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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Friday, December 30

Nastiness

I wrote this a while back but I haven't posted it because it seems pretty hypocritical. I've finally decided to take the risk. Sometimes, I think a bit of hypocrisy may be the first step in self improvement. Then again, looking at the definition, I'd say that pointing out the flaws of others while NOT pretending that I don't share those flaws isn't hypocrisy...

I hate dealing with nasty people - the ones who spend large amounts of time criticizing and picking out the faults of other people and proclaiming their opinion as if it's absolute truth and anyone who thinks otherwise is obviously lazy and stupid. I've written about this before, but I wonder whether such people are so critical of themselves. If they are, it's generally not obvious.

Oh sure, they may pick out certain of their more minor flaws here and there to admit to, but what amazes me is the capacity of such people to continue doing the things they're complaining about. Are they really so blind to their own faults? Could they be more sensitive to those faults? I sometimes find myself being especially critical of others when I am feeling bad about something I myself have done wrong. Do they just keep talking about others to keep from thinking about their own faults?

Then there are the people, sometimes the same ones, who criticize others for NOT doing what they do. Nevermind that they've royally screwed up and made a lot of people miserable in the process - so long as they can maintain their self image by finding the flaws in others.

I admit it, I've been a nasty person. I've done all those things. I've been a wacko environmentalist, lefty socialist, breastfeeding NAZI, a homeschooling NAZI, a weird sort of Objectivist, right-wing, libertarian nazi, and a TCS NAZI. I've written lengthy emails and had heated debates about the evils of big government, of public schools, of conventional parenting, etc. There is hardly a view that I hold now that I didn't once despise. I used to hate reading my old writing because it seemed so judgemental and silly and wrong-headed. But I was just bothered that I was mistaken, it didn't stop me from writing more of the same - just with different opinions. At least not for a long time.

I think one of the worst things I've done was listen to people who were really full of hot air and didn't know what the hell they were talking about. I'm really pissed about myself about that. Sometimes I feel angry at those people, but really, it's not their fault if I listened. I could always avoid them - wear ear plugs, avoid reading their writings. Still, I have a hard time with that idea. I never know where new knowledge might come from. If it's uncomfortable, it might have some hard-hitting truths. Then again, there's a lot of truth to be known and it doesn't have to all be uncomfortable. I can always take it a little at a time.

One aspect to this flaw of mine is the tendency to think that someone who sounds confident might be closer to right. It's likely false. The appearance of confidence could be due to an ignorance of reasons to have doubts, sometimes even a deliberate refusal to explore those reasons. Sometimes it can be a sign of fear.

I think my writing has changed. I quit for a long time because I was ashamed of the old stuff, and I didn't really have anything to offer. I suppose I could rattle off some of my mistakes, point out the boobie traps and potholes that some might encounter, but then it seems like most of what I experience is unique to me. Other people don't fall for them and probably think me rather silly for not knowing better. Then again, I'm always amazed at the mistakes other people make that seem so "obvious" to me.

3 comments:

Leo said...

Hey, if I am one of those people and I annoy you and you don't want me to comment on your blog you just have to say it directly. I don't like to have to wonder if it's me you are talking about. I don't get indirect remarks.

I also never found you much of a boob or TCS nazi, on the contrary.

Becky said...

I wasn't thinking about you when I wrote this rant.

The only comments on my blog so far that have bothered me were spam. I don't mind meaningful criticisms of my writing. Sometimes I feel a bit stupid for not noticing the mistakes myself, but I get over it pretty quick. When I turned in a paper, the thing I hated most was to get back a grade with no comments. I almost preferred failing (with lots of crossouts and comments) to getting an A with no useful comments about how to do it better.

I also never found you much of a boob or TCS nazi, on the contrary.
You didn't know me back in the breastfeeding days and you weren't around me in person for the TCS crap. Even if I didn't always express it, I still thought and said some pretty awful stuff about people and assumed way too much. ;)

Leo said...

I got lucky then, I only got the fluffy Becky side. :D