I Guess That Makes Me A Mean Bastard

Mean BastardBelieve it or not, I’m not a cruel guy, even if some people think that I am.  To be honest, I don’t really give a damn if people think I’m nice or not, the people I’m not “nice” to are usually the ones who misunderstand why I’m not nice.  The fact is, I have the ability to manually separate and compartmentalize emotion from rational reality, I can evaluate events and ideas on a wholly rational, intellectual and critical basis without resorting to blind emotion.  It’s a very valuable skill, one I think far too many people lack and ought to develop.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that emotion is useless and should be eliminated, I’m saying that there are a lot of things in the real world that need to be evaluated rationally.  They need  to be looked at from a critical perspective.  They need to be examined with a dispassionate eye and an intellectual bent.  In fact, I think that for a whole host of issues, emotion only gets in the way of finding actual, workable, reasonable solutions.

So I wall that part off and don’t use it.  And that pisses a lot of people off.

“Oh, don’t you feel…”  “Doesn’t this make you feel…”  No, purposely not.  Unleashed emotions are just not conducive to coming up with good ideas much of the time.  In fact, I’d argue that many of the world’s problems are caused by uncontrolled emotionalism.  However, just recognizing that tends to piss people off.

Want an example?  The world’s population, while perhaps not beyond the ability of the planet to feed, is distributed very poorly.  The countries that tend to produce the most offspring are also the countries that are usually least equipped to feed and care for them.  That results in not only overpopulation but high mortality.  The popular “starving kids in Africa” thing that mothers tell their kids when they don’t clean their plate is a reality.  So how do we solve it?  It sure isn’t by watching commercials on TV and “adopting” a child for 33 cents a day.  But the overly-emotional people will say “these people have a right to breed as fast as they possibly can”.  I acknowledge that I can’t stop them, but clearly, the high mortality rate is linked to the high birth rate and, like it or not, actions have consequences.  Now I know that these people had no part in being born into a poverty-stricken area of the world and that there is a biological drive to breed, but how can anyone be surprised when nature takes it’s course and people die because of it?  Any rational solution there is going to have to be part birth control, part technical improvement, part intellectual improvement and a whole lot of telling the Catholic Church to go fuck itself.  That’s a whole group of people running on nothing but emotion.  “Oh, we don’t want you to use birth control!”  Yeah, I don’t want you to hide pedophile priests, let me know how that’s working out for you.  You can’t always get what you want, especially if what you want is stupid.

And that’s another thing, I have no problem calling someone stupid if they’re stupid.  I think people ought to call a spade a spade.  I’m not really concerned with how you feel about things, but about how you deal with them.  I have never understood why so many people get so upset if I reject their beliefs or positions.  Do you think that if I reject what you say, that somehow, I reject what you are?  I certainly never get upset if someone criticizes something I say, I don’t lash out, I don’t get mad.  Why would I?  Why would you?  It makes no sense to me.  If you’re stupid, you’re  stupid.  If you’re ignorant, you’re ignorant.  Ignorance can be cured, just learn something.  Stupidity is often another matter, but hey, give it a shot anyhow.  If I don’t know something, I go learn about it.  I freely admit there are tons of subjects of which I am totally ignorant, only because I haven’t gotten to them yet or I’m just not interested.  Am I supposed to be hurt by this?  I’m not.  Neither should  you be.

Besides, I figure adults ought to act like adults.  I shouldn’t have to pussyfoot around and treat you with kid gloves, you ought to be able to think for yourself, use reason and deal with reality as it is, not how  you wish it was.  If you can’t, then you ought to get a metaphorical 2×4 to the head to knock a little sense into you.  I am not, nor will I, nor should I be responsible for protecting your precious little feelings from harm, nor you from feelings of inadequacy.  Man up.  In fact, if we had a planet of people who manned up and took responsibility for their lives, for their ideas and for their beliefs, this planet wouldn’t be in the dire straights it is in today.

So to make it clear, if you think I’m being a dick, you’re probably wrong.  Well, for those mental midgets whose beliefs are so utterly absurd and whose positions are completely emotional, and wrong, to boot, maybe I am, but those instances are few and far between.  More likely, you’re so used to the kind of mental masturbation that “polite society” uses to avoid even the slightest chance of hurting anyone’s feelings and being treated like an emotional cripple that you can’t take straight, honest and unequivocal talk.  I’m not going to bullshit you, I’m not  going to play games with you and, believe it or not, I listen to what people say and if they have a good idea, if they can demonstrate their beliefs are factually true, I can even change my mind.  Imagine that!

I find it bizarre that there are people out there who hold beliefs for which they have never thought of the rational justifications for.  They have faith in things that they plainly don’t understand.  They believe things and have never bothered to ask themselves why they believe them, or if they should believe them at all.  That’s not the case with me.  Pretty much everything I let into my head, I can justify with evidence or well-reasoned logic.  I don’t “feel” my way through life, I “think”.

