Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Will Still Die, Even if You Quit Smoking

Consider all the things out there that you could possibly die from. Smoking is one single thing, that might kill you somewhere down the line, among a million other things that might kill you right this second.

Quitting cigarettes provides the illusion of preventable death. Of course, everybody says they know that they are going to die, but the truth is, nobody really believes it. Eating healthy food, not smoking, getting regular exercise, all of it is with the desire to avoid death, to find a loophole in your contract with the body-bag.

Quitting cigarettes will not guarantee any kind of benefit. The drunk driver who will crash into your car tonight does not care whether or not you smoke.

Quitting will not guarantee an easier death or a longer life
Did you know that there are many illnesses that are not the results of smoking? Old and young sick people will die today who have never so much as inhaled secondhand smoke! And they die too! Some of these illnesses are painful and humiliating and just as ugly as any smoking-related disease.

The best any doctor can tell you is that not-smoking makes it less likely that you will die from certain diseases and conditions. If I don't drive and I avoid roads it makes it less likely that I will not die in an automobile accident. It doesn't make it less likely that I will die in an equally painful way from something else.

Death is, indeed, inevitable
How fascinating is that? Absolute certainty. How many things in human existence are absolutely certain to happen? It's an alien, wholly foreign concept to our imaginations. The thing that is absolutely unavoidable, the experience that is universal. Every risk you avoid, everything you accomplish, every experience you have or don't have, is meaningless in that respect. In eternity it doesn't matter if you die now or in 20 years.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

About Committing Suicide, 5 Points

1. A relatively surefire method
Meaning it has to kill you, not leave you to suffer, damaged and sentient in some hospital room, unable to finish what you started without help. They say that you need to jump off something really high to be certain, that that’s the closest to surefire you will ever get.

2. A method that is psychologically appealing
Meaning that you can see yourself following through on. For example: lots of people can’t stand the sight of blood so the thought of cutting wrists turns their stomachs.

3. Absolute certainty
Seeing that there is usually no coming back from this, this is not for those who are dithering or tremulous on any level. If you have to think about it you probably are not ready. There can be no questions anywhere in your mind.

4. No one you care about leaving behind
This has to be selfish and completely private by definition. If at any point anybody else other than you crosses your mind you probably are not ready. You have to be fixated and obsessed and completely single-minded about it.

5. No opportunity for last-minute regret
In the first point in the list I pointed out the fact that with jumping off high places there is the issue of a long fall to the ground. You get to think and feel regret after you have gone past the point of no return. It is but a few moments, but there is time for conscious, pointless remorse which is not how you want to spend your last few moments. With hanging or sleeping pills or anything that takes time there is this issue. You want to opt for the kind that takes you consciousness immediately after you have made the final step.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Most people do not hate anything or anyone randomly...

Most people do not hate anything or anyone randomly, they have specific reasons. Sometimes the reasons are objective and clear, sometimes the reasons are muddled and have to do with their own personal failings, like personal insecurity.  The people who oppose Social Conservatism have a very specific set of reasons.

I have often heard it said that everyone is a Liberal when young and a Conservative when old. This is partly true, usually when the world changes around people, they tend to cling to what they knew when young, out of fear of their own obsolescence. The world makes what was Liberal at one point, relatively Conservative at a later point.

So, why do Liberals tend to despise Conservatives? There is an arc of change that a person’s life tends to follow as they grow into Conservatism, each point in that arc comes with a characteristic that more open-minded people find offensive.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

People Will Try to Destroy Your Relationship, and Here’s Why

When people are unhappy with their own lives (and most people are), they don’t always admit this unhappiness to themselves. Instead, they will transfer the responsibility for their feelings to those around them, making those people at fault for how they feel. This will come up in a number of ways, but most notably, it makes already present resentments worse. If they would feel mildly annoyed by something, that minor irritation becomes anger. If they are already resentful and envious of certain aspects of your relationship, they may feel a need to actively do something about it, to try to poison it.

