Misanthropy Fuel

Allow me now to share my early morning aneurysm with you fine people.

Aww. It’s so cute when I pretend that I have readers like that.

My brother just brought my attention to an article on Gawker, and Christ I wish he hadn’t. No, I won’t source the article: am I writing a term paper for college here? No.

No, I am not.

Anyway, in this article, the results of a poll conducted among upper middle class people were reported. Said poll inquired how much income some of these families were bringing in, and then it asked whether or not they felt “poor”. Did you ever think someone who brings in three quarter of a million dollars a year could feel poor? WHY YES THEY CAN, ACTUALLY. “So, so poor,” actually. Allow me now to bring your attention to those little marks before the first ‘So’ and after the word ‘poor’? That means it’s a quote. That means it’s their own words.

THEIR OWN MOTHERFUCKING WORDS. THEIR. OWN. WORDS. I don’t mean to treat my readers as stupid by getting this point across with a blunt object to the head, but the idea that a person bringing in such an income could be mistaken as to their own prosperity, that a full grown and university educated adult could not know what poor actually means, that they would be so ignorant as to declare it publically…all of this requires that I relay this to you with as much clarity as possible, else it would seem like hyperbole on my part rather than on theirs. That would be the natural conclusion, wouldn’t it? Nobody could be that ignorant, right?

Ah, but one of them anticipated that us in the unwashed masses would react with a confused mix of disbelief, mirth and rage, and so they kindly broke down their monthly income for us: you see, when you take a closer look, you’ll clearly see that they’re really only making a measly $11k a month, and that after expenses against that $11k, there’s only a paltry $4k or so left as disposable income. What’s more, they referred to us naysayers as “haters”, effectively rendering their breakdown of their finances into a mathematical variant of the white trash standard: “YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!!”

See, the problem lies in the fact that their woeful inability to buy a new private island every month doesn’t exactly get at my heartstrings, being that their disposable income per month is more than double my ENTIRE income in a month. That is, on its face, blatantly, nakedly NOT poverty. It isn’t. How they feel is immaterial, this is nothing to do with emotion; there has been delineated both by formal government legislation and informal societal consensus a state known as poverty. There are qualifiers to said state, and anyone lacking those qualifiers does not live in said state. That’s it. And no, absurd senses of entitlement are not a qualifier.

It’s a classic case of rationalization: despite what they say, they don’t feel “poor”. They think they do, but they do not. So what is it? Well, it’s that they know people – a boss, a neighbor, a relative, perhaps – that make significantly more money than them, and being shallow and materialistic, they are consumed by jealousy and feelings of inferiority because those guys own twelve summer houses on four continents while they must content themselves with only having three on two. In short, they feel GREEDY, not poor. Absurd senses of entitlement are not a qualifier.

This paragraph is a late edit, as this just came to me a minute ago, but there’s also a pervasive and widespread victim mentality involved here.  Their sentiment, honestly expressed, would be:  yes, I am so cash that my blue blood has turned green, but I’d sure like some more money.  It wasn’t honestly expressed, however.  They are objectively not poor, and yet they claimed they felt this way.  Your loving author/father figure has labored in a Herculean fashion through the embolisms and broken monitors and cognitive dissonance and discovered that in this case, what they mean by “poor” is more like “poor me”.

Remember how I said how my gross monthly income is less than their net? Now, do you want to ask me if I myself feel poor? I mean, I must, right? Here, I’ll do it for you:

Hey, do you feel poor? I mean, you don’t drive a Rolls, your apartment isn’t carpeted with the soft, pliant skin of slain Union workers, and hell, I bet you never, ever have enough money to afford that new high-end champagne that’s made from the blood of Southeastern Asian slave girlboys who turned 18 and were rendered useless to their clients! It’s quite piquant. Why, if I couldn’t afford it, I’d be quite vexed. Could you imagine? Quelle embarras! Je cacher sous un rock*!

No, I don’t feel poor. That guy who rides up and down my street on a bicycle that asks me for change now and then and clearly has nowhere to lay his head? That guy’s poor. Yes. That guy’s poor, and we need to rise up and kill our upper middle classes with fucking nuclear winter Wrath of God fucking globally cataclysmic apocalype hellfire, apparently.

