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Monsters and assholes

Just a weird, contemplative rant.

It's funny how, when a topic is raised with me by one person, a few others are quick to bring it up too. Several people recently talked with me about this, and I want to just get my view on the matter out there now.

Let me just be brutal about this. One of my key tenets of writing, and just of going through life in general, is that everyone has a story, and a little understanding goes a long way to making the world a better place.
However, some people take some notions of subjectivism well beyond reason and into the realm of pseudo-enlightened, pseudo-intellectual fairyland.

The thing that bothers me is when people say "there are no assholes, bad-guys or monsters in this world" or, less irritatingly, "nobody thinks of themselves as such."

I would like to unequivocally contradict those people out there. There are assholes, monsters, bad-guys and worse in this world, and some of them are quite aware of their asshole status, but don't give a fuck what you think.

Pop-culture has even made it "cool." "Asshole" has been conflated with "bad-ass", with the implicit notion that the niceties of culture - basic manners, consideration, kindness - are foolish, weak, counter-productive and/or some kind of inhibition against being a bad-ass (because you never meet polite SF operators, no). You can't be competent, effective and strong if you're lugging around the useless luggage of compassion or professional courtesy!

The examples are extremely numerous, from John McClane (who acted like such a dick at times it was counterproductive) to that monstrous golem from Gears of War, Marcus Fenix. I'm sorry, but it's true: being a cunt is utterly idolized at times.

On the net, the problem is even worse. Most trolls, such as those inspired by the antics on 4Chan, think that being an asshole is great fun, and the worse they are, the more respect they feel they command. Assholes, and general negativity, is fostered by many internet communities. Not to say that these arrogant "the fuck you gonna do about it?" cunts don't exist in real life, I'm just saying there's a difference between suffering an asshole on the street and knowing that his anti-social behavior would be applauded by douchebags on the internet.

Frankly, I don't think I need to belabor this one too much. There are assholes who, if they don't consider themselves as utter assholes and not care (there are some), at least are shameless about engaging in asshole-ish behavior. They don't give a fuck, they don't care about you or what you think of them.

I'm not trying to paint a gloomy picture of the world or humanity. Most people are not assholes, and as a general rule it's good to remember that some people have justification for what they do. Putting yourself in their shoes is a good thought exercise, and they should do it too. But make no mistake, there are people out there who outright do not care about how their actions hurt others - there are selfish, narcissistic cunts out there, I'm sorry.

Ultimately, yes, nobody thinks of themselves as "an asshole." But these people don't think of themselves as good people either. Because they don't care, or their selfish/aggressive/whatever behavior has been encouraged. They don't have to call themselves that and act to deliberately achieve some sort of "asshole quotient". I don't understand the logic behind saying that, from that fact, there are no bad people who don't act unjustifiably cruel or inconsiderately towards others.

As a friend of mine likes to say: a person who abuses their partner or child doesn't have it all pre-planned. They don't have a schedule, or a desire to be achieve the status of "child beater". They don't say they'll put the car in for a wash at 4pm, get home by 5pm, have their dinner then spend from 7-8 beating their daughter with a pipe. So, by that definition, they're not an asshole... uh?
But because they see nothing wrong with hurting another, because they don't think about it, don't care about it, or at least make no effort to stop themselves doing it for whatever reason, they are. That's an asshole, they exist by the fucking thousands.

Not everyone has that empathy or consideration that these ultra-relativists think everyone has.

"Monsters" or "evil" people quite sadly also exist. Consider those involved in the smuggling of persons, of rape, or of pointless torture and killing. The typical belief is that they "must justify it to themselves" or otherwise secretly hate what they do. This belief is frankly naive.

There's another way to deal with doing something horrible: not caring about it. To some, it comes naturally, and those people are monsters. What they do does not bother them; those people exist. The deliberate harm or neglect of your fellow man is categorically evil. Unless you're killing a person to prevent a nuclear explosion from killing six thousand, but, funnily enough, most of the time that's not the situation. Of course, this is ignoring the existence of someone who outright enjoys hurting others, and they exist too. Just because they won't gleefully clap their hands and call themselves evil doesn't mean that they are not.