If they have an emotional connection to one or both of you then this will give them the cover they need to do it. They can offer advice and claim to do it out of love or concern. They can interfere and say that they are doing it for your own good. It may also give them a certain amount of power in your relationship. This is where mothers-in-law get their bad reputations.

That power is another reason they may do it, entirely separate from their own personal unhappiness. Power is addictive, and the fact that somebody is able to manipulate you or your partner, means that it will be at least tempting for them to do it.

Ways to defend against this:
Understand that not everybody who offers advice has your best interest in mind. Learn to see the possible ulterior motives when people appear eager to help.

Do not seek help when your are emotional. Granted, that’s when you most want it, but doing this removes much of your objectivity, and makes you overly receptive to manipulative suggestions.

Settle problems within the relationship. If it’s necessary to bring somebody in, bring in somebody wholly unconnected with any of the parties.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Poverty Can Strike at Any Moment: Be Ready

You want an idea that’s so good that nobody will ever implement it? How about this one: Live poorly. Always be ready to be poor. Be ready for poverty to strike at any moment. Learn to live like a person in the Third World.

Poverty is unpredictable. You cannot ever be so rich that you can’t lose all of it and then some. You can’t be so rich that you cannot ever get sick and be unable to spend all of it. It’s best if you never become so helplessly addicted to your wealth that you cannot function without it.

You don’t have to sell your things and move out of your mansion to experience it, just set a really low budget for your day-to-day life. Shop at the dollar stores, thrift shops and discount supermarkets. Eat a limited, inexpensive range of foods, bought in said supermarkets, or grown in your yard. Your “treats” (even poor people have them)should be simple and be far enough apart from each other that no matter how simple they are, are still “treats”. When the dollar menu at McDonald’s taste good, you are on the right track.

The idea is to reduce the emotional trauma of the fall, the potential of which is always there. To get some resources (psychological and otherwise) ready for when your quality of life changes.

Your quality of life always changes. Sooner or later, if you live long enough, your quality of life changes. You get old, you get dependent, and you get fearful because you are dependent. Everybody is trying to rob you, the world feels alien, and everybody thinks that you are a feebleminded, doddering old fool, and you hate that, mostly because you are inclined to think they are right.

Be ready is the point here. Know what it feels like before you have to know what it feels like.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Real Dangers to Kids Now

You probably should not be worried about child molesters in the classroom. Too many witnesses, too much supervision, also, they are outnumbered. The “Free Candy” van does not work in a school setting. No, there are far more insidious and powerful dangers out in an educational institution, things that nobody likes to talk about.

Certain kinds of religious people
They will attempt to convert your kid. For the most part religious people believe in indoctrination. Indiscriminate indoctrination. When they join up in their religion they are commissioned to bring in new believers using whatever platforms they have available to them. Speaking to children from a position of authority is a powerful platform. The absolute certainty that some faiths require the faithful to ostentatiously display, can, and will creep into every discussion of every subject. The fact that they are violating rules and upsetting parents allows the indoctrinators to feel martyred and heroic.

People who want to be liked
There is probably something deeply wrong with adults who desperately crave the approval of children. Yes, you want your child to feel comfortable around their teachers. You definitely don’t want them to be afraid to ask questions, or be scared away from a subject, but an adult who wants a group of somewhat diverse kids to actively like them, probably won’t have time to teach, and, if they do find time, will probably tailor their lessons with popularity in mind. It is not a viable, practical objective. I strongly suspect that the whole phenomenon of female teachers molesting male students comes from this. What better way to secure the approval of a horny, hormonal, adolescent male than via sex?