But really, what does this say about our society? Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems from where I’m at that a person laboring under such unfathomable ignorance and greed and selfishness is literally and objectively useless on any level deeper than the superficial. Such a person cannot be a good spouse. Such a person cannot be a good parent, citizen or friend. It’s not possible. They have absolutely no perspective on themselves as people, nor their place in society, and likewise they entirely lack an appreciation of their good fortune; it may actually be literally impossible to be more ungrateful. Everything such a person does comes from a state of thorough selfishness and delusion, and thus everything they do, everything that comes from them, is tainted from the start. What passes for their love is surely conditional and subservient to not being defied or put out by its object. The wisdom they pass onto their children is the worst, deepest, most pernicious kind of lie: the kind that comes from such blindness to reality that it’s mistaken as truth. Ultimately, a person so lacking in any kind of knowledge of themselves cannot offer anything to anyone, because they cannot know themselves at all, much less what they might have to offer.

There is, basically, no feasible way that such people can do anything but make the worlds they move in worse and worse, eventually dying and leaving nothing behind but damage that they literally are incapable of taking responsibility for. Their children will come up even worse, too. They, like their parents, will mistake “respectability” for good, greed for need, and they will forever be ungrateful for the security they take for granted and that so many others will never know in their lifetimes.

The Hindus believe that humanity is now living through the Kali Yuga, the end of their cyclical model of time, as well as its darkest point. During this Yuga, the world’s depravity and perversity grows and grows until it collapses on itself, leveling the field for the subsequent golden age that will replace it. From my understanding – which is admittedly not perfect, I am not an expert by any stretch of that word, much as these people are not poor – they meant exactly this. That’s not to say I’m vouching for the absolute truth of the existence of the Yugas, but reading shit like this does kind of make you wish it were true, if only because it would mean this idiocy is on a clock.

That’s a good point to close on: these people, at least to me, are so repugnant, so degenerated, so deeply and irretrievably wrong-headed that it actually seems like we do need some sort of apocalypse to fix it. What else could suffice? Once we as a people are this far gone, nothing’s left but to swipe all the pieces from the board in a fit of godly outrage, go back into monkey mode for a while, and start the fuck over.

And okay, I relent.  Here’s the source.

Please take note of Gawker’s use of the phrase ‘class rage’. No other response to this essay or their article is appropriate. Coming as I do from such a background that even making a quarter million a year rather than the three quarter reported above would be thoroughly life-changing down to the very core of my being, Gawker’s excellent article rendered me pretty much blind with it.

Sorry for ruining your day. Thank you for reading.

*:  A study that I and a friend of mine read a few years ago (the source of which is long lost) found that actual rich people, like reeeeeally rich people, don’t act like this.  Actual rich people, in their habits and ideas, have much more in common with the working class, and it’s only milquetoast douchebag upper middle class wannabe rich people that model their social behavior on Thurston and Eunice “Lovey” Howell.  It makes a lot of sense when you consider how essential utilitarianism is to both lifestyles.  Think about it:  while you spent three hours in the wine aisle googling wine on your iPhone to find the perfect bottle of merlot for your swank dinner party because you think somebody in a movie once said merlot is really good, Steve Jobs was building a sprawling dungeon in China in order to make as many of his employees commit suicide as possible.  Would you do that?  No, you would not, you’d fall back onto your fainting couch and opine on how terrible that is.  In fact, once your feeble, quailing heart had recovered, you’d twitter from your iPhone about how terrible it is, congenitally oblivious to irony as you are.  As you can see, there’s a lot to say on this, and it deserves its own essay eventually.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

What an interesting subject.  It could be anything!  After all, hedgehogs must have fucktons of dilemmas, not the least of which would be the fact that they’re actual hedgehogs, which must suck.  They’re tiny, kind of stupid and if a hedgehog were to fall onto its back, it would be fixed by its own quills to the very earth, and what would be a minor embarrassment for most creatures would quickly become a deadly yet broadly humorous predicament.  Or, less literally, perhaps its a Victorian take on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, where our blue hero finds himself forced to choose between social convention and true love, between what’s expected and the unexpected, between filial obligation and the obligations of the heart.  SPOILER:  like every single Victorian story ever, he will choose the latter in a highly dramatic yet obviously telegraphed “reveal”, to the consternation of his mother, sisters and that damn stodgy old Vicar.  Much corset-induced fainting and hmmphing ensues.

Seriously, you can’t respect a people who constantly wrote about flouting their own fucking values.  What’s that?  You say we do that nowadays too?  You say that humanity isn’t and can never be a homogeneous mass that subscribes to a homogeneous morality and that the flouting of the values held by the majority is perpetrated by a free-thinking artistic and creative minority and portrayed for the amusement and edification of those for whom the shackles of public judgment and condemnation weigh heaviest?  Well I don’t see how that in any material way changes what I said in the opening sentence of this paragraph, now GOOD DAY, SIR.

I know I shouldn’t write it down when I argue with myself, but I did it, it’s done and I’m not deleting it.  No, this is just some dumb old philosopher’s thingamabopper.

