I wrote this in 2001. How weird that I was talking about Dynamic Intelligence even then!
The Philosophy of Consolation
This document aims to enlighten the reader with the knowledge of egotistical self help. There are a lot of books, essays and tomes about how one can help one’s self, especially if you consider yourself to have a “problem” with some of your attitudes.
If others think you are selfish, insensitive, inconsiderate or just “not nice” to your fellow man, then this simple philosophy should help you to shrug off those nagging doubters.
You’re not alone. There are other people who think like you.
Once, whilst working in a hospital, I was talking with a colleague about the intricacies of nature. We had just noticed a rather unfortunate person who had lost a leg. My colleague said she considered herself “lucky” as she had the full use of all her limbs.
I questioned her reasoning behind her statement. Why would she consider herself lucky?
She continued: I just thank my lucky stars that I’m not disabled in any way. I don’t think I could cope. I’m just glad I’m lucky enough to have everything in tact.
I thought for a second and asked her again why it was this way. Why was she “lucky”? She said: well, it could quite easily have been different. I could have been born with a brain disorder.
So I questioned her logic. Did she not agree that she was as nature intended? Then shouldn’t she concede that it would be more appropriate to say that those infirmed were “unlucky” as they are not as nature intended?
And so my point went, but she didn’t grasp it.
Why would I consider myself lucky for being as nature intended? This can be mistaken for insensitivity toward the predicament of those “less fortunate” than me, but I would neither feel guilt nor sympathy for someone in a wheelchair. I don’t know their situation and couldn’t possibly empathise so I choose to accept them for who they are, not how they are.
And I choose to consider myself as nature intended, not lucky.
The same principal can be applied to a disaster situation. For example: the twin towers of the world trade centre. When they came crashing down, people were crying and saying how terrible it was and how they feel pity for the loved ones of those who died.
When my wife told me she could understand their grief and wanted to know why I wasn’t moved to tears, I first questioned her about her feelings: why are you sad? She said it was because of the loss of life. Such a major loss of life and an unnecessary one.
I asked how can she empathise with their loss and she equated it to the time her father died. She knows what it is like to lose someone you love and therefore can appreciate and empathise with the grief of the people in Manhattan.
I asked her if it made her feel sad remembering what it was like to lose her father and she said yes. By the same token I told her I didn’t feel the loss of anyone close to me so I didn’t empathise with their situation. And I view death differently from her, which she didn’t take into account.
So, when I questioned if she really felt sad because she was remembering how she felt when her dad died and not that she was sad people had died 3000 miles away, she was confused.
I explained that she wasn’t sad for the 2800 people who are now dead but were living only 20 minutes ago. She was sad because it brought up memories of her father dying and those thoughts were painful to her. She was upset because her dad is dead. She is not sad because 2800 people are dead as that does not directly affect her. Her dad dying directly affects her.
My point was thus: those people’s dying in 2 buildings does not directly affect me therefore I don’t feel any loss or sadness. I don’t even think it is “a shame” that they died. It is a direct result of actions taken by forces we (and every government) are aware of so, depending upon your political bent, it could even be surmised as “inevitable”.
People die. It only affects me when someone close to me dies.
And sometimes they don’t even have to die. I can empathise with loss if it involves the breakdown of a relationship and losing the one you love.
Surely the issue here isn’t how many people have died, but who has left you and how closely did they influence your life?
Driving Miss Crazy
When people crash on the motorway due to bad driving or basically a fault with their concentration and they kill themselves, it is simply nature’s way of culling those not fit to drive. Provided they kill only themselves, the theory holds up.
You can drive for 30 minutes on the motorway and not encounter a problem, but as soon as you enter a construction zone, the traffic stops, the car overheats and people become irritable.
Then, after queuing for a further 45 minutes to creep along ½ mile of road, you see the problem was a Nissan Micra who had run out of petrol and didn’t think to coast across to the hard shoulder. Unfortunately the Micra was flattened by a 40 tonne lorry who couldn’t stop because he was doing 90 miles per hour and was trying to make up for sleeping late this morning.
Consequently the car was flattened and the driver killed, but if that driver had thought about his journey and taken the time to fill up with petrol, he would have avoided both problems and would still be alive today. THIS IS DYNAMIC INTELLIGENCE!
Nature is culling stupid people too.
Is it wrong to wish at least 10 people dead on the road to work every morning? I travel an hour each way and you can guarantee I will get behind some moron who shouldn’t be allowed on the planet, never mind behind the wheel of a car. They go slowly. They don’t indicate. They don’t think. They’re on the phone. They miss the turning. They are looking away when they should be breaking. Old people: you’d think those closer to death’s door would want to get from place to place quicker than the youngsters in order to spend less time travelling and more time enjoying themselves. But NO!!! They go even slower.
How do some people make it through the day? I’m surprised they don’t die because no-one is there to tell them to breathe in and out…
What makes them get up in the morning? Or is it simply a question of “they don’t know they are stupid. They have no frame of reference and are therefore blissful in their ignorance.”? (Dunning-Kruger Effect)
What, you are going to ask, gives me the right to decide what stupidity actually is and who is afflicted by it?
Aren’t we all stupid to someone else?
This isn’t about me. This is about general stupidity.
I’d say a lack of common sense but if sense were common, we’d all have it.
What good is someone like the blonde Jade from Big Brother? She is too stupid to serve any purpose in society, so why tolerate her inferiority? Why not just get rid of her?
You and I know she would be a burden to society if she wasn’t on television as she’d be too stupid to secure a position in any company and we would be simply paying her rent to the local council.
Our money paying her rent and her way through life just because she lacks the grey matter to work it out for herself.
Why do we, as a society tolerate this?
Why have something so pathetic and incapable able to breed and produce children who were obviously fathered by someone stupid enough to have sex with this woman and create a child from the very shallow end of the gene pool?
After my intolerant rant above, I ask: why should I be more tolerant? That means I have to compromise on my own personal standards to accommodate those whom I deem to be less than capable, competent and so on.
So if I feel that taking into account a person’s thoughts whom I deem to be one of the above is less than tolerant, why should I care?
If people irritate me or do something stupid (as above) which bothers me, should I forgive them?
Or should I simply ignore them and pretend they don’t exist? Wouldn’t it be easier for me to ignore them? Wouldn’t they prefer to be ignored as they probably don’t see themselves in a position to be forgiven!
Wouldn’t it save us both the effort of that person irritating me, leading to my acknowledgement of this fact which would then lead to us both being embarrassment due to their initial stupidity?
It would be far easier for me to just ignore them, pretend they don’t exist and at the same time save them from having to lose face in front of a stranger. Or worse: a colleague!