But please, don’t get me wrong, emotions do have a place in a rational mind but I think it’s usually in a secondary role.  It’s great to love someone but you shouldn’t make life-altering decisions based solely on an emotion.  I don’t care how much in love you are with your significant other, making a commitment to them should be based on a lot of rational criteria that needs to be evaluated critically.  Is this relationship going to work out in the long-term?  Is this someone that you can actually live with for the rest of your life?  The overwhelming majority of relationships I have seen that have fallen apart catastrophically have been because they were too busy smelling the flowers to stop and tick off the boxes and make intellectual decisions.

So now you have a little better insight into my thought process and understand that it’s probably not personal, but that I have high expectations of myself and, like it or not, I’m going to have high expectations of you.  If you’re not willing or able to rise to the challenge, expect me to call you on it.  That’s life.  Don’t have a cow.  Just push yourself to be a better, more rational, more intellectual individual.  It can only make you stronger and so long as it doesn’t kill you… you know the drill.

8 thoughts on “I Guess That Makes Me A Mean Bastard

  1. It certainly doesn't make you mean in my book, but I've been accused of being mean too so that might not be worth much. I recognize that we are each responsible for our feelings and that nobody else can make us feel anything in particular without our cooperation. Lack of understanding of this simple truth seems to be a major contributor to irrationality and conflict. I am responsible for my behavior, so if I behave like an ass, that is on me. However, I am not responsible for someone's hurt feelings. That is up to them. There is an extremely simple solution for those who constantly experience hurt feelings when using the Internet: stop using the Internet and learn some of the emotion regulation skills most adults have.
    My recent post Atheist Group Settles Landmark Discrimination Case

    1. Unfortunately, we see this same thinking in, say, the Atheism+ nonsense, especially that recent post you had about Harriet Hall's t-shirt, where apologists came out supporting SurlyAmy's immature reaction to the whole thing. It's really sad that people cannot be expected to be responsible for their own thoughts and actions and if they make enough of a fuss, cry enough alligator tears, they can con other people into supporting them too.

  2. I´ve been acussed of being "cold" or "mean" in many ocasions because i prefer a logical outlook of life. I'm by no means an intellectual, a MENSA member or a scholar of any kind. But, I like to think that I try not to be a willing know-nothing going about my life. My motto is "go to bed at night being at least a pinch less ignorant of the world, and everything in it, that you were at morning time" But I digress…

    This charges of coldness and meanness are almost always in the context on some debate or argument over religion and faith. People seems to be convinced that those two things are exempt of critical questioning just because they hold them so dearly. Well, guess what, that is their problem. If they are too weak or too sensitive to watch their believes being destroy by logic and evidence, what are those persons doing in a debate? I have a few concepts myself – like some movies, music, literature, philosophical ideas, etc – that are certainly dear to me because I believe those expressions of human intellect reflect my particular points of view, my way of thinking – and also feeling – about the world and – therefore – I see a reflection of me in them. In a way, those things make me feel trascendental. However, I'm also rational about them and their potential worth to others. And I'm completely aware that they are dear to ME. That doesn't mean they are dear in the same degree to everybody. Or even to anybody. Do that upsets me? Of course not. Why? Because I apply logic and reason to my life and can make perfect sense (well, almost perfect sense) of my emotions, why my affections lie where they lie and most important, to which degree I can hold to them without being irrational about it. At the end of the day that means, quite simply, not being delusional about my feelings, about the things dear to me and being honest enough – and humble enough – to be open to change. That is something religious people are incapable or – more probable – unwilling to do. Yet again, that is not – nor should be – my problem.

    1. Oh, I agree. I'm not a mean person by nature, but a lot of theists and accomodationists seem to think that if I ever suggest that something that someone believes is wrong, that makes me heartless. Yet, I actually care about reality. If my telling you that you believe nonsense offends you, too bad. I am dedicated to understanding the world around us in realistic terms and if your beliefs do not reflect those realistic terms, I am going to correct you and I am going to debate you and I am going to take your beliefs apart bit by bit and if they are factually incorrect, I am going to prove that to be the case. The idea that I'm a bad person because of it is absurd, but it's apparently how a lot of people think.

      1. I get similar reactions from people. "Cold", is the main one. But I guess that comes with being a skeptic. I don't countenance stupidity from anyone, even my colleagues at work. I'm not necessarily "mean" to others, I hopefully adjust their thinking, bring them back on track. I hate wasting time on speculation of what might be and bring it back to "this is what we know".

          1. Some feel that if you disagree with what was based on an expression of feelings that you are somehow invalidating their feelings. I do understand where they are coming from because it can indeed feel that way. And yet strong feelings are often not the best indicator of what is true.
            My recent post Hurt Feelings on the Internet

          2. In fact, strong feelings are *RARELY* a good indicator of what is true and the stronger the feelings, the more they often get in the way of rational thought.

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