Sociopaths

#1
Ok I'll admit I'm in a very mysanthropic time of my life, but still, humankind is NOT a great specie. Not compared to what it could be. I might be a sociopath magnet because I look naive, but to me it seems that every man who approaches me just want something from me and will lie and manipulate to get what they need, which makes it very difficult for me to find any interest in trying to develop a relationship with anyone. My exasperation does not extend to everyone, for example I like my family, my (very few) friends, a couple of my co-workers and at least half of the people who posts here (though I wonder what you would do if power was given to you). I feel like there's at most 20% of the human population who is benevolent. I try to keep only those people around. But it still leaves us with 80% of malevolent human beings and they are everywhere. Thank god I live in a country where there is about 4 person per km2. It still sounds too many though.

I don't know if I should try to change my view over the world or if this is just how things are.

Good morning by the way.
 
#2
Your post reminds me of a line of thinking I often had, and still often do, about an old co-worker.

I worked with guy for a long time, and by the end of my tenure there, I struggled to see him as anything other than an asshole. I watched him as he started as a cook and slowly worked his way up to become a manager. As I saw him, he put himself first in basically all situations. He would kiss the boss's ass and throw anyone under the bus when it helped him. When working kitchen positions, he would make sure his job got done correctly with total disregard of the people in vicinity. Imagine someone whose job it is to sweep a driveway one day and puts the sand on the lawn, and then mows the lawn the next day and dumps it on the driveway. And then when given the chance, he'd point out the mistakes of others especially if took attention away from his own mistakes. And he'd make these awful, extremely politically incorrect, sexist and racist jokes about other people who worked there, which I just saw as more evidence of this character trait of pushing other people down in order to push himself up. I found it deplorable and seeing it filled me up with so much bitterness that made working there not worth it anymore.

I try to then look at things, at him, from a perspective other than my own. I like to think people aren't just shitty, and this always was a good exercise in my eyes. I look at his intentions, and think on the one hand that he was a single dad, and knew he was much nicer to his son than most people in the kitchen. I would think about how I wasn't the best person to work with myself, and that stemmed from having to be at a place where I didn't want to be a lot of the time but had to be. Maybe it's just that I'm part of the 80% malevolent, but I'd like to think I'm not, at least not all the time or to everyone. A lot of his actions, when I looked closely at them, I could at least understand as maybe being more than just those of an asshole but something more complicated and grey area than that. I don't think it justifies things, like saying things like "Maybe she looks that way because she was accidentally sand blasted in the face as a child", but that understanding that it comes from somewhere other than being born a pure bred shitbag gives me some hope.

I even think of a friend I have who similarly says very non-pc things from time to time, and while I don't like it when he makes them either I have a much easier time tolerating and forgiving them. I know my friend has a good heart even though he doesn't always think or talk in a way that perfectly aligns with how I do.

Even through all this though, I still can't help but see the guy as an asshole most of the time. I don't know how feelings should factor into a conversation like this, but I know it colors my view of things. Maybe those feelings are manifested from insecurity or vanity or some other vice within myself, but the bitterness is quick to return. And there are other people in this world who have left the same taste in my mouth.

After saying that, when I personally ask myself if I should accept the world as it is or try to change my world view, my gut always screams at me to change my view. Everything in me tells me my life would be more worth living if I was able to see the world and everyone in it as good, or at least with a benefit of the doubt and a belief that if I knew all the details I would at least understand. But my reasoning, and my experience in some cases, tells me in doing that it leaves me vulnerable if in fact the world isn't that way, and a lot of people are just shitty. I'm trying to find an avenue that satisfies both of those things, which is tough because they don't fit together very well. But right now that's how I've been trying to take thing.
 
#3
There are so many more nasty and selfish human beings than there are decent and compassionate ones.
This caused me to come to my own personal conclusion as to why this is so.

I believe that the human beings are supposed to be nasty and selfish, and that the very few (I believe it's truly only about 10%) that are decent and compassionate, are actually the ones that are abnormal.

That is the only possible explanation (for me) that can explain why the majority of the human species are sociopaths/psychopaths. And it also explains why it is that the sociopath/psychopath humans, are the humans that ultimately succeed in this world - @ school, workplace, wealth, power.

Sadly you have to be a human being that is OK with stepping on and using every other human being, in order for you to be successful in society.

There was a movie with Will Smith in - can't remember the name - but in it his line to another actor was...... "In this world there are 2 kinds of people; Hammers and Nails. You have to choose which one you are going to be. I chose to be a hammer and have been one ever since"

I don't agree with that script saying it is a choice, I believe you are either born with a "hammer" personality, or a "nail" personality.

So Pacific_Loner, I think that is just the way things are, and you are certainly not the only "nail" human who has no desire at all, to be around any "hammer" humans. :)
 

LoyalXenite

Well-known member
#4
There are so many more nasty and selfish human beings than there are decent and compassionate ones.
This caused me to come to my own personal conclusion as to why this is so.

I believe that the human beings are supposed to be nasty and selfish, and that the very few (I believe it's truly only about 10%) that are decent and compassionate, are actually the ones that are abnormal.