People obsessed with status and power
For some people the role of teacher is about the position of being the one educated person in a room full of impressionable morons. You get to affect their entire lives, most middle-aged people can still remember their favorite and most hated teachers from elementary school. You get to be the one who teaches them new things, you give them knowledge, you are the dispenser of it. You are the authority figure, sole source of power in the room. The problem with this power-obsession is that to keep that sense of superiority, the students must always be dumber than their teacher, at least while they are still that teacher’s students. Ambition, genius, excelling, or even just not being like all the others, are often subtly, or not so subtly discouraged.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some People Never Mature Past Their Teens

Sometimes people peak in their teens. This is the last point in their life at which they actually had it good, felt free and optimistic. Often these people never actually grow out of being teenagers. They never get any better at life, and at age forty still have the coping skills that they did when they left high school.

Talking to them when they are adults is exactly like talking to them when they were kids. It is impossible to befriend such people. It is impossible to have a meaningful relationship with them.

The only way for some people to grow, is to suffer and to find a way out of that suffering. To experience a bad, bitter marriage, and an ugly divorce, to lose someone close, to see have multiple shifts in life and to emerge from them, to learn how to handle setbacks and despair.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don’t Care About the Feelings

The only way to deal with, hysterical, over-emotional, mercurial people is to not care too much about what they think or are feeling at any given point. Take them too seriously and you find that your emotions run riot right along with theirs.

You can't take their feelings seriously until they stick for a period of time, then you acknowledge them. They will still probably pass, but you have to deal with them while they are around.

These up-down-up-down people take what they feel very seriously, so you can’t ever openly dismiss them. This does not mean that you don’t care about them, their lives, or that you are not interested. You just don't care about what they feel.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chuck Palahniuk Quote

"What we don't understand we can make mean anything."
Chuck Palahniuk

This goes for all the things that people don't know. You can assign meaning wherever you want when you are ignorant. Science becomes magic, other people different from you are evil, and so on.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The things that reveal the real you

Your fetishes, your sexuality, reveal who you are. The problem is that it's not affected, it is really you, it's what you do for pleasure, what you truly want to do. It shows a side of yourself that could easily be disgusting to other people. It might gross people out. It's like the skid-marks on your underwear or blowing your nose or merely appearing naked. It makes you vulnerable to scorn. This is why viewing “adult material”, for most, is private, especially if they like minorities or homosexuality or something that nobody they know finds appealing. It's secret and personal. This gives the people who make adult entertainment, who make the things that are shameful powerful in society, power. You make erotica with submissive men, or fat women, or grannies, you become powerful.

Anything that can destroy a reputation or ruin a relationship is powerful because it thrives only as the result of a compulsion, something that goes beyond options and what people want to do. If you can tap into the thing that people need to consume and you can control your product, meaning who has it, then you will make money. It becomes like crack or heroin.

Cater to the low, dark side, the side that wants revenge or is fascinated by stories of serial-killing and rape and perversion. You make any story into a soap opera with clich├ęd twists and contrived circumstances that are simple enough for anybody to understand and yet too complicated for the people on film to figure out and solve until the requisite number of episodes.

Everybody has a dark, stupid side, the part of themselves that longs for the lurid. Usually, it's the same side. Intelligent women whose identity is in their ability to think, they long for the release of ridiculous romance. Women who claim to respect themselves and embody feminist or wholesome family values, they long to do away with discretion and indulge themselves in the lifestyle of the "low woman," the indiscriminate slut. People and the rules they crave to violate offer a market to the intelligent entrepreneur. Everybody longs for their own forbidden fruit, longs to jump the fence eat from the greener pasture, you just have to come up with a way to satisfy it and sell it to them without anybody finding out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What this “talent” thing is all about

Let’s take a guy who is really good at wood-work. It could be anything, really, cooking, music, being able to sexually satisfy a woman, but let’s say wood-work. He has what people call a “talent”,which is a word that is like the word “magic”. It’s what people use as a label for that which they do not understand. This “talent” is not, and should not be mysterious at all. To be the genius, skilled wood-worker that he is he needs to have first of all, a desire to make something with wood. That’s it. That’s the primary ingredient in “talent”, the simple need for a table, or a chair, or a dildo for his wife since he lost his penis in the war.