OK, now, mostly this is just philosophy. In my writing, which sparks these discussions more often than not, I try to mostly present some characters as assholes, but then show a hitherto unmentioned background that explains or justifies their actions, or at least shows them as human (despite them ironically being non-humans). A major belief of mine, with story writing and character conception, is that everyone has a story of some kind. They rarely are two-dimensional, or just plain assholes. They have a reason for what they do and how they act. So I understand where these people are coming from very, very well, possibly better than they do due to my own experiences.

But I also do mix in a few complete monsters from time to time, because those fuckers DO exist. Sociopaths or others who, conditionally or consistently, do not give a fuck about others are going to be either assholes or monsters, depending on just how far they're willing/able to push their inconsiderate behavior. I don't care whether they call themselves that, or if they deliberately try to be evil. That's not relevant. Most them simply don't give a fuck, and it's that that makes them scum. They exist. Thankfully, they're quite rare.

On a side note, a few examples from my own stories.
Darron, Wayle (from Tai's Story), the lynx guard, Adam and even Nick* (from Astray) are not intended to be complete monsters or inconsiderate assholes. Regardless of how I initially portray them.
Marco, as well as several others involved in the criminal syndicate (from TS) and Nick's mother (Astray) are.

Because you can't kidnap someone for sex or worse, or punch a little kid in the face, and tell me you're not a monstrous asshole. Not without me nostril-fucking you with a shotgun.

Oh, before I shut up. What inspired me to write this at last? Reading an article on Bikers Against Child Abuse. The club was started because of an 8 year old boy who was being harassed by his abuser(s), who would leave him notes, overtly watch and threaten him, and generally just tried to keep him perpetually terrified.
There is ZERO justification, ZERO humanity even, in doing something like that to an eight-year-old, and this is after abusing him for months. Whether it's due to insanity, sociopathy, or deliberate cruelty, that's an example of a monstrous asshole.

Incidentally, this isn't a call for flames or arguments. I know at least one person will think this journal is a "reply" to them or something. It isn't. I'm not having a go at anyone, I'm just putting out my beliefs on the matter because it's an interesting topic. Relativism, when pushed to its extremes and particularly when it has been used as an excuse, has annoyed the fuck out of me for years, and I consider it the mark of a pseudo-intellectual that lives in a world of gumdrops and candy (or no true responsibility/consideration to their fellow man).

Hey, Star Trek? Take your prime directive and fucking choke on it...

* - What? Nick is an asshole at times.
Viewed: 76 times
Added: 6 years, 9 months ago
6 years, 9 months ago
One additional thing would be people who act monstrous without being monstrous (that is, habitually). The so-called "banality of evil" and all that.

Even though there are complete sociopaths and most people are good people, there seem to be certain triggers that can cause otherwise nice people to turn into raving lunatics or utter assholes.
6 years, 9 months ago
Liiiike religion? *ducks*

The problem with "banality of evil" is that I don't feel it excuses anybody to kill someone from an armchair instead of with a gun. Also, there are other problems with the concept too.

One simply must accommodate the possibility than someone did something bad because they did not care about the people they were hurting, and feel no reason to be remorseful for what they did. Some may even rejoice in their attitude or actions. *shrugs*
6 years, 9 months ago
sometimes you have to be a "monster" and a "asshole" to protect those you love. Depends on how far the path you are willing to go.... I think I went off topic..

but yah being mean to that 8 year old is verrrrry bad :3

*plays his game* >.>;;
6 years, 9 months ago
Being an asshole or monster to protect those you love inherently contradicts the asshole or monster status. =D

A key factor in defining a monster is that their actions don't have reason - or if you want to get fancy, good reason. To be a monster, you have to go so far beyond what anyone could conceivably relate to as to basically be a beast... or, you guessed it, a monster.