That is the only possible explanation (for me) that can explain why the majority of the human species are sociopaths/psychopaths. And it also explains why it is that the sociopath/psychopath humans, are the humans that ultimately succeed in this world - @ school, workplace, wealth, power.

Sadly you have to be a human being that is OK with stepping on and using every other human being, in order for you to be successful in society.

There was a movie with Will Smith in - can't remember the name - but in it his line to another actor was...... "In this world there are 2 kinds of people; Hammers and Nails. You have to choose which one you are going to be. I chose to be a hammer and have been one ever since"

I don't agree with that script saying it is a choice, I believe you are either born with a "hammer" personality, or a "nail" personality.

So Pacific_Loner, I think that is just the way things are, and you are certainly not the only "nail" human who has no desire at all, to be around any "hammer" humans. :)

I'd say it comes down to a primitive instinct to have your tribe survive. Resource guarding, territorial, all those types of survival behaviors are essentially instinctual but very selfish behaviors. Humans like to pretend we're so far removed from our primitive states, but really we're still little more than neanderthals with apps imo

I'd definitely also a nail wanting a life without hammers
 
#5
I'd say it comes down to a primitive instinct to have your tribe survive. Resource guarding, territorial, all those types of survival behaviors are essentially instinctual but very selfish behaviors. Humans like to pretend we're so far removed from our primitive states, but really we're still little more than neanderthals with apps imo

I'd definitely also a nail wanting a life without hammers
Exactly. (y)


Lol @ "neanderthals with apps" :D
 

Miserum

Well-known member
#6
Ok I'll admit I'm in a very mysanthropic time of my life, but still, humankind is NOT a great specie. Not compared to what it could be. I might be a sociopath magnet because I look naive, but to me it seems that every man who approaches me just want something from me and will lie and manipulate to get what they need, which makes it very difficult for me to find any interest in trying to develop a relationship with anyone. My exasperation does not extend to everyone, for example I like my family, my (very few) friends, a couple of my co-workers and at least half of the people who posts here (though I wonder what you would do if power was given to you). I feel like there's at most 20% of the human population who is benevolent. I try to keep only those people around. But it still leaves us with 80% of malevolent human beings and they are everywhere. Thank god I live in a country where there is about 4 person per km2. It still sounds too many though.

I don't know if I should try to change my view over the world or if this is just how things are.

Good morning by the way.
There's another a line of thinking that goes like this: if 80% of human beings were really that malevolent, would human society function? It seems that humans are actually built to cooperate. Without cooperation, everyone would be in a constant state of warfare; nothing would get done; civilization would cease to exist. It may be that there are only a few outlying sociopaths. Devil's advocacy here, but something worth considering.
 

LoyalXenite

Well-known member
#7
There's another a line of thinking that goes like this: if 80% of human beings were really that malevolent, would human society function? It seems that humans are actually built to cooperate. Without cooperation, everyone would be in a constant state of warfare; nothing would get done; civilization would cease to exist. It may be that there are only a few outlying sociopaths. Devil's advocacy here, but something worth considering.
But they only cooperate within their own groups, and even then they love to break off into factions. There always has to be someone to hate, an other or a them to pin blame onto. Humans, in a general sense, are only built to cooperate within their little cliques.

And frankly does human society function? look at the crime rates, the abuse, the starving, the homeless, those sorts of things seem to indicate that human society functions poorly at best and not at all at worst. Are we not in a constant state of warfare or bordering on the cusp of warfare? between terrorism and threats of nuclear war and the constant us vs them mentality the governments try to cram down our throats we seem to be on the edge of warfare masquerading as peace. (Obviously not even including the countries openly at war and going through all sorts of hell with this post, mainly talking about the western and "at peace" societies)
 
#8
I see I'm not the only one feeling that way.

I even think of a friend I have who similarly says very non-pc things from time to time, and while I don't like it when he makes them either I have a much easier time tolerating and forgiving them. I know my friend has a good heart even though he doesn't always think or talk in a way that perfectly aligns with how I do.

Even through all this though, I still can't help but see the guy as an asshole most of the time. I don't know how feelings should factor into a conversation like this, but I know it colors my view of things. Maybe those feelings are manifested from insecurity or vanity or some other vice within myself, but the bitterness is quick to return. And there are other people in this world who have left the same taste in my mouth.

After saying that, when I personally ask myself if I should accept the world as it is or try to change my world view, my gut always screams at me to change my view. Everything in me tells me my life would be more worth living if I was able to see the world and everyone in it as good, or at least with a benefit of the doubt and a belief that if I knew all the details I would at least understand. But my reasoning, and my experience in some cases, tells me in doing that it leaves me vulnerable if in fact the world isn't that way, and a lot of people are just shitty. I'm trying to find an avenue that satisfies both of those things, which is tough because they don't fit together very well. But right now that's how I've been trying to take thing.
Well, about your friend who has very non-pc views, I think there is as much opinions as there is shades and colors in this world and that would be very naive of each of us to think that our personal opinion is the right one. So I don't care that much if such or such person believe that their race is superior to another one, for example. What I care about is what they are doing with that idea. An idea is an idea, I don't care what people think. But if the idea is followed with hate, disrespect, violence, etc, now it's about what you think you're entitled to do with your ideas in order to make the world the way you want it to be no matter who you hurt in the process.

