfully protest social validation or whose actions ironically expose social validation as inadequate.
Also in contrast, there are ideas like Nietzsche’s abyss and Kierkegaard’s faith that place humanity’s “true” individuality absent of social recognition, in focus instead of one’s own self evaluation. The existential self critique exchanges “authentic” action with a spiritual validation based on mere existence.
A third contrast is the nice guy. A person that thinks being nice frees them of the repercussions of mere existence. Whereas Nietzsche and Kierkegaard develop a mature, reasonable understanding of mere existence and its consequence, a nice guy feels that the validation they want is easily attainable through kindness and charity.
Here we have some overlap between the existentialist and the nice guy. The difference is clear from the start. The nice guy acts with an immature understanding of mere existence and expects validation based on empty optimism. In short, there’s a lack of self-awareness in the nice guy.
Since both the existentialist and the nice guy contrast from social validation, they do have some things in common. They both share an understanding that, for some reason, their actions are not always validated by society. The existentialists cope with this lack of validation by various poetic means. The nice guy copes in a similar fashion, but, lacking a notable self-awareness, writes poetry that lacks a universality.
The validation sought by the nice guy is self-pleasing and terminal. Whereas the existentialist are selfless and continuous.
Does this take away from the messianic vibe giving out by the existentialists?
How universal can the message of the existentialists be if capitalism devalues expressions and actions that do not translate to capital?