It’s So Easy To Imagine That We’re Superior

If we can’t learn to work together on the things about which we are able to reach some agreement, we are fucked. That does seem more and more to be the case.

Despite that, I believe in compassion and doing what can be done to alleviate suffering, right here, right now. That’s why negative, non-constructive bullshit annoys me so much. It’s exactly the frame of mind that is going to destroy the human race. Don’t try, whine. It’s hopeless, don’t bother. That’s useless, don’t spend the money on it. They don’t deserve it, I do. I got mine, to hell with you. Roll over and play dead.

Oh, but look at those idiots! Look how fucked up they are! Boy, I’m glad I’m not like that. Let’s make fun of them (and maybe we’ll feel OK for a few minutes).

Apart from its inherent unattractiveness, the problem with that way of thinking is that it carries over to the issues we’re discussing. It breeds intolerance, and inability to see the good in people with whom we disagree. The habit of feeling superior can’t be turned on and off. It has to be unlearned. It can’t be unlearned without avoiding the kind of thinking that naturally leads to more of it.

That’s why I don’t look at sites like Walmart People, or tell or pass on ethnic jokes. Not because I worry that anyone will think I intend to be small-minded and mean, but because it is small-minded and mean, whether we want to think so or not. I spent roughly half a century thinking that way, then I realized that I didn’t like that person, so I’m trying to change. I try not to judge or make fun of individuals, I have too many issues of my own. As a society, however, we need a serious mental and emotional makeover.

It’s disheartening, and profoundly disappointing. But it’s no reason to stop trying.

2 thoughts on “It’s So Easy To Imagine That We’re Superior

  1. Ted

    OK. That’s a start on the first part, and very well stated. Update me when you get an idea — or some ideas — on how to begin changing society. I’m sure it won’t be easy, but with enough finesse, and well-reasoned input from others it might be a way to start things moving..I’ll contribute ideas if I think I have any that are viable.

    1. Bill Post author

      I believe you misunderstood. I don’t think we can change society, but I believe each of us has the ability to change ourselves, and to effect useful change on a local level, whether it’s heckling our government representatives or volunteering in a soup kitchen or serving individuals in other ways. The problem with people’s habits of looking for ways to be superior is twofold: it helps convince us that we are superior (questionable), and objectifies people whom we find not to our standards, reducing the likelihood that we are willing to help them if the opportunity arises. Intellectual snobbery, whether in the form of jokes, demeaning images, or simply pointing out the faults of others, indicates attitudes that do not foster goodwill and problem solving.


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