I know that people have there own circumstances. If we use it as an excuse to step over each other and stab everyone in the back on our way to the top, well, ok, but let's not pretend we're more than a part of the animal realm.

Sadly you have to be a human being that is OK with stepping on and using every other human being, in order for you to be successful in society.

There was a movie with Will Smith in - can't remember the name - but in it his line to another actor was...... "In this world there are 2 kinds of people; Hammers and Nails. You have to choose which one you are going to be. I chose to be a hammer and have been one ever since"

I don't agree with that script saying it is a choice, I believe you are either born with a "hammer" personality, or a "nail" personality.

So Pacific_Loner, I think that is just the way things are, and you are certainly not the only "nail" human who has no desire at all, to be around any "hammer" humans. :)
OR you can be a very sharp nail sticking out of the floor. This way you have no use for hammering anyone but good luck to anyone trying to step on you.

I'd say it comes down to a primitive instinct to have your tribe survive. Resource guarding, territorial, all those types of survival behaviors are essentially instinctual but very selfish behaviors. Humans like to pretend we're so far removed from our primitive states, but really we're still little more than neanderthals with apps imo

I'd definitely also a nail wanting a life without hammers
Exactly my point. But I find it very disappointing, given all the beautiful things we are able to create in the imaginary repertoire.
 
#11
I know that people have there own circumstances. If we use it as an excuse to step over each other and stab everyone in the back on our way to the top, well, ok, but let's not pretend we're more than a part of the animal realm.
After reading back what I and thinking it over for a while, and feel like in my post and at times when I think like that I am using circumstance or intention as a justification for bad behavior, which I don't think it right. I might not be keeping myself honest and trying to justify it in others so I can justify it in myself and forgive myself when I probably shouldn't. Regardless, I don't think I was right.

I want to contribute a better point afterwards, but I keep deleting it because I can't seem to articulate it properly. My main purpose was to acknowledge the error in my thinking which I did above. I just had to write something down here because the post felt incomplete and it bothered me greatly.
 
#12
After reading back what I and thinking it over for a while, and feel like in my post and at times when I think like that I am using circumstance or intention as a justification for bad behavior, which I don't think it right. I might not be keeping myself honest and trying to justify it in others so I can justify it in myself and forgive myself when I probably shouldn't. Regardless, I don't think I was right.

I want to contribute a better point afterwards, but I keep deleting it because I can't seem to articulate it properly. My main purpose was to acknowledge the error in my thinking which I did above. I just had to write something down here because the post felt incomplete and it bothered me greatly.
Your posts are always interesting and insightful vj so don't keep yourself from posting because someone disagree with you or because you're unsure about your words. Disagreement can make a conversation take an interesting new path that it wouldn't have taken otherwise, and so does incomplete ideas.
 
#13
Your posts are always interesting and insightful vj so don't keep yourself from posting because someone disagree with you or because you're unsure about your words. Disagreement can make a conversation take an interesting new path that it wouldn't have taken otherwise, and so does incomplete ideas.
Thanks Loner, and I won't. It's not disagreement that bothers me, I like a good argument and thinks it helps strengthen an idea if its a good one or point out its error if its a bad one. I am bothered when I make a blatant oversight in a thought process, but understand I'm not perfect and feel the best thing to do is point it out, I often try to argue myself out of mistakes which I don't like to do.

I also have a habit of falling into the trap of feeling just because I have a thought its worth sharing. Uncertain and incomplete ideas are fine with me, but thoughtlessness bothers me a bit on my part. I'm talking a little more in general now and a little more so about myself IRL, but it is something that I try to keep on my mind.

A point I wanted to make in this thread was largely about uncertainty which is something difficult to describe. That comes with me seeing things as somewhat layered as well, which I often confuse myself just thinking about. I think on one level there's the real world, day-to day level of things, and then a more intangible but still somewhat observable if not understandable level, and then there's the things on the metaphysical level where at best things are a guess, unless people know more than I do which I wouldn't discount.

I think on that real world level, things like benevolence or malevolence don't really come in to play much at all. I think that level is very Hobbesian with our actions reflecting a desire to survive and serve our own interests. I think for some people their best interest includes the feeling they get when other people are happy. I think for some people it doesn't. And on this level while we can agree the acceptability of actions, either officially through laws or unofficially through social taboos or the good deeds segment on the nightly news, I don't feel they have much to do with goodness. Murder is generally done with malevolence, but that's not why its illegal. It's because its beneficial to everyone not to have to worry about getting murdered. And I think this level is the easiest to look at objectively, as it is more defined collectively than individually. I think people can be valued on this level and it would be silly to ignore the collective opinion, but personally I don't take much stock in it.

I look to that next level where people's ideas and intentions stem from. This is where things tend to get complicated for me though, since I don't think we can ever really know this for anyone other than ourselves. (Most of us) can't mind read or feel directly the emotions of others, and as a result when it comes to knowing what's in the hearts and minds of others we have to trust them and trust our judgement which is biased by our only direct source which is ourselves. To put it extremely, someone may feel the same way murdering people that I do when I run down and return a person's wallet who dropped it on the street. If that were the case, I think it makes things very complicated. It's why I tend to believe that perspective is everything. Being more certain of things on this level, and feeling one is able to judge character more easily than I think possible would change things of course, but I struggle to see things that way. So basically, I think on the first level we can identify and avoid/prevent people from acting crappy, but on the second level its very difficult to conclude with any certainty the goodness of the intent.