If some bastard breaks into my house and threatens my mother? I have good reason to rip his arms off and flay him alive with his fingernails. I'd be crossing into monster territory if I then, without provocation or cause, went on to do the same thing to his children.

Edit: To clarify the first thing I said, it's not actions that are evil. It's the reason for them. By a great big stretch, raping and murdering a child isn't inherently evil if you can supply a pretty damn good reason for it. In that example, I challenge you to think of one, but the point stands.
6 years, 9 months ago
" aldreyachan wrote:
Being an asshole or monster to protect those you love inherently contradicts the asshole or monster status. =D

(This quote prompted this rant, but it's in response to most everything on the subject)

I beg to differ on this. There are plenty of monsters out there who are being monsters for a seemingly good cause. What it comes down to is when people feel the ends justify the means. If someone killed over 10,000 black jewish orphans, but cries over every single one and comes up with a cure for AIDS because of it, does it truly make him any less of a monster?

Explain Hiroshima? The bomb was used to stop a war, and effectively it did. Probably saved thousands upon millions of lives. In effect, it killed hundreds of thousands in an instant and hundreds of thousands more over years and years, left millions homeless and without family, living destitute lives, destroyed priceless history, and left a nation is such utter shambles financially, as well as their honor and integrity.

The people who designed the bomb were the type to pursue science in the name of science, to see the benefits that we take advantage of today. The people who ordered the bomb created wanted peace with our neighbors.Those who delivered the bombs wanted to show their honor and duty to their country. Which one of them would you call a monster?

I say all of them, because every single one of them knew well in advanced exactly how wide-spread and massive the destruction they would leave on *unsuspecting peoples!* Whether or not their intended targets were military installations, they did intend to release absolute destruction on an enormous part of a population. If their intended targets were military and they happened to hit civilians instead, it doesn't relieve them of their irrevocable decisions.

Monsters are you and me in a time when we think we are doing what is best. We convince ourselves that our principals are sound. We tell one-another that our actions are justifiable and ethical. Tell a homeless child that you took the life of their only parent because it was for the good of a nation. To that child, who is now starving on the streets and sometimes having to sell their body for shelter because they no longer have a parent to protect them, you will always be a monster for putting them in such a position.

This does bring in the idea of Banality of Evil. As per the article quoted earlier: "people follow ideology, not just orders". Patriotism is ideology. Religion is an ideology. Science and Philosophies are ideologies in their own manners. If it's a way of life a single person or many people follow, it's an ideology. If there is a single grievance and agreed upon cause of ill-fortune, and also it is agreed that such cause must be removed, that's an ideology.

Does it make the individual solely responsible for their actions when they choose to follow an ideology that mimics their own fears and insecurities? I don't think so, but it still doesn't remove the responsibility of that individuals actions. Is a single nation exempt of the atrocities it applied to other nations because one person or one small group of people pulled the wool over their eyes? I feel it does explain why they would take the actions they take, but it doesn't suddenly make the nation any less evil.

I feel the biggest problem is that people separate the logical and understandable reasons from an act of evil, and vice-versa. If the actions are evil and the reasons are good, the people committing the act are still monsters. Same in opposition. If there was a good act created but the reasons themselves completely threaded with evil intent, then the people in the picture are still monsters.

A good action with good intent is, I feel, the only time a person can truly claim to be good.
6 years, 9 months ago
Well actually, I don't know what I was thinking with that optimistic bullshit I dribbled last night (I was drunk and using the Good personality, go figure), but now that I've woken up refreshed things are a lot clearer.

Morality is actually very clear cut - what helps you is good to you and bad to whoever it harms (if anyone). The imaginary construct called human society and law has muddied it a bit (i.e. the police pursuing you for matters that don't affect them, and therefore are none of their business), but this truth remains.

And before you argue that society is about helping each other, I must remind you there's no "no claims bonus" waiting for you on your deathbed. Live life how you want, mercilessly erase those who would interfere (and interfere in the lives of others at your discretion, if you logically deem it beneficial).

