Virtue signaling

. 2 min read

Sometimes, when I hear some new phrase or term being used and find out what it means, I hope I hadn't. Take virtue signaling for example. According to Wikipedia, virtual signaling is "the conspicuous expression of moral values" - or, as I like to put it, saying or doing unbeneficial or unnecessary things to make others think you're better than them, or that you possess qualities that ought to make them like or respect you. In order for your behavior to be called virtue signaling, the virtue you're trying to express needs to be such that the general population considers it morally right. For example, the Wikipedia page mentions the ice bucket challenge: if you're merely video taping yourself pouring a bucket of ice water over your head and posting that video online to raise awareness about ALS, instead of actually doing something to help people with ALS, you're virtue signaling.

That's sounds stupid to say the least. You probably agree. And you probably think you'd never be one of those stupid people.

But how can you be sure you're not doing it, regularly, and unconsciously?

This is what freaks me out. Most people who virtue signal probably do it without realizing it - or, to be exact, without realizing how detrimental it is to the integrity of your psyche. People are so eager to show off their virtues. Do you know why?

Most likely it's not because they want to make others think they're virtous. It's because they need to reassure themselves that they are.

People, in general, want to think of themselves as good people. They want to see themselves as a representation of an ideal, whatever that ideal may be, and while they want to show it off to the world, they first and foremost want to make themselves believe they are moral, honorable, good people. It's in the nature of a human being to consider themselves unimportant, so signaling whatever virtues to the world and to themselves makes them feel like they're worthy to roam this Earth.

That at least they're not bad people. That they're actually quite good. Better than good. Virtuous.

And being virtuous will make amends for all the bad things you do and have done.