The final level I I tend to avoid thinking about since it tends to put me into an existential crisis. On this level I image this is where the feelings and intentions or the desires from the previous two levels come from. There's the biological idea that we are just slaves to our genes or that we inherit our behaviors, or theological views that argue for predestination and reject the concept of free will completely and assume all we do has already been laid out. Or behaviorist with Tabula Rasa's who think we're all born blank slates and everything about us is completely dictated by the environment around us. Things feel particularly arbitrary on this level to me. I hardly feel justified and concluding someone is an asshole if in reality it has nothing to do with them but something out of their hands completely. The are possible explanations on this level I feel I couldn't even fathom though, or I hope I guess, which is why I try to not think to much about it if I can help it.


I also didn't know how relevant this actually was to your thread, you might be talking about something completely not related to this. If it's completely off topic you can ignore it :p
 
#14
Thanks Loner, and I won't. It's not disagreement that bothers me, I like a good argument and thinks it helps strengthen an idea if its a good one or point out its error if its a bad one. I am bothered when I make a blatant oversight in a thought process, but understand I'm not perfect and feel the best thing to do is point it out, I often try to argue myself out of mistakes which I don't like to do.

I also have a habit of falling into the trap of feeling just because I have a thought its worth sharing. Uncertain and incomplete ideas are fine with me, but thoughtlessness bothers me a bit on my part. I'm talking a little more in general now and a little more so about myself IRL, but it is something that I try to keep on my mind.

A point I wanted to make in this thread was largely about uncertainty which is something difficult to describe. That comes with me seeing things as somewhat layered as well, which I often confuse myself just thinking about. I think on one level there's the real world, day-to day level of things, and then a more intangible but still somewhat observable if not understandable level, and then there's the things on the metaphysical level where at best things are a guess, unless people know more than I do which I wouldn't discount.

I think on that real world level, things like benevolence or malevolence don't really come in to play much at all. I think that level is very Hobbesian with our actions reflecting a desire to survive and serve our own interests. I think for some people their best interest includes the feeling they get when other people are happy. I think for some people it doesn't. And on this level while we can agree the acceptability of actions, either officially through laws or unofficially through social taboos or the good deeds segment on the nightly news, I don't feel they have much to do with goodness. Murder is generally done with malevolence, but that's not why its illegal. It's because its beneficial to everyone not to have to worry about getting murdered. And I think this level is the easiest to look at objectively, as it is more defined collectively than individually. I think people can be valued on this level and it would be silly to ignore the collective opinion, but personally I don't take much stock in it.

I look to that next level where people's ideas and intentions stem from. This is where things tend to get complicated for me though, since I don't think we can ever really know this for anyone other than ourselves. (Most of us) can't mind read or feel directly the emotions of others, and as a result when it comes to knowing what's in the hearts and minds of others we have to trust them and trust our judgement which is biased by our only direct source which is ourselves. To put it extremely, someone may feel the same way murdering people that I do when I run down and return a person's wallet who dropped it on the street. If that were the case, I think it makes things very complicated. It's why I tend to believe that perspective is everything. Being more certain of things on this level, and feeling one is able to judge character more easily than I think possible would change things of course, but I struggle to see things that way. So basically, I think on the first level we can identify and avoid/prevent people from acting crappy, but on the second level its very difficult to conclude with any certainty the goodness of the intent.

The final level I I tend to avoid thinking about since it tends to put me into an existential crisis. On this level I image this is where the feelings and intentions or the desires from the previous two levels come from. There's the biological idea that we are just slaves to our genes or that we inherit our behaviors, or theological views that argue for predestination and reject the concept of free will completely and assume all we do has already been laid out. Or behaviorist with Tabula Rasa's who think we're all born blank slates and everything about us is completely dictated by the environment around us. Things feel particularly arbitrary on this level to me. I hardly feel justified and concluding someone is an asshole if in reality it has nothing to do with them but something out of their hands completely. The are possible explanations on this level I feel I couldn't even fathom though, or I hope I guess, which is why I try to not think to much about it if I can help it.


I also didn't know how relevant this actually was to your thread, you might be talking about something completely not related to this. If it's completely off topic you can ignore it :p
After reading all of your post, vj, I feel incredibly stupid!! :eek:

You should definitely publish some of your writing work.(y)

I envy your thought processes, vj!
My mind does not have the necessary experience to think in more than a 2 dimensional outlook.

@Pacific_Loner , I also agree with your good point that "Disagreement can make a conversation take an interesting new path that it wouldn't have taken otherwise, and so does incomplete ideas" (y)
 
#15
Thanks Loner, and I won't. It's not disagreement that bothers me, I like a good argument and thinks it helps strengthen an idea if its a good one or point out its error if its a bad one. I am bothered when I make a blatant oversight in a thought process, but understand I'm not perfect and feel the best thing to do is point it out, I often try to argue myself out of mistakes which I don't like to do.

