I’ve come to the conclusion I’m a very suspicious person. I don’t trust anyone absolutely, myself included. And that’s — mostly — a good thing.
The part where it’s not a good thing is the part where my back brain is convinced I’m a lazy shirker. So I often miss the first few days (weeks, months, okay for the hypothyroidism years) of illness because I think I’m just malingering. “Oh look, I just want to sleep and can’t think straight. Must be because I don’t want to do work, lazy bitch that I am.”
Apparently this comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of my character. Apparently it usually takes two or three illnesses on top of each other to stop me cold. And even then, I’ll still be trying to crawl towards the goal. Of course part of that is that I suspect I might just be lazy, so I push.
But anyway, you’re going to ask, how can suspicion be a good thing. It’s like I think paranoia is a virtue.
Nah. I don’t think most people are trying to fool me. I just think most people are impaired by their perceptions and preconceptions (as I am) and therefore rarely can know the whole truth. So I examine things. And then examine them again.
Perhaps it’s a side effect of growing up in the village, again. Most people there were likely to have explanations for things that went back to… oh, probably Greece. Yes, yes, the pebble falls faster near the ground because it wants to be there like a horse in his stable, type of thing.
So I would hear that explanation and then my dad would blow it up when I asked, and tell me the real explanation. And then at some point I started seeing (early 20th century) holes in his explanations. Which led to… well, I guess “Trust but verify” as an attitude to go through life with.
It didn’t help/helped? that my schooling had books change every year in the mid to late seventies, depending on who was in power, to reflect a completely different picture of history and the world.
So, why is it a good thing that I can’t just lean back and trust and must forever be in an … informationally adversarial relationship with the world?
Human beings are meant to absorb a lot of stuff and just take it unexamined, I think. Tribal lore type of stuff. It’s best for both group cohesion and well, it allowed little ones to know not to pull the tail of the tiger, before they’d seen anyone eaten.
But a lot of what we take in in the modern era is fiction. We’re surrounded with fiction more than at any type in history. Even the Greeks who memorized Homer from the cradle weren’t so immersed in story. Even the apprentices who hit the Theater every afternoon to watch Shakespeare or Marlowe or for that matter Green, weren’t that immersed in story.
We get story from songs and movies, from news articles (that narrative) and well… everywhere.
And since human beings are designed to accept lore, when the story was fairly unified (mid to late twentieth century) through the centralization of the means of communication, it meant most people were going around with a mind-picture of the world and history that had only a few contact points with reality.
It also means even now people are having trouble discarding that picture, because it’s tribal lore.
Hell, even I need to root through my thoughts now and then and go “How do I know that? Have I ever examined it?”
All sorts of stupid, ridiculous stuff, including the romantic illusions came from writers and painters into the culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth century and has facilitated the rise of leftist mush-heads. Stuff like “everyone can be rehabilitated” and “children grow best with no restrictions or rules” and “real learning should be fun” and “if you punish your child he’ll be violent” “The natural man is peaceful, communitarian and healthy.”
There was never any proof that any of this stuff worked. EVER. It just sounded really good in books, and so people wanted it to be true and repeated it until it became an assumed and basic part of the culture, despite the fact that it’s completely and utterly wrong. It’s wish-casting and what a lot of people over centuries wanted to be true. It is also completely contrary to human nature and the world.
And of course, the whole noble savage and communitarian past and “the natural man” isn’t greedy and doesn’t want possessions bullsh*t plowed the field of the mind for Marx’s poisonous seed.
Which made Stalin think if he only killed enough people the “natural man” would emerge. Or no, he just liked killing people, but it gave the left in the US a reason to not utterly repudiate him.
You still run across custard heads who think that if we dropped “capitalism” — aka the natural system of trade and value that humans always use, even when it’s forbidden (which is why not EVERYONE in communist countries starves. There’s always the black market) — then humans would be like onto angels, with no greed, selfishness or hatred.
Of such illusions is hell on Earth made.
And these things tend to be particularly prevalent among Odds, (which is why they’re so prevalent in SF/f. Oh, my people!) because we obviously don’t fit