Whatever it is, he wants that thing to come into existence, from a tree. He doesn’t like the idea, he doesn’t want to be considered the Michelangelo of wood, he just wants this thing to exist and it does not, therefore he is obligated to make it. So he tries, and thing he creates doesn’t satisfy him, and he tries to refine it and it’s still not right, he checks out furniture every chance he can, makes a note of the stuff that looks right. He asks questions, stays awake at night thinking about it. He goes back to the drawing-board and he tries some more. The desire just won’t go away.

Eventually, over years of trying, his skills get refined. He becomes a master of the jigsaw and router and whatever else wood-workers use. He knows what methods will work and what won’t work. Then one day he makes a chair that is comfortable. He makes a table with a level surface, he makes a splinter-free phallic object. Not only has he mastered the processes that go into creating that chair, he has found that he can do it again, maybe play with the form a little bit to make it more aesthetically pleasing, more comfortable. He has a set of skills that allow him to do whatever he wants with the material he has chosen to work with.
Most people who set out to do anything don’t want a chair. They don’t realize that that’s where it starts, with a desire for something. They want the money that comes from selling chairs, they want the respect that the master-craftsmen get, they want to be able to talk about chairs and tables and maple-wood sex-toys, but not to make one. Not really. So you get critics and "experts" and teachers, who always outnumber the people who make the product. There are a million music bloggers who own guitars and only a handful of guys who can play a guitar like Brian May, a million web-cam models, but only one Belladonna.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ambrose Bierce Quote

"Politeness, n. The most acceptable hypocrisy."
Ambrose Bierce (The Devil's Dictionary)

And that’s all it ever is. There is nothing sincere behind it, there is no value to it, all it is is just small-talk.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It’s bad and always will be…

The western world consists of theme park nations still living off their colonial inheritances and pretending to not have the sense of entitlement and contended superiority that comes from having oppressed. Life is this big game where grown play make-believe that they are not as shitty as they really are. Once you see this then there are no tragedies. That fucker who got murdered this morning had it coming. Everybody gets what they have coming. You pretend that I am not a dipshit and I will do the same!

Anarchy makes no sense either. You can't rebel against anything except to set up more of the same.

Guess what? Humans are assholes and you need to just accept that. Races of extraterrestrial should stay the fuck away lest we contaminate them like the diseased zombies that we are. The only way you can find something good is by not looking too closely, and the motivation to not look too closely comes from wanting to see good. Everything that you thing is good in your life really comes the need to see it there, not from the quality of the thing itself.

Nothing can change, and so all change is really just theater, so either join the cast and perform your little heart out if you want, but see it for what it is. Take nothing seriously except your performance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

People and their judgments

In the recent months I have been around kids for more consecutive hours than at any other time in my life, including my childhood. I have come to realize that there were probably many times when I was a kid that the adults around me were fed up and disgusted, but kept it to themselves because I was a kid.

The only reason you feel at ease around people at all is because you don’t really stop to think about how you might come across to them. You have grown out of your self-consciousness if indeed you ever had any. Your childhood was before you were aware of the concept, were aware even of who you were and the fact that there was indeed a right way for you to act and a wrong way.

People judge. All people do. They use their opinions of you to escape from the circumstances of their lives. They assess you in order to find a flaw so that they can feel that they are superior to you, or at least not your inferior. Only the man in trouble does not judge, becoming so swallowed up in his circumstances that he does not care about anything beyond himself.

The criteria varies based on how much of life you have seen. The "amount" of life is not measured in quantity of years but breadth of experience, how much of the range of possible human events have you seen? You grow up in a small-town all your references are limited to that small town. You cannot conceive of life on the outside, but you don’t know it, you don’t know how limited your imagination is.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

H.L. Mencken Quote

"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."
H. L. Mencken 

And what's wrong with that? There is a good chance that there will be one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Good looks mean more than pretty much everything else in life

People look their best between the ages of 19 to 25, after that it’s pretty much all downhill. Often it starts way before the 25. This is the period where you need to start developing a sense of humor and finding out how to be charismatic if you want to be social and move with the cream of the crop. You will need to make money too, because money is like White Out for your personality problems.

