As I have been writing lately about how to be better and owning my own problematic behaviour, one question has loomed in my mind.
I received this tweet the other day which was lovely.
This has made me think about the things I say and do and where it comes from, I would love to claim that I'm a great guy and that is just who I am. In truth though a lot of my behaviour is dictated by the fact that I want to be seen to be a good guy. I often see someone behaving in a way I find unacceptable on the internets and feel the need to say my piece, often I do so away from the main thread because I am weary of being a self perceived white knight. I then struggle with telling people about the fact that I have done so, part of me wants to do it for the 'atta boy' points, part of me doesn't because i don't want people to think I'm looking for 'atta boy' points. Having made an argument about how to behave on the internet I don't want to undermine that that point by behaving in a self-serving way.
It goes around and around, and there are points for and points against, there has been no uniform answer to this, sometimes I make it known about my actions sometimes I don't.
I have been watching the Good Place lately a very good sitcom about a person who ends up in heaven by accident. One of the core ideas it explores is how doing a good thing with the idea of having something in the bank so that you can get into heaven is not in itself a morally good act.
I have been wrestling with this idea, how can i be truly selfless in these acts? I'd be lying if I said that part of my behaviour online and being outspoken on progressive issues is undoubtedly about feeling good about myself. I would be lying if I said that it wasn't also in part about being the person I want to project myself as being to other people, and then I might as well call it as it is there is a hope that it makes me attractive to other people too.
I don't want that to be it though, I want to be good and i don't want other people to feel they have to second guess my behaviour or the motivations for it. The conclusion that I have come to is that be aware of the more selfish aspects of my behaviour and hold it in check or at least hold myself publicly accountable for it.
So I'll say this, if you are going to accuse me of being an internet white knight the truth is you are probably right, but there is much more to it, and I am working at being much more than that.