Imagine, if you will, a family of hedgehogs shivering in a wintery forest; I’m assuming hedgehogs live in forests, and I don’t care enough to look it up, so just roll with me on this.  It’s freezing cold, as often happens in the wintertime, and even kind of stupid hedgehogs know to huddle together for warmth.  Hedgehogs, though, are quite heavily quilled, and if they simply huddle closely, they will stab each other.  Thus, they are forced to remain somewhat apart and find an acceptable compromise between freezing to death and poking little bleeding holes in their loved ones.

The Dilemma was the idea of one Arthur Schopenhauer, a philosopher often criticized for his pessimistic ideas, making him a fellow misanthrope.  He related the above idea and posited that human social interaction works in exactly the same way:  if we are unreservedly open to the people we know, we cannot help but to hurt them, be it a minor pain or a mortal wound.  Conversely, if we withdraw completely, there will be no possibility of warmth for us, and thus to participate in society is to implicitly acknowledge that you will, regardless of your intentions, hurt people, and will in turn be hurt.  It’s interesting, because assuming it’s true, then from certain perspectives it follows that it’s actually unethical to even interact with another human being.  Of course, generalizations tend to not be true to some extent or another, and even if this one was absolutely true, any reasonable person would have to reject the notion that saying hello to somebody makes you an awful person.

Philosophers aren’t always reasonable, though; much the same sort of logic is used to argue in favor of another of Schopenhauer’s ideas, antinatalism, which is pretty much what it sounds like.  David Benatar, for example, argues that to give birth to a person is to indirectly do harm to that person, and thus procreation is immoral, backing his long lost sister Pat’s insistence that love is indeed a battlefield.  Still, if you stuck a gun to his head and offered to undo the great wrong that his mother and father committed against him, I’d be almost certain that he’d decline your kind altruism.  It’s the kind of argument that makes sense semantically, but instantly becomes nonsensical when made tangible in the real world.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma is different, in my opinion; for such a simple metaphor, it’s very apt.  It does seem incomplete, though:  hedgehogs quills protrude down and back from the head, and with some care and attention to angles, they are perfectly capable of huddling as close as they like as their quills nestle flat and harmlessly against their loved ones.  It is heedlessness that creates the dilemma in the first place, not mere proximity, and it’s as true for hedgehogs as it is for humans.  Closeness only equals pain when one is reckless, and I certainly wouldn’t agree if Schopenhauer meant to imply that to show some care is to establish any kind of distance.  Not even a little.  Contrarily, apathy and recklessness become more and more likely the farther away one is from another, emotionally and socially speaking.  Certainly one is vulnerable to someone close, but there isn’t necessarily pain.  It isn’t even necessarily likely.

And so I present The Compleat Hedgehog’s Dilemma by bluinthisligget.  Take that, you dead German bastard!

No, I’m kidding.  His book The World As Will and Representation actually sounds awesome.  I also got some German in me on my mother’s side, so I’m allowed to say that.  Comments/opinions from my readers would be most welcome.

This used to say Hello World right here

I had to change it, because I’m not a programmer.  I don’t have near enough autism for it, sadly.  There is, however, one thing, one basic fundamental bond, one precious bit of common ground between programmers and I:  we both type shit.  The sticking point is comprehensibility.  They do it for machines, I do it for people.  I did try to learn to do it their way once, but I didn’t even get past Logic Design.  Tasteless jokes about mental disorders aside, my brain seriously does not work that way, and it’s hard not to respect people who can do things that I can’t do.  English appeals to me because it’s so malleable; there are a hundred ways to say the same thing, and it’s beautiful.  The rules bend as well.  Those are the only good kind of rules; they should all do that.

Quiet disquiets me, too much noise makes me cringe, and good music of whatever sort is just right.  Spirituality fascinates me just as much as science, politics dismays and saddens me and I generally like individuals but despise people.  Random fact:  literally every possible blog title containing the word misanthropy or one of its permutations is taken here on WordPress.  Please take the word of a random person on the internet that I tried them all.  It took a reeeeeeally long time.  It is my humble hope that my research ultimately benefits not only WordPress, but all of humanity.

Right now I’m hot (but I’m always hot ifyaknowwhatimean), tired from work and spending way too much time writing this.  In everyday life I walk as much as I can instead of drive, am in love, and if you were to do something for me, I would say thank you much – kinda like Elvis, but without the adverbiage – and entreat you to have a good one.

Take these informative yet obtuse facts here and derive from them what you will.  I also really like the word obtuse.  Really, really like it.  Hopefully subsequent writings appearing here interest you, although if I’m being completely honest, I would be baffled as to why they would.

Obtuse obtuse obtuse obtuse obtuse obtuse obtuse obtuse obtuse.