I also have a habit of falling into the trap of feeling just because I have a thought its worth sharing. Uncertain and incomplete ideas are fine with me, but thoughtlessness bothers me a bit on my part. I'm talking a little more in general now and a little more so about myself IRL, but it is something that I try to keep on my mind.

A point I wanted to make in this thread was largely about uncertainty which is something difficult to describe. That comes with me seeing things as somewhat layered as well, which I often confuse myself just thinking about. I think on one level there's the real world, day-to day level of things, and then a more intangible but still somewhat observable if not understandable level, and then there's the things on the metaphysical level where at best things are a guess, unless people know more than I do which I wouldn't discount.
You've reach the limits of my english capacities a couple of times in that post so I had to read it more that once. I think I get what you mean when you say it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking your thoughts are worth sharing. I think I fall into the opposite trap though. I usually delete what I write because I figure if I thought about it, surely someone else did before me, and probably wrote it better. It's not very practical when you're trying to be a writer.

I think on that real world level, things like benevolence or malevolence don't really come in to play much at all. I think that level is very Hobbesian with our actions reflecting a desire to survive and serve our own interests. I think for some people their best interest includes the feeling they get when other people are happy. I think for some people it doesn't. And on this level while we can agree the acceptability of actions, either officially through laws or unofficially through social taboos or the good deeds segment on the nightly news, I don't feel they have much to do with goodness. Murder is generally done with malevolence, but that's not why its illegal. It's because its beneficial to everyone not to have to worry about getting murdered. And I think this level is the easiest to look at objectively, as it is more defined collectively than individually. I think people can be valued on this level and it would be silly to ignore the collective opinion, but personally I don't take much stock in it.

I look to that next level where people's ideas and intentions stem from. This is where things tend to get complicated for me though, since I don't think we can ever really know this for anyone other than ourselves. (Most of us) can't mind read or feel directly the emotions of others, and as a result when it comes to knowing what's in the hearts and minds of others we have to trust them and trust our judgement which is biased by our only direct source which is ourselves. To put it extremely, someone may feel the same way murdering people that I do when I run down and return a person's wallet who dropped it on the street. If that were the case, I think it makes things very complicated. It's why I tend to believe that perspective is everything. Being more certain of things on this level, and feeling one is able to judge character more easily than I think possible would change things of course, but I struggle to see things that way. So basically, I think on the first level we can identify and avoid/prevent people from acting crappy, but on the second level its very difficult to conclude with any certainty the goodness of the intent.

The final level I I tend to avoid thinking about since it tends to put me into an existential crisis. On this level I image this is where the feelings and intentions or the desires from the previous two levels come from. There's the biological idea that we are just slaves to our genes or that we inherit our behaviors, or theological views that argue for predestination and reject the concept of free will completely and assume all we do has already been laid out. Or behaviorist with Tabula Rasa's who think we're all born blank slates and everything about us is completely dictated by the environment around us. Things feel particularly arbitrary on this level to me. I hardly feel justified and concluding someone is an asshole if in reality it has nothing to do with them but something out of their hands completely. The are possible explanations on this level I feel I couldn't even fathom though, or I hope I guess, which is why I try to not think to much about it if I can help it.
Interesting point. I agree it's all a matter of perspective. I used to reflect a lot about things like why and how do we know that stealing and killing is bad, is it because religion said so etc. But it's simply because we know it hurts people isn't it? I mean yes laws have been put in place so that there is a punishment if you do something malevolent, because without laws, a large number of people will steal, rape and kill if they think they can get away with it. Because knowing that they are doing harm to someone is not enough.

From a perspective point of view, I have no doubt that different people feel joy for different things, some may feel as happy when they beat someone to death as someone else would when they help an old person cross the street. As you say, in the end we're only acting according to what makes us feel good, whatever this is.

But that just exacerbate my mysanthropy.

About the third level, I refuse to believe that. I believe too strongly that life can go in all sorts of directions. It does when you start making random, unusual choices. Some things are of course dictated by the environment, but I'd say at least 50% depends on choices. This specific number comes from nowhere, but you know what I mean. If I decide tomorrow that free will doesn't exist and my life and the person I am will be exactly the same no matter what I do, so I'll just sit on my couch and drink vodka, I'm pretty sure it's going to change the course of things.

I also didn't know how relevant this actually was to your thread, you might be talking about something completely not related to this. If it's completely off topic you can ignore it :p
I don't think that was off topic. In fact I find it very relevant to what I was trying to say.
 
#16
Interesting point. I agree it's all a matter of perspective. I used to reflect a lot about things like why and how do we know that stealing and killing is bad, is it because religion said so etc. But it's simply because we know it hurts people isn't it? I mean yes laws have been put in place so that there is a punishment if you do something malevolent, because without laws, a large number of people will steal, rape and kill if they think they can get away with it. Because knowing that they are doing harm to someone is not enough.

From a perspective point of view, I have no doubt that different people feel joy for different things, some may feel as happy when they beat someone to death as someone else would when they help an old person cross the street. As you say, in the end we're only acting according to what makes us feel good, whatever this is.

But that just exacerbate my mysanthropy.

