How to find out if you are not a bastard

If it seems to you that there are only bastards around you, it is possible that you are a bastard

This is what you probably didn’t do today in the morning: you didn’t look in the mirror to ask yourself, “am I not a bastard?” [ Eng. jerk - bastard, "brute", "goat" scum / approx. trans. ]

The question seems reasonable. There are probably real scum in the world. And many of them probably have a rather high opinion of themselves, or at least their opinion of themselves is within the average. They do not consider themselves as bastards, because it is difficult for them to achieve such self-awareness.

Psychologist Saymin Wazir of the University of California, Davis, argues that we value our own qualities well if their score is neutral (that is, they are not particularly outstanding and not particularly bad), and they can be directly observed.

For example, people usually realize their talkativeness. In principle, talkativeness is not very strongly condemned, as is the tendency toward silent behavior - and in any case, your degree of talkativeness is visible to everyone. Self-esteem of the level of talkativeness is usually well correlated with other people's assessments and objective measurements. Creativity, on the other hand, is a much more evaluative trait - who wouldn't want to consider himself a creative person? - and much worse measurable. And, in confirmation of the Wazir model, there is no correlation between self-esteem, the assessment of specialists and the attempts of psychologists to objectively measure creative abilities.

The question “am I really a bastard with bloated self-righteousness?” Is overloaded with an estimate, so you will have a strong motivation to achieve the desired answer: “No, of course not!” Besides, it’s not so easy to evaluate a bastard character, so you will easily interpret evidence in his favor: "Well, I probably behaved a little annoyed with this bartender, but he forgot to pour a double portion of me in a tall glass."

People who are intellectual in scientific matters are not immune to bias. On the contrary, a recent study by Dan Kahan of Yale University shows that thought-provoking and well-educated people are especially good at rationalizing their preconceived notions — for example, interpreting the complex evidence related to arms control issues so that they can predilections

I suspect that the correlation between the opinions of people about the extent to which they can be considered a bastard, and how much they really bastards, is zero. Some stubborn bastards may recognize themselves as such, but others may be of the highest opinion of themselves. Some truly nice people can clearly see how nice they are, while others may have very low opinions about their moral qualities.

There is another obstacle for self-awareness as a bastard: we do not yet have a sufficient understanding of the essence of bastardism. There is no official scientific notation that coincides with the broad use of the term “scum”, which matches the guy who cuts you on the road, the teacher who humiliates the students, and the colleague who turns every working meeting into a battle.

The closest of the scientifically recognized categories to the term "scum" can be called narcissism , macchiavellism and psychopathy belonging to the " dark triad ". Narcissists consider themselves more important than others, as bastards do, either explicitly or implicitly. However, the narcissist is not necessarily a bastard, since this option requires constant attention, and the bastards do not always have such a desire. Machiavellian personality refers to people as tools that can be used to achieve their goals, as do bastards as well. However, they, too, cannot be equated, since Machiavellianism implies conscious self-criticism, and the bastards can even ignore their selfish inclinations. People with psychopathic disabilities are selfish and callous, like bastards, but they are also prone to impulsive risk taking, whereas bastards can be prudent and avoid risks.

Another concept related to this concept is the asshole, which was explored by philosopher Aaron James of the University of California, Irvine. According to his theory, narcissistic cretins are those who enjoy special privileges compared to others, considering that they have a moral right to them. Although it is closely related to the bastards, it is not the same. You can be a bastard and behave arrogantly and insulting, without receiving any privileges.

Considering all these obstacles, how can potential bastards carry out a self-assessment?

The first step is to define more precisely what it means to be a bastard. I believe that this quality must be ranked as a category worthy of a separate scientific study. The word "scum" suitable and useful. It describes a phenomenon that does not fit into other psychological concepts. Bastards are people who criminally ignore the perspectives of people around them, referring to other people as tools that need to be manipulated, or like idiots who need to be dealt with - and not as equal in terms of morality and knowledge. To be a bastard means to be definitely ignorant - not to attach importance to the values ​​of other people, the values ​​of their ideas and plans, to ignore their desires and beliefs, not to forgive them their shortcomings.

Bastards look at the world through glasses, muffling the humanity of other people. A waiter in a restaurant is not a potentially interesting person, different from others, with his own life story and a set of goals with which you can show solidarity. He is just a tool for delivering food or a fool for whom anger can be spilled. The people standing in front of you in the Starbucks line are faceless and unimportant. The people below you in the social hierarchy lack your talents, so they deserve dull, stupid work.

To clarify the concept of the scum, it may be useful to consider its opposite: a nice person. Perhaps you are well-known such people - habitually attentive to the needs and interests of others, taking care of the thoughts and preferences of other people, and often in the event of a conflict, they suspect that it is their fault and not the other person. Imagine if you could turn the glasses of the bastards inside out, turning them into glasses for lovely people - those that most vividly highlight the value, interest, importance and peculiarities of the people around them.

Probably none of the people would be a pure bastard or a pure milestone. Several decades of psychological research confirm that practically all people have large, voluminous psychological qualities that are mixed and complex, and also subject to various influences. But where exactly are you on the scale from bastards to milegs, and in what cases, in what situations, with what people? Maybe nothing more accurately defines your moral character than a position on this scale. This is the basis of your attitude towards people around you.

Such a definition can help us see two obstacles to realizing oneself as a bastard. First, when real feelings arise about the fact that you can be a bastard, the bastard tendencies disappear instantly. If you are attacked by fear and shame about the fact that you may have behaved meanly towards someone else, then at this very moment this attack itself helps you recognize the right of another person to have interests and values, to see him as an individual. , able to require you to comply with certain moral principles, and not just as a tool or a fool. At this moment you, albeit temporarily, take off the scum-glasses.

The irony is that it is often the mials who are most worried about whether they do not behave like bastards - they later come to you, blushing and apologizing for not so terrible behavior. And, in contrast, nothing is so far from the bastards than the apology.

Of course, if you calm down this idea and decide: “Well, since I worry about whether I am a bastard and even read an article from a magazine on this topic, then I definitely don’t bastard!” And stop worrying about it, then the same moment your svolochnaya nature is ready to return.

The second clear obstacle to knowing the bastards inside is the inability of the bastards to listen to other people. It is likely that one of the most important ways to know yourself is to listen to how other people criticize your shortcomings, and to do it sincerely. For bastards it will not be easy. Since the scum is not inclined to regard others as equals in morality and intelligence, he rarely accepts criticism in a constructive way. Why bother with what a fool says or a tool? Why get involved in discussing their opinions about you? Most likely, the scum will reject criticism, go on the counterattack, begin to argue himself, retire in anger, or smile and plunge the knife deeper.

Other moral vices are not so resistant to attempts to influence them. For example, lying does not prevent a liar from serving a charge of lying. Greed does not particularly impair the ability to reflect on one’s greed. But the essence of the bastards closes their ears.

If the essence of the bastards is that they are not able to understand the value of others, this suggests the existence of an unobvious face of self-knowledge: to look not only at yourself, but also at other people. Instead of staring at the mirror, turn away from it and notice the colors that you think the world is painted in. Are you surrounded by idiots and soulless cars, people with bad taste and foolish desires, boring people who are unworthy of your attention, those who can be easily cut under one very common comb - scum, snobs, assholes, self-satisfied goats, and, of course, scum ?

If your world usually looks like this, then I have bad news for you. You are most likely a bastard. To most people, the world does not seem so, and it is not really like that. You have distorted vision. You do not see the individuality and potential of the people around you.

I outlined such a vision through glasses, bastards in an extreme form, but many of its aspects, I suspect, are familiar to us all, with the exception of the radically cute mids (who are full of their problems, because they are very easily amenable to the desires and opinions of other people). We all have moments of bastards.

But how often do you get bogged down? If we are all partly bastards and partly milyagi, where are you on this scale? In retrospect, you can try to remember how often you realized that you were using scum glasses. But, unfortunately, people are not able to do such assessments well. Memory is selective - we usually remember either the brightest cases, or confirming our already formed opinion, or those that put us in the best light (or, in extremely self-critical people, in the worst). If you really want to accurately assess your degree of scum, I’ll have two more scientific approaches for you.

One is to apply the sampling techniques invented by psychologist Russell T. Hurlburt from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and Mihai Cikszentmihayi, [Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi] from the University of Clairmont. Set the timer to random time, or choose another random distracting signal, and when it sounds, note to yourself exactly how you think about some things. You may not be very good at assessing yourself, and you will be inclined to self-justifying flattery to yourself, but at least with time you will collect a representative selection.

The second approach is to try something like meditation. Recently, psychologist Erica Carlson from the University of Toronto offered mindfulness meditation training [ implies increased attention to the emotions and sensations currently experienced / approx. trans. ] as a path to self-knowledge in the field of the most difficult for the perception of personal qualities - those that (like bastardism) are well evaluated and hardly observed. The essence of meditation is to connect to the least critical stream of sensations. Karlson suggests that by evaluating our feelings in this way, we can get a broader and more representative idea of ​​our personalities.

Although empirical meditation research is still in its infancy, evidence of a link between meditation and self-knowledge is already emerging. For example, Amber Emanuel and colleagues from Kent State University found that test participants who tried to measure their intelligence detachedly more accurately predicted their future emotional reactions to the results of the US presidential election. Christina Hill and John Apdegraf from the same university found that the better a person could focus on the current moment, the better he managed to make subtle differences between positive and negative emotions.

I do not know how realistic it would be to expect from many people that they begin to seriously engage in selective experience or train in focusing on the moment, with the goal of self-knowledge and improving their character, or to hope for a certain success of such training. So let me finish with a more modest proposal: today, a little later, think about this article, when you will be surrounded by many people - maybe at lunch, or at a meeting, or at a party, or in a shopping center. Pay attention to the people around you. Do you consider them fools and tools to achieve the goal, or do they sparkle with their interesting personality? In other words, assess whether you are wearing glasses-bastards.

We all sometimes look through these glasses. But we are not attached to them. Just thinking about it a bit, we can, as I believe - most of us - see what is missing in this view. And it is in this way that we can get rid of these glasses.

Eric Schwitzgebel is a professor of philosophy at the University of California at Riverside, author of Perplexities of Consciousness and Describing Personal Experience: A Defender's Controversy with a Skeptic. Proponent Meets Skeptic]


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