Yes, looks matter. How often do you see good-looking homeless people? Never.

I am not saying that this is right, but it does serve a purpose. People who lack in the looks department compensate the way guys with micro-penises compensate. Brett Favre never would have been successful if he was hung like John Holmes. I don’t think that of all the athletes in the all the professional sports’ hall of fames there is one person over 3 inches, and nobody who is particularly good-looking either. Except for maybe Michael Jordan, and he must be the size of a flea.

Anyway, my original point was that youth makes everybody look better than they ever will again. I am just saying that if you are ugly when young you are pretty much screwed and need to start being a really cool person with money.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Nature of Success

Successful people, or people who think they are successful, all believe that life is a meritocracy because this makes them superior to all of the average people.

Average people want to believe in this principle when they are faced with those who are less-than average, but any such ranking system would indicate that they are inferior to the successful. They can’t admit that so they just don’t think about any of it.

Life is not a meritocracy. It’s not a crap shoot either. Nothing is guaranteed. Lazy people get successful, hard-working people fail and wind up smoking crack in a corner behind the dumpster. Kind people suffer and die and assholes prosper, good guys get shot and bad guys get away with it. Everybody likes to pat themselves on the back and forget the advantages they had and pretend that they got success because they are just too cool to fail.

Everybody alive is more successful than the dead people. That’s how “success” really works. You have no control of anything. People who have money, who have fulfilling and profitable careers, just have not meant the right drunk driver, rapist with AIDS, workplace shooter, or period of suicidal depression due to a malfunctioning brain. If you think any of that is because you are so awesome, remember that the cancer, or one of the aforementioned things is out there, waiting for you. You won’t always be cool.   

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why people think you are creepy

Staring at strangers
We can see you, you know. Long lingering stares at perfect strangers, makes the person you are staring at uncomfortable, if they notice, but for the rest of us, the ones who see you staring, it says so much. Depending on the subject of the stare, everybody thinks they know why you are doing it. If it’s a woman you might just look pathetic, or else look like a potential rapist or serial killer, that is, if you are a man. If you are a woman it might just seem just envious and pathetic, but in some cases malevolent and bitter. You look like somebody who is too far gone to control even the most basic impulse, too used to being alone to know how to handle being around people. You look like somebody who needs to be reacquainted with the concept of boundaries

It could be your choice of porn
Lactation bukkake and things of that ilk are not appreciated by the masses, even by people with mildly exotic tastes. People dislike tastes that disagree with their own, and dislike the fact that you have judged them by not enjoying exactly what they enjoy. Sex is a perfect area for this kind of thing to arise because most people judge themselves righteous based on which desires they repress. They have probably felt shame about something they enjoyed, could not help enjoying and felt helpless because of this. They seek to feel powerful by making you feel ashamed, just like somebody, maybe their mother, made them feel bad because they looked at Hustler magazine.

Perhaps, the things you say have something to do with it
Inappropriate, appropriate. These words mean something. There is a difference between the two. Do not comment on something like, say, a woman’s camel-toe unless you are very well-acquainted with her. Perhaps even intimate. This is not a matter for the work-place, or for strangers on the bus. Even when you are intimately acquainted it’s still a touchy subject. If you decide to bring it up, just do it and then go on to something else. Leaving the room might be a good idea. Lingering to discuss the quality of her camel-toe, places you have seen camel-toes, and how you feel about them in general, is usually a mistake. Bringing up any fetishes you may have and speaking at length about them, is also likely to make people uncomfortable. Any fetishes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The value of the lost cause

You get the security of knowing that you will be banging your head against a dead horse for the rest of your life, looking for the solution, the elusive result that will make you feel validated and satisfied. You get to spend your days thinking up ways to solve the unsolvable, thus giving you something to think about, which you would not otherwise have. It's the ultimate red herring, the plot of your life seems to be going somewhere, even though it really isn't. Just keep on thinking those positive thoughts, keep on dreaming the dream. You won't ever find your way, you will die still fumbling in the dark, but at least you can tell yourself that what you are fumbling for might be there. You get a project with which to kill time. Life is short, so spend it on a fruitless, pointless, pleasure-less task so as to make it seem shorter.

