Which of the following statements best surmises your approach to the world?
(a.) When contemplating the appropriacy of my behaviour it is my a priori assumption that I am right and I then search for justification of the rectitude of my position.
(b.) When contemplating the appropriacy of my behaviour I look at things rationally and objectively, examining my actions and those of others before impartially weighing them and attempting to reach a conclusion.
(c.) When contemplating the appropriacy of my behaviour it is my a priori assumption that I am wrong and I then search for justification of the rectitude of the other person's position.
It occurs to me that my approach tends to swing wildly depending on whom I'm talking to. If I am talking to someone with a less forceful personality than mine I'll be a "Type A" person. This was evidenced on Friday when in a moment of staggering bluntness I told someone that I had found them boring on first meeting them. This is not a nice thing to say. Okay, it's marginally better than saying "Wow! You're a fat, ugly, malodorous, alcoholic disgrace to humanity," or "Guess what I did last night! I'll give you a hint, it involves the words YOUR, VAGINA, MOTHER'S and FISTED." Nevertheless it's not only the hyper-sensitive who'd be upset by such an accusation. In the cold light of retrospect I can see that I was wrong and should not have said it, or at least should have apologised my tits off having said it. I didn't however as I was relatively confident that the person in question needed my friendship more than I needed theirs. Had this not been the case then perhaps I'd have behaved with more grace - but if I've learnt anything then it's that power seldom breeds grace.
I can also be a snivelling coward apologising for things I haven't done. There are times when in order to avoid a fight I know I'm not going to win I'll simply back down even though it is retina-searingly obvious that I am completely and totally right in every imaginable regard. And why do I do this? I do this because I can't bring myself to risk having a fight with someone I care about. It's ridiculous really. I don't know what I think I'm going to lose. If I had an argument with someone where I politely and sweetly explained my point of view then they'd be something of a 24-carat evil-ton if they then abused me. It's not this though. I don't want to lose those who are dear to me. It's an insecurity. If there's another thing that I've learnt then it's that insecurity is seldom attractive or worthwhile.
So resolution for the day: be less insecure and be less arrogant.
Let's see how that works out.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
So, I'm speaking to someone and the subject of politics comes up and they, in the misguided belief that they're being iconoclastically cynical, say "Oh, that's the thing with politicians, they're all the fucking same, aren't they?" I am a loving and gentle soul who would like to see the various peoples of the world holding hands in amity, singing in harmony and dry humping rainbows in unity, nevertheless, in a moment of fury, I say "Really? So Idi Amin, the former dictator of Uganda and Ed Vazey, Minister For Culture, Media and Sport are essentially identical in your book, are they?"
There is a point here. Firstly this conversation never actually happened and I need to be more accurate in distinguishing between Real Things Which Actually Happened and Clever Things I Wish I Had Said. Secondly that when people say cod-cynical things like "Politicians are all the same," they are being stupid and careless to the point of harming the world where I live.
What they actually mean when they say things like this is "I don't really know very much about politics because I've always been more interested in watching The Bill, masturbating or learning to cook Moroccan food than I have in taking the time to pay attention to the big newspapers." They feel ashamed of saying this though. There's a slight, embittered part of me that thinks that they are being ridiculously sensitive, I mean, for fuck's sake, I don't know a lot about knitting and yet somehow I avoid saying "Yeah, that's the thing about cardigans, they're all the fucking same," whenever the relative merits of King Charles Brocade and Inverness Diamonds are under discussion.
This part, however, is petty and has little regard for the derivation of people's idiocies. Why is it that no one is embarrassed to be ignorant of knitting and yet there are huge swathes of people who feel belittled by their political ignorance? I think it's because they are told to feel this way. People involved in and interested in politics tend to argue that politics are important and affect all of our lives. To an extent this is true. We are all affected by politics, however, in a liberal, multi-party, centrist democracy the effect is often peripheral and people can get by ignoring politics, in much the same way as I get by ignoring my bank statements. In honesty, politics are often little more than a gossip-y diversion built into a totem of intellectual worthiness. People are made to feel small for knowing fuck all about them when it should be perfectly acceptable for someone to say "Sorry, I know fuck all about politics,the whole subject bores the tits off me."