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Immaculate Correction: Self improvement in a post-moral world

One Atlanta man’s guide to bettering himself from a Lady Mary with a sharp tongue and circumstantial privilege.

By Scott King

DO YOU LIKE ME? Do you love me? Do you … want to be near me?

It doesn’t matter. If you cannot answer yes to all three of these questions about yourself, Lady Mary, you in danger gurl.

Oops! I signed the wrong name.

Yes, Ru Paul, you do have to love yourself. But if you don’t like yourself, we’ve also got problems.

Don’t panic. It’s not an either or. It’s not an all or nothing. It’s a piece by piece.

Sometimes I am a Lady Mary. I am not always gracious with my sharp tongue and my circumstantial privilege. And I don’t like it.

Rather than curling up into a sedentary ball of self-loathing (bad for the hips), I analyze. Why am I acting that way? What are the alternatives? How do other people act? How do other people react to my behavior? What is the behavior and demeanor of the people whom I admit and crave to be near?

MAKE A LIST OF YOUR 10 FAVORITE people. Not your best friends or your most memorable concubines, but the 10 grooviest people in your life whose company you relish. I’m guessing only three of them are actual flaming cunts. And two of those three do it for a living.

Like a good snowflake, I’m sure we’re all unique, but my top ten exhibit the following characteristics: dynamic, intelligent, verbose, tactful, witty, empathetic, possessing a diverse sense of humor, emotionally intelligent, and not cruel. Notice I didn’t say nice. Nice gets on my nerves. But I do enjoy people who aren’t flaming cunts.

So, therefore, I aim to be less of a see you next Tuesday, most of the time. But how could I ever accomplish this? I have to substitute the cunt with something else, flaming or not.

Sometimes I just shut the fuck up. Sometimes I listen. Sometimes I make a point that isn’t bitchy or pointed but is helpful and informative. Sometimes I laugh at another person’s joke, successful or not, and don’t try to top it with my own humorous insight. More often than not, I stand there, breathing, making deep eye contact, and listen.

And voila! I am now 11.17% less of a flaming cunt.

DID YOU NOTICE HOW I DID this without any references to scripture or spirituality or Oprah or Gayle? Damnit OK I guess I’m back to 9.47% less of a flaming cunt due to the snarky Gayle reference.

Regardless, this is what I call self-improvement in the post-moral era. If you want to get all post-graduate on a bitch, I would say it’s a combination of Kant’s Categorical Imperative and Audrey Hepburn’s emphaticalism. Both are philosophies that involve the study of morals, but are not moral systems in themselves.

In the post-moral and postmodern eras, we can combine things. I look at what I want people around me to be, and then I look at how they might accomplish that, and I apply it to my own existential reality. Then I manifest praxis.

I went to college.

YOU DON’T REALIZE IT at the time, but college isn’t just the thing that comes after high school. It’s the beginning of adult life. I made friends for life in college. They’re slightly different from the friends I made in high school, because our lives were suddenly our own and we were navigating that together.

My friend saw a spark in me and I in them, and that’s probably why we have survived all existential realities and turmoil.

But some not. Because either I or they were flaming cunts who just didn’t get it in the moment. I or they did things that moral systems would call immoral. But that wasn’t the problem. It was the lack of self-awareness, post morality. That’s where we got into trouble.

If you do something to harm someone, apologize, and then correct the behavior that caused the problem or was the problem. Pretty sure that advice is congruent with most moralities, except Machiavellianism. And Nietzsche. Nietzsche stands alone, y’all.

I am not a Machiavellian. Nor am I total top like Nietzsche (Woof!) I’m versatile. I’m an existentialist and a Romantic and a mystic and an atheist and an emphaticalist. And a little bit of a flaming cunt.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Scott King lives and loves in Atlanta.

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