It's way more important to be able to tell yourself that some absurdly fantastic notion is worth chasing than it is to actually accomplish anything. Once something gets done then what else is there to do? You are stuck with this finished task that no longer has a place for you, the fixer. The completed building no longer needs the builder. Sure, you are validated having gotten done, but with each passing day your role of fixer/builder diminishes in memory, and you become more and more obsolete. The good contractor must cause as many problems as he solves so as to ensure a lengthy period of work. Here’s to the lost cause!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

John Adams Quote

“Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.”
John Adams

That goes for all the supposedly moral, supposedly righteous people who seek to inflict their concept of righteousness on the world.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kids are troublesome

There are things that very few people take into account before breeding, here are some of the more important ones.

1. They will not appreciate you until you are

They assume that you will always be around until it finally hits home that you are gone for good, then suddenly they see what they don’t have in their lives, contrasted with what used to be there. Every single little thing that they took for granted will be highlighted. Until you die, though, they are blind to it, you are pathetic compared to the parents of their friends.

2. Whatever method of parenting you choose will be wrong
If you push it will be too hard, if you don’t push then you should have. Every single thing you do will cause an issue and the issue will be entirely your fault. What’s more they will rebel against you, so that if you try to raise them the right way, they will go, at least for a time, in the opposite direction, and the consequences of this will also be your fault.

3. They will profoundly disappoint you
It won’t happen all at once either. When they come out of the vagina they will have all kinds of potential, but only in your imagination. You will imagine your kid to be a great man or woman, imaginative, athletic, good-looking, talented, and they will grow up to be less so. You will come to see over the course of the next 2 decades that your kid is more like the kids at their school than they are like you. You will see that they are lazier, dumber, less gifted than you are, at least at the things you think are important but most likely at everything.

4. You will screw up
And your mistakes will have very real consequences. You are a flawed person, maybe you have a temper, maybe you don’t have enough of one, maybe you love your job and spend too much time on it, maybe you are less motivated about work. Everybody has something wrong with them, everybody fucks something up at some point. Whatever mistakes you make will have definite repercussions in your child’s life, they will view life through the filter of that mistake and either become prone to it themselves, or have some other issue as a result. So on top of them making you a scapegoat for all their own adult issues they will have genuine ones that you started with your issues.

5. Teenagers are assholes
There are the assholes that are assholes to your face, and there are the assholes who hide it from you, but they are all assholes. This is not to say that some are not bigger assholes than others, who are not just going through a phase but on the road to becoming assholes for their entire lives. Every kid goes through that phase where the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood, the increased and increasing expectations, the insecurities, all combine into a shit-supercell of self-pity and melodrama.

6. You will love them too much
That means you are tied to them no matter what. Even if you kid grows up to be a serial killer or child molester. You will, because of this emotional bond, go into denial. Deep, stupid, dark denial. Everything bad said about your kid will be a lie, and even when you are convinced that, yes, he did molest the neighbors dog, you will be quick to assume that he is cured. Two weeks behind bars and you will start doing everything in your power to get him out. On one level this is sweet, on another it is an example of pure, blind human stupidity and you and your sick, perverted kid should probably be killed.

7. They will look to you for everything
Not only that, it will continue well past the point that it should. It’s a tremendous responsibility, being your child’s main supplier of stuff, of good times, of attention and affection. If you have any kind of life or interest in anything outside of child-rearing, you can change "responsibility"  to "soul-crushing burden".

