Wednesday, 21 December 2016


Credit for the following goes to author David Gerrold.


I think that one symptom of the disease that afflicts us all is self-righteousness.
We have a need to be right because we have a need to survive. We get it drummed into us in school -- where "I don't know" is an admission of stupidity and is therefore, the little death. So rather than die, we make stuff up to fill the vacuum of ignorance.
And then we marry it. That stuff we made up. We invest ourselves in it, no matter how stupid or how wrong it may be. We hold onto it like a drowning man clutching his anvil. Things like "trickle-down economics," for example.
And we mortar the bricks of that particular wall with language like "SJWs always lie" and "pathetic beta-male libtards" and "genetically inferior" and "sexual deviants" and other terms of undearment.
When that cement hardens, we've walled ourselves in, like Poe's unfortunate Fortunado -- only this is a self-abnegation, a premature burial of thought and understanding and compassion.
We do it on the hard right, we do it on the hard left. Fanatics do it, religiously, politically, theologically, ideologically, and every other -ically. With the emphasis on the ick.
We do it because we're self-righteous a$$holes, investing our energy into our beliefs with all the devout conviction of a Christian Scientist with appendicitis, praying harder and harder for the invisible sky-fairy to fix it.
Here's the thing about self-righteousness. It's about needing to be right. Regardless of the issue, it's about needing to be right.
The problem with being right is that in order to be right, you have to make someone else wrong.
This is why nobody ever wins an argument without losing a friend.
Because to win the argument, you have to make them wrong.
And nobody, in the entire history of the human race, has ever said, "Thank you for proving me wrong." Usually what we say, whether we say it aloud or under our breath, is something like, "That son of a bitch...." And we go away, more strongly convicted in our delusion than before.
Because being right is always more important to a human being than being accurate.
That's the design flaw in the human animal.
It takes deliberate and conscious effort to get past that. It takes training and practice to make it a habit to consider evidence as more important than opinion.
This is particularly depressing because the number of people who think that their opinions are more important than the evidence vastly outnumbers the much smaller number of people who practice some form of the scientific method.
The irony here is that too many of those who reject the scientific method are logging onto their computers to tell the rest of us why their delusional opinions are more important than the evidence.
That's a large part of the infection that is paralyzing our political and social processes. Self-righteousness.
I have not named anyone specifically -- because the ironic part of this is that when you call someone out for being self-righteous, you're being self-righteous yourself.
So I discuss the issue rather than any individual. Discuss issues, not personalities -- this is because all of us have issues, but not all of us have personalities.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes it's better to let comments slide rather than needing to be "right".