About the third level, I refuse to believe that. I believe too strongly that life can go in all sorts of directions. It does when you start making random, unusual choices. Some things are of course dictated by the environment, but I'd say at least 50% depends on choices. This specific number comes from nowhere, but you know what I mean. If I decide tomorrow that free will doesn't exist and my life and the person I am will be exactly the same no matter what I do, so I'll just sit on my couch and drink vodka, I'm pretty sure it's going to change the course of things.
Good points, I think for some things we may just see things differently. As to your point about things being bad simply because it hurts people, I feel its too consequentialist, which is a school of thought that focuses on the outcomes more than the reasoning behind them. The anecdote that puts me off of that way of thinking is this: Imagine a man has a wife dying of cancer, and decides to put a drug in her food everyday. Three months later, the woman goes to the hospital and she's cured! The drugs her Husband put in her food saved her life and discovered a cure for cancer, he's a hero. The man smiles and accepts his accolades, although the real reason he was putting drugs in her food was to kill her. He was tired of having to take car of his dying wife, and wanted to move on with his life, so he intended to kill her slowly with drugs.

In a situation like that, I think most people agree he was doing a bad thing, and that's how I feel. But if you look at how things turned out and assume no one finds out what his true intentions were, no one is hurt and everyone involved is better for it. The world is better for it. So I use that example to sort of say that I think there is more to good and bad than outcome. That's why I see it as so complicated. In part it's because I don't think we can ever know what anyone is truly feeling or thinking, or what is going in inside their head or heart. And even if we could know that, I still think there is some uncertainty about what should matter and what shouldn't, which trickles down from the third level for me.

Before I jump into that, I think I can understand how we can look at the same thing and I find solace and you find misanthropy. When we both look at that guy who murders and deep down he's feeling like he's doing a good thing and making the world a better place, and not resulting in bad things, I can understand how that would make you dislike mankind more. If people feel good or feel right doing things that hurt others, I can definitely understand how a species that includes people who have to decide between doing something they think is good or right (murder) and doing things that won't result in the pain of others (not murder) is not the type of species you'd like to be around. Where I get solace out of this, or at least see an opportunity to see things different does largely come from the unknown of my third level.

With your example about the couch and the vodka, I think I understand and agree. What I think you're saying is if you decide to sit all day and drink vodka, it will change the course of your life as opposed to you deciding not to drink vodka all day. Maybe you'll eat a whole pizza, drunk dial your ex, break your favorite glass, and wake up late the next morning with a pounding headache. And all those things would happen because you drank all day as opposed to didn't. I would agree. I would also look at that more through my first, "Real world" level of things. Any cause an effect I think. At the third level, I am wondering why you decided to drink all day. And I don't mean the thought process you used to make the decision, but where that thought process came from.

I am questioning how much *we* actually have to do with any thought or feeling we have. To take one of the examples I sort of threw in there, the idea of the tabula rasa and that we are born as blank slates. To take it to the extreme, its the idea that we are all born exactly the same in regards to our thoughts and feelings, and we are basically coded throughout life by our environment. When I think of things through that scope, I don't feel you deciding to drink vodka all day is actually a decision you made - it's a decision that results from a series of a trillion different things that had occurred up until that point. *You* had as much to do with deciding to drink as a robot does in deciding what restaurant to suggest for date night. And just like I wouldn't blame the robot for giving me a bad suggestion (I would blame the people who created the robot or the people who created the algorithm used), I would have a hard time holding you accountable for deciding to drink. That's where my feeling of everything being arbitrary and maybe nothing really matters stems from.

I do want to say I'm not just completely rejecting the idea of free will on this level though, but I am putting a big question mark in response to the question. I was up late last night thinking about this, and perhaps somehow we all created ourselves somehow. Like from non-existence we made ourselves exist. It's not a very fleshed out thought, but if that were the case perhaps there are things about ourselves that are meaningful because they are from ourselves. But something like that is impossible to prove, which is what the big picture of this level is to me. If we dig deep enough, where our thoughts or feelings or desires or anything about us comes from becomes a question mark. And with so much uncertainty as to why we are what we are or do what we do on a fundamental level, it leaves open the opportunity for a lot of discretion on our parts.

I used to hold the belief that all people were good except me. My logic was that our feelings came from a different place and as long as we did what are feelings told us was right, we were doing right. I would think of someone like Hitler and think that although on those first two levels he's a monster, and justifiably so, but on that third level I could convince myself that deep down he genuinely felt his actions were right and for the betterment of the world. In my mind, those feelings had to come from somewhere and that that place meant something. As I got older and saw my feelings conflict and at times be wrong, I decided to reject that idea. I don't know if that makes any more sense than what I said before, hopefully it does.
 

Xervello

Well-known member
#17
Ok I'll admit I'm in a very mysanthropic time of my life, but still, humankind is NOT a great specie. Not compared to what it could be. I might be a sociopath magnet because I look naive, but to me it seems that every man who approaches me just want something from me and will lie and manipulate to get what they need, which makes it very difficult for me to find any interest in trying to develop a relationship with anyone. My exasperation does not extend to everyone, for example I like my family, my (very few) friends, a couple of my co-workers and at least half of the people who posts here (though I wonder what you would do if power was given to you). I feel like there's at most 20% of the human population who is benevolent. I try to keep only those people around. But it still leaves us with 80% of malevolent human beings and they are everywhere. Thank god I live in a country where there is about 4 person per km2. It still sounds too many though.

I don't know if I should try to change my view over the world or if this is just how things are.

Good morning by the way.
I feel where you're coming from about people. Here's the thing though, personally I've been cursed with an innate optimism. Having grown up in not the best circumstances, once a series of unfortunate things starts happening, one either rages to the point of taking it out on others or throwing up their hands and laughing at the absurdity they've been dealt. Fortunately I'm a laugher. My point being that while a lot of people are selfish and it may be hard to sniff out their motives, it's important (imo) to be hopeful but cautious. Expecting everyone to be a bleep may be more accurate than expecting them to be kind or altruistic, but it also puts one in this negative space where it's all dark and no light. Trust your gut and rely on your defenses, but don't give up on all people just because most are bad. Otherwise nothing will ever change. I know change is scary and a person's current state of normalcy feels safe and content, but I doubt it's one's ideal. Life can be a crappy concept without the hope it may get better.

To elaborate on your worldview, I agree that humankind can be ugly. One needs but watch the news. But there are others who go out and rescue abused animals, people who travel to the border to help immigrant kids, do-gooders that go out and clean up riverbanks in their free time. I like to focus on them. I don't think most people are bad. I think most people are selfish and lack self-awareness. Too eager to satisfy their needs at the expense of another, too busy to acknowledge people and too caught up in their drama to care about another's. Which makes those that are unselfish, self-aware and not too busy to acknowledge someone's pain or loneliness all the more valuable and special. I'd advise a spoonful of optimism. Not gonna say it's done me a world of good. But it helps.
 
#18
Good points, I think for some things we may just see things differently. As to your point about things being bad simply because it hurts people, I feel its too consequentialist, which is a school of thought that focuses on the outcomes more than the reasoning behind them. The anecdote that puts me off of that way of thinking is this: Imagine a man has a wife dying of cancer, and decides to put a drug in her food everyday. Three months later, the woman goes to the hospital and she's cured! The drugs her Husband put in her food saved her life and discovered a cure for cancer, he's a hero. The man smiles and accepts his accolades, although the real reason he was putting drugs in her food was to kill her. He was tired of having to take car of his dying wife, and wanted to move on with his life, so he intended to kill her slowly with drugs.

In a situation like that, I think most people agree he was doing a bad thing, and that's how I feel. But if you look at how things turned out and assume no one finds out what his true intentions were, no one is hurt and everyone involved is better for it. The world is better for it. So I use that example to sort of say that I think there is more to good and bad than outcome. That's why I see it as so complicated. In part it's because I don't think we can ever know what anyone is truly feeling or thinking, or what is going in inside their head or heart. And even if we could know that, I still think there is some uncertainty about what should matter and what shouldn't, which trickles down from the third level for me.
Well what I meant is that the intention is threatening to another human being's well being. In your example, the outcome is life saving, but the intention was threatening. That's why you know you cannot trust this person. Their good deed was a mistake. He's not a hero, he's lucky (or unlucky, because now he's still stuck with his wife). But of course he's going to accept the accolades, because it's in his own interest to do so. If it was the other way around and this man killed his wife while trying to save her, the intention was good, but the outcome was bad. I don't think someone like this is bad in their heart, but they are reckless, or clumsy, and that lead to someone being hurt and this person is probably shattered by the fact that they are responsible for causing pain. Or their wife's death. Now You also have the situation where someone kills their loved one because they are suffering too much (mixed with exhaustion and their own pain). That's another debate.

With your example about the couch and the vodka, I think I understand and agree. What I think you're saying is if you decide to sit all day and drink vodka, it will change the course of your life as opposed to you deciding not to drink vodka all day. Maybe you'll eat a whole pizza, drunk dial your ex, break your favorite glass, and wake up late the next morning with a pounding headache. And all those things would happen because you drank all day as opposed to didn't. I would agree. I would also look at that more through my first, "Real world" level of things. Any cause an effect I think. At the third level, I am wondering why you decided to drink all day. And I don't mean the thought process you used to make the decision, but where that thought process came from.

I am questioning how much *we* actually have to do with any thought or feeling we have. To take one of the examples I sort of threw in there, the idea of the tabula rasa and that we are born as blank slates. To take it to the extreme, its the idea that we are all born exactly the same in regards to our thoughts and feelings, and we are basically coded throughout life by our environment. When I think of things through that scope, I don't feel you deciding to drink vodka all day is actually a decision you made - it's a decision that results from a series of a trillion different things that had occurred up until that point. *You* had as much to do with deciding to drink as a robot does in deciding what restaurant to suggest for date night. And just like I wouldn't blame the robot for giving me a bad suggestion (I would blame the people who created the robot or the people who created the algorithm used), I would have a hard time holding you accountable for deciding to drink. That's where my feeling of everything being arbitrary and maybe nothing really matters stems from.

I do want to say I'm not just completely rejecting the idea of free will on this level though, but I am putting a big question mark in response to the question. I was up late last night thinking about this, and perhaps somehow we all created ourselves somehow. Like from non-existence we made ourselves exist. It's not a very fleshed out thought, but if that were the case perhaps there are things about ourselves that are meaningful because they are from ourselves. But something like that is impossible to prove, which is what the big picture of this level is to me. If we dig deep enough, where our thoughts or feelings or desires or anything about us comes from becomes a question mark. And with so much uncertainty as to why we are what we are or do what we do on a fundamental level, it leaves open the opportunity for a lot of discretion on our parts.
Why I have a lot of trouble believing that I'm not responsible for my decisions (which in itself is a sketchy assumption to make for obvious reasons), is that I made too many random decisions in my life, and I change my mind aaaaall the time, and I don't see how the universe could have any control over this.

There's also the fact that this question gives me headaches.

I used to hold the belief that all people were good except me. My logic was that our feelings came from a different place and as long as we did what are feelings told us was right, we were doing right. I would think of someone like Hitler and think that although on those first two levels he's a monster, and justifiably so, but on that third level I could convince myself that deep down he genuinely felt his actions were right and for the betterment of the world. In my mind, those feelings had to come from somewhere and that that place meant something. As I got older and saw my feelings conflict and at times be wrong, I decided to reject that idea. I don't know if that makes any more sense than what I said before, hopefully it does.
I don't believe Hitler was a monster. He was probably convinced until the end that he was doing this for the greater good, I'm sure a lot of people came to that conclusion. But it's very easy to make yourself believe that you're fighting for the greater good when you are in fact serving nothing else than your own interests.
 

LoyalXenite

Well-known member
#19
I don't believe Hitler was a monster. He was probably convinced until the end that he was doing this for the greater good, I'm sure a lot of people came to that conclusion. But it's very easy to make yourself believe that you're fighting for the greater good when you are in fact serving nothing else than your own interests.
Its like a quote that I read someone long ago, Im probably poorly paraphrasing it right now but it went something like "no one is the villain in their own story". I've always wondered how many people that the rest of society classes as evil actually feel like they are evil
 
#20
Well what I meant is that the intention is threatening to another human being's well being. In your example, the outcome is life saving, but the intention was threatening. That's why you know you cannot trust this person. Their good deed was a mistake. He's not a hero, he's lucky (or unlucky, because now he's still stuck with his wife). But of course he's going to accept the accolades, because it's in his own interest to do so. If it was the other way around and this man killed his wife while trying to save her, the intention was good, but the outcome was bad. I don't think someone like this is bad in their heart, but they are reckless, or clumsy, and that lead to someone being hurt and this person is probably shattered by the fact that they are responsible for causing pain. Or their wife's death. Now You also have the situation where someone kills their loved one because they are suffering too much (mixed with exhaustion and their own pain). That's another debate.
I sort of thought that was what you meant when I read your post and was going to use a different example, but that anecdote was at the forefront of my mind so I decided to share that. I think when I try to pinpoint right and wrong, intent to threaten or harm other people's well-being is definitely one that makes most sense to me. I think at the end you identified one of the biggest issues with that train of thinking though, with some things not being as clear cut like if someone is suffering. A common argument against is similar to this - is it ok for a doctor to kill one person who came into his office with a cold in order to harvest their organs and save people who will die otherwise? Like you said though, that's a whole other debate. I know there are lots of smart arguments that have thought about and sorted it out. Even with a clearly defined moral philosophy, my biggest complication is in the uncertainty. Thinking about this reminded me of a webcomic that demonstrated what I feel fairly well.



There's also the practical sense of not ever really being able to know a person's intentions I think. But the idea that there are things that are as unfathomable to us as the idea of human morality is to an atom, it makes me open to the idea that things are less direct and more complicated than they appear.

Why I have a lot of trouble believing that I'm not responsible for my decisions (which in itself is a sketchy assumption to make for obvious reasons), is that I made too many random decisions in my life, and I change my mind aaaaall the time, and I don't see how the universe could have any control over this.

There's also the fact that this question gives me headaches.
I apply the takeaway from the webcomic even more here, but when it comes to living my life I see things the same way as you. It gives me headaches too, which is why I created the multiple levels for myself. While I believe the random decisions we make could actually be a puppet master pulling our strings or a million other things, I live as if they're not. I at most take into consideration that there is this ceiling that I can't see or understand, but don't mold my life around it. Just to use another analogy, I like to watch pro sports on tv and while I recognize it may all be fixed and have predetermined winners I choose to believe that it isn't because I enjoy it more that way.

I don't believe Hitler was a monster. He was probably convinced until the end that he was doing this for the greater good, I'm sure a lot of people came to that conclusion. But it's very easy to make yourself believe that you're fighting for the greater good when you are in fact serving nothing else than your own interests.
I've brought up the Hitler argument to people in the past, but that is probably the first thoughtful response to it which I appreciate. People usually just write off anything I say after suggesting anything that would rival the notion that Hitler is anything other than the incarnation of evil or deeply deranged and mentally unstable. Although reading it back I'm not quite sure what I was getting at in the larger scheme of my post. I generally see things in a similar way as you, and also Loyal. On that theoretical level though where things don't matter much in the practical sense, not only does it seem possible that our actions may be out of our control, but also that any code of right and wrong may also be correct, or all of them or none of them. Basically anything is possible on that level is what I should have said at the start. Which is probably incredibly boring :p It's the closet where I stuff all my extreme and radical skepticism. It's not something I can completely ignore though.
 
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