8. They will be obnoxious
Kids are ignorant of everything including how not to act in public around strangers who neither know nor like them. It is important that you know this fact before somebody kicks your kid in Wal-Mart.

9. They will take a lot of your time
PTA meetings, swing-set assembly, computer assembly, re-learning math so you can help them, reading boring stories over and over again, trips to the ER, driving through the ‘hood looking for a bondsman, endless illnesses, listening to dumb stories about nothing important, all part of the job and basically will suck away maybe a third of your leisure time till they leave home.

10. You will develop patience
You will find yourself able to tolerate weakness, stupidity and assorted other flaws in people younger than you with an equanimity you would never have possessed were it not that your kid was also deficient. On the surface it seems like a good thing, except what it really is is that you are trying to pretend that the flaws are not so bad.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Divide and Conquer: A short lesson on race-baiting and similar divisive tactics

When people are taught from birth that they are superior to a certain other subset of humanity, the notion becomes an unshakeable part of their character. Humans naturally want to feel superior to other humans. Those people from that neighborhood, those people of that religion, those people of that political party, those people with that skin-color. The idea is to always feel that no matter how bad my life is or how much of a failure I am, I am not one of them. As long as you are not one of them, you have not sunk to the lowest low, there are still other people further down. It is where most people get their self-esteem.

What happens when there is no clear evidence of superiority? What happens when circumstances force you to acknowledge the humanity of the other person? That’s when you move away. You segregate. One of the main purposes of segregation, across economic, religious, or racial lines, is to avoid recognizing the other group(s) as equals. There is a loss of identity and people start to integrate when this happens. When you lose your identity as a specific group, then you lose the self-esteem associated with it. The source of your sense of superiority, therefore, is a carefully maintained ignorance of other racial, religious, and ethnic groups.

Bigots are not accidentally ignorant. Their lack of knowledge of other cultures did not come about because they are simply too lazy or unequipped to learn. It is a deliberate human behavior, a psychological device, to avoid discouragement of the individual, to bring people together, to maintain a sense of predictability and safety.

How divisive tactics like race-baiting really work
Demagogues and fomenters use one simple tactic: to weigh the need for self-esteem, to consider yourself better-than, the need for consistent, safely homogenous communities, against logic and fairness. Logic and fairness dictate that people be fair and react to individuals individually. You assume equality, at least until proven otherwise conclusively. By putting the two on the scales together, the race-baiter is asking you to choose between an inflated sense of your personal worth and being rational. Being rational always loses.

The divider calls upon what is already there, the needs and fears and desires, he does not insert them. Hitler did not make the German nation do anything that it was not already inclined to do. He merely focused already existing emotion and used to fuel specific actions. The leaders to inspire ethnic cleansing merely harness the forces, they don’t generate them.

The “cure”
The real solution to racism is not teaching about the equality of people, or “tolerance”, it is about giving people ways of feeling valuable and important apart from being a member of an ethnic group or religion. Failing that, you need to have an overwhelming necessity that renders all divisions irrelevant. You need motivations for forming communities, beyond income-level, race, and worship. Dictatorship, natural disaster, religion, and war are basically the only things known to have accomplished this.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beware of self-righteous people

Beware of anyone claiming to want to "do the right thing". This is where the human phenomenon of "self-righteousness" usually rears its head. Self-righteousness usually comes with a desire to control others, to inflict one's sense of right on wrong on the people who behave and think differently.

This means that you need to beware of politically-minded religious people, beware of "patriots", beware of strident law-abiders (they are all hypocrites), and beware of their polar opposites, the strident atheists and religion-haters and anarchists.

Absolute certainty is the problem. People who are absolutely certain of anything usually don’t know a whole lot about that thing.

Another problem is the desperate need that insecure people have for a sense of superiority. This need dictates that they will look for and find it wherever they can. Whoever lacks what they possess is in some way inferior, those who do not think or act like them, are likewise inferior.