So, really, it's society and law that are evil for forcing compromise (a life of compromise is an unfulfilled one) onto people.

(To actually directly address what you said: imagine if some sick bastard had me in a position where I had to kill some random child, or he would kill me instead. I have zero tolerance for anyone claiming my decision to save my own life is "wrong." By definition it's right, since the core truth of good vs evil is self-survival vs self-destruction.

Besides, people who criticize me for not "being selfless" (since when did that become an obligation rather than a heroic trait?), they forget it wasn't their life on the line, so the discussion is pure theory for them. Kinda like non-gays trying to pretend they have a valid basis for their opposition to gay marriage.)
6 years, 9 months ago
I'll write something later. I just spent 45 minutes writing out a well thought out response with various ethical theories and suddenly, while editing, I accidentally "undo" my entire post.
6 years, 9 months ago
Fuck! I could've saved it, but the first thing I did upon getting back to my computer was hit F5 on this page. Sorry. >_>

On that note, I'm still trying to find time to reply to your comments/PM. They're utter gems, thank you so much. Sorry for the delay. :S
6 years, 9 months ago
lol, no worries. I essentially wrote an entire essay, so I kinda don't blame ya for taking time. Didn't mean for it to turn out that long but it just kinda did @.@
6 years, 9 months ago
In all honesty, I really don't think morality is clear cut. In fact, I know of many other ethical theorists who make it their livelihood to think about morality and ethics and how it applies to modern scenarios who would very much beg to differ on how morality is clear-cut.

Taking your own example, in the event that an adult were to be given a choice of saving their own life at the expense of a child or sacrificing their life for the sake of the child, logic dictates that saving the child and sacrificing the adult would be more moral. The child has much less experience than the adult but has the ability to learn from adults and take their own experiences to become even wiser than those they learned from once they grow to be of such age. You get more from a child (theoretically) than you would an adult.

However, that is putting value on two static entities. Let us remove some of that static. Lets say that the adult has the schematics for a machine in their head that will fully resolve all the worlds energy problems while the child is clinically retarded. Who has more value at such a time? The child will, for arguments sake, amount to nothing special in this world and very likely be a burden on someone else. The adult has the potential to create world peace. (hyperbole for the sake of comparison). According to Utilitarianism, what is truly moral is what brings about the greatest happiness. It would be very clear to allow the child to die if one were to follow Utilitarianism.

But what about Kantianism? In Kants theory what is moral is absolute honesty, the "golden rule" more or less, and to always act in your duty to others and yourself. Based on this criteria, what would be moral would be to let the adult die and the child live. Reason being is that the elders have a duty to protect the youth. If the elders never protected the youth then the youth will not grow, will not learn, will not further humanity in general and eventually become protectors themselves. Therefore it is the adults duty to protect the youth and therefore in this scenario the adult will die for the child to fulfill morality.

Then there is the theory of Virtue Ethics, a more matriarchal approach to morality. One could argue based on the virtues of temperance and justice that the child must be protected at all costs even at the cost of the adults life. However, based on the virtues of wisdom and prudence that it would be better to allow a child to die so the adult could better the world.

There are many different moral and ethical theories that have been argued time and time again based around just such subjects as we have been discussing. Now, I would like to point out that your stance thus far as been more in line with ethical egoism, which has had so many holes poked in its logic and rationale that it's not really viewed as a strong theory (despite how it's the same theory most corporations nowadays practice ad nauseum).

I don't know exactly where my morality would lie. I do feel that an adult should sacrifice oneself for the child but that's due to the fact that I take a step back and look at the big picture. Humanity has survived long before perpetual energy and long before energy was a necessity in the first place. We will continue to survive without. Even with perpetual energy, the human animal is generally greedy out of instinctual necessity and therefore will cause even different problems to make up for the problems lost. Further, who are we to say that the world actually needs perpetual energy? As well the child has a chance to better the world in a different way, perhaps a better way, perhaps the same way but with better knowledge of the consequences.

So, based on these differing conclusions based on differing logic, I feel it naive to say that morality is simple when it is anything but. In the end, no how we choose we are all monsters when faced with a moral gray and making a choice.
6 years, 9 months ago
I was about to reply on this note, but you pointed it out yourself, so I'll just draw attention to it instead.

I don't know exactly where my morality would lie. I do feel that an adult should sacrifice oneself for the child but that's due to the fact that I take a step back and look at the big picture.

That's the thing - the big picture is a third person perspective. One death to save a million is objectively and logically justified from the third person viewpoint, and from the perspective of one of those million. Doesn't mean that one person who loses everything is gonna happily accept it, and frankly, they shouldn't be expected to. Logic only comes into it from the third person (where one death vs a million saved is a matter of x > y), otherwise it's relative and personal to each party.

Don't get me wrong, someone who willingly gives up their own life to save that of another deserves respect. But at the same time, I will not stand by quietly if the situation was reversed and then someone who had zero involvement in the scenario full stop has the nerve to call the person "evil." Self-survival is the basest good there is, and it was a part of human nature long before we decided to invent culture and arbitrary rules.
6 years, 9 months ago
Although this just came to mind - if we played by your rules, I'm a monster by simply continuing to live. =D
All I do is annoy people, drag down the intelligence of those in close proximity to me (which might explain why some of my... less honest friends think I'm smart, or really anything positive), and generally pollute the world with the profanity of existence.

Granted I'm happy to pay nature back for giving me exactly zero natural talent or ability to develop it, but still.
6 years, 8 months ago
Food for thought, just thought you might enjoy it (or be bored to death by it)


Pay attention to 19:33, rather important to know that you are about to jump down a rabbit whole by pursuing the study of ethics, lol
6 years, 9 months ago
It is rather unfortunate that some people can be actively malicious, but alas, it's true. It's also an objectively measurable thing, as is the case with mental problems and deficiencies in such areas as empathy and guilt.

Having said that, sociopathy isn't inherently violent, it just makes a good premise.
6 years, 9 months ago
Amen...  I wasted a fuckton of braincells attempting to place myself into the shoes of a collection of dicks i had to deal with for years, and i never really found what clarified their asshole behavior other than just enjoying seeing others fail. Like, if being a troll was a way to break people out of their land of lolipops and gumdrops and bring them into reality (as was once imagined by someone, i don't even know...), these people would be even worse than that. They don't even give enough of a shit to see someone grow into a more responsible human being.

If anything, the only lessons they teach are  "Anti-social is the only way!"
6 years, 9 months ago
What they're saying is basically, that there are no bad people unless they intentionally plan to be bad? That is probably the most stupid thing I've heard in a very long time. Contradicting those statements is really easy; simply ask the victims! You'd think any sane person would agree that they are the one who have the right to judge the people who bullied them, beat them, robbed them, abused them or killed their loved ones.

To sum it up, yes, there are bad people. An awful lot of them. And somehow, the worse they are, the nicer, cleanlier and holier they make themselves out to be. Which stupid, stupid people tend to believe in, including themselves. But that doesn't excuse their behaviour, does it? Ignorance may be bliss, but it's not a get-out-of-jail card. With a tiny, teensy bit of thinking anyone should agree that just because the arseholes think it's right to beat kids up, it isn't. They're arseholes, no matter what they themselves think.

Also, it's funny that you should mention both the zeitgeist equation of bad people = cool guys, and Star Trek, because there is a perfect example of what pop culture does to make arseholes the new heroes of the day. Why else would the remake feature a Kirk who is an arrogant, selfish and totally annoying prick, a Uhura who has turned into rapper-style Attitude Girl, and a Spock who is nothing but a whining bitch? Those are the characteristics we are supposed to admire these days.

Sorry for ranting in your journal, but idiocy just winds me up. :P
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