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“I’m good” - in consideration of common parlance phraseology

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A common parlance phrase that has taken our culture by storm is “I’m good.”

How and why such terminology catches on is anyone’s guess. The fact is that there are various oddities with regards to this particular phrase which make it quite peculiar.

Note that usage: it is used in the form of a question and an answer, “You good?” and “I’m good.”

Note the contexts in which it is used: as an example, a restaurant server may come to the table to see if you have everything you need and like your meal and will ask, “You good?” The reply to which will be, “I’m good” (supposing, by the way, that “You good” passes for a grammatically correct sentence now a days).

Note that the phrase is being used to mean, as per the example, concepts such as do you require anything further?, is the meal pleasant?, do you need your drink refilled (assuming that a half gallon cup is not enough)?, etc., etc., etc. and the reply is meant to mean no thank you, I am satisfied, I need nothing further, the meal is quite palatable, etc., etc., etc.

Now, note what the phrase actually is stating: it is a moral pronouncement “I’m good.” If you were to have asked someone just a couple of years ago, “You good?” they would have understood you as having asked after their moral standing, as to whether or not they are a “good person”

So, just what is terminology germane to morality doing where it is utterly un-contextual; within a phrase pertaining to sentiments irrelevant to morality?

At a time when the worse behavioral problems in school were chewing gum and running in the halls, we moved the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, out of public schools and removed, from a large section of the population, the only daily reminder of morality.

We moved in materialism, such as the philosophy of Darwinian evolution, and acquainted a large section of the population with daily reminders of the assertion that life, the universe and everything came about by a happy series of accidents which resulted in the accidental bio-organism sitting in the classroom.

When a greater context for morality is removed we end up with situational morality, subjective morality, tentative morality, relative morality, etc. as opposed to absolute morals, universal morals, objective morals, etc. (or, more accurately; morality vs. ethics—for details on this point, see the video Is morality relative?, which is also attached to this article).

The utterly un-contextual use of the term “I’m good” seems to be serving as a psychological band-aid which people like to hear and say as a subconscious reassuring of their moral standing. By such unscrupulous repetition one can spend their day reassuring themselves of being a good person.

This, of course, is a façade of a charade as it is the substance of the definition of “good” which determines who is and is not a good person. The advantage of situational/subjective/tentative/relative morality is that everyone gets to invent their own definition of “good” which leads everyone to being able to proclaim themselves as being “good” which, of course, leads to “good” losing all meaning.

Lastly, a note to Christians: I have heard many Christians go right along with this cultural (or, pop-occultural) trend and repeatedly say “I’m good” and ask others “You good?”

Whenever I hear a Christian use this terminology, I always say, “There’s only one who is good and that is God” which, by the way, was stated by Jesus in Matthew 19:17. The reply is generally a laugh as they have not thought about what they are saying. I sometimes follow up with an elucidation such as that found within this article.

We are fallen people who can do good but are not inherently good. Stop proclaiming yourself to be good (despite of all of the evidence against that assertion) and start repenting and doing good.

For more on the specific topic of how to define terms such as good, including some utterly shocking examples, see the article “A Good Person”


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