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Saturday, October 18, 2008

The one thing life can’t teach you, is to be a decent human being

Your culture, in most places you could live in, keeps telling you that if you believe in the goodness of people, you are simply an idiot...
Your culture, in most places you could live in, keeps telling you that if you believe in the goodness of people, you are simply an idiot.

Let’s face it, in today’s world it’s NOT normal to be nice.
That’s because most people are assholes.

I’ll assume it wasn’t always this way, and that there was a time when only a portion of the people were assholes.
How we got to a day when most people are assholes ? Here’s my theory.

Meet Alex. Alex is a nice girl. She offers people to help whenever she feels she can, without really expecting much in return, except for respect and gratitude.
Her relationships with people, and by ‘relationship’ I don’t only mean romantic ones, can be simplified into two categories.
- First, the kind where the person she interacts with is appreciative of her.
- Then there’s the other kind where the person is merely taking advantage of how nice she is. These relationships are likely to end up in a mess, where that person ends up doing something borderline hurtful to Alex. This is where we can round up the biggest asshole count.

Effectively what will happen is that over time, Alex will repeatedly get hurt in relationships of the second kind, while also feeling rewarded by her relationships of the first kind. The following will most probably occur:

Alex will become more careful when interacting with people, not knowing whether or not they are assholes, and will try as best as she can to figure out in which category they fall before becoming more seriously engaged with them. So eventually Alex will turn into a more reserved person.

Now meet George. George is a first grade asshole. While pretending to be nice to people, he actually has a hidden agenda in every relationship that he engages in, and ends up hurting most of the people he pretends to be nice to.

Naturally, George could be interacting with people of both aforementioned categories. But unlike Alex, George knows how to deal with a relationship with an asshole, being one himself, and is at an advantage when dealing with people who aren’t assholes, since he ends up being the one inflicting the pain.

George’s presence ends up having the following impact on people:

Anyone faced with someone seemingly nice, will be hesitant to engage in a relationship before making sure that the person in question doesn’t have a hidden agenda. And so people will slowly become wary of nice gestures, fearing they will end up being hurt.
Some people might actually develop hurtful instincts as a defense mechanism, becoming more aggressive in their relationships, and slowly becoming assholes themselves.

Now take an average person.
Average people could be careful about what they do, and pay extra attention not to have a negative impact on the people around them, although they might end up occasionally and regretfully doing so.
Average people could also value their own needs ahead of others, and not pay much attention to the impact this has on the people around them. They might not be hurting everyone they interact with, they might even bring joy to other on occasions, but in case of conflict of interest, they will always choose their own, regardless of the impact it has.

The interaction of these two kinds of people will inevitably lead to an increase in asshole-count, and increase in reservation level when faced with a nice gesture.

As a conclusion, try this out:

Do many excessively nice things to someone, and I can guarantee you, you will freak them out.
Now think of what a pickle you would be in if you were one of those people who do nice things instinctively.
There aren’t many of those people left, I know.
For that, you can thank the hard working assholes and assholettes of the world.

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