At any rate, the episode did get me to thinking... Why are people such jerks?
I suppose this is one of those existential questions that never really has a satisfactory answer, but I can't help but think that so much of the jerkliness that we see on display these days really has much more to do with the way we've all been taught to process (or, more accurately, to not process) our emotions in this society, than it does with the specific situations that tend to provoke the jerkly behavior.
I mean it's clear to me that people who act in a callous, entitled, self-righteous manner are usually acting out some emotion that has very little to do with the situation at hand.
I once saw an interview with Dick Cheney- the king of jerkly behavior - or actually, maybe it was Karl Rove... well, 6 one half dozen the other. Anyhow, whichever it was, he was asked what role government should play in people's lives. I can't remember the response in it's entirety, but he said something like "government should get off people's backs." It's too bad I have no idea where I saw this, because I'd love to show the video clip. It wasn't what he said that struck me... getting rid of government regulations, and well, government in general, is a pretty standard conservative talking point. What got me was the emotion behind the statement.
I mean, I'm sure that Mr. Cheney is angry, and I'm sure that the emotion is very real. What I have a hard time believing is that the feeling really has anything to do with government regulations.
Seems much more likely to me that it's just something he's glommed onto because it's easier to express rage about government regulations than it is to deal with whatever's really going on inside of him.
I suppose there's also a corollary to the question: "Why are people jerks?" ...
... and that is: "Why does it bother me?"
I mean, does shoveling a little bit of extra snow really have much of an impact on my life? Um... no.
Does it bring up lots of childhood emotions about my older brother who got away with never doing any chores because he was my mother's favorite, while I felt like the household "Cinderella"? BIG TIME!!
But really, it's sooooo much easier to rant and rave about the fucktard with the snow blower than it is to deal with the anger and hurt left over from my less-than-rosy childhood. (Fucktard is my new favorite word, BTW.)
And I really don't think that this is a problem unique to me, or Dick Cheney, or fucktards with snow blowers. I think we just live in a society that has all sorts of ridiculous rules about what people are and aren't supposed to feel. Unfortunately, our emotions are our emotions, and they don't just go away because they're inconvenient, or uncomfortable, or disapproved of by society.
I mean, when you really look at it, an enormous amount of our collective energy is drained away just trying to avoid things that we don't want to feel. We buy things that we don't need, or really even want, because we're trying to fill up some empty feeling inside.
We run ourselves ragged with work, and household chores, and other forms of irrational perfectionism because we're terrified that if we stop for a moment, all of those "other" feelings will surface and we'll have to deal with them.
|Photo by stuant63 on Flickr|
And the truth is... it's all just a big pile of horse puckey! There's just no way to outrun, avoid, overpower or pretend our way out of our feelings. The only way to deal with it all is to really deal with it head on.
I know that's all easier said than done. LORD, do I know it! I mean it's not like I'm some paragon of emotional acceptance and self actualization. But I do think we'd all be a lot better off if we spent a bit more time dealing with what's going on inside of us and less time on things like, say, ranting about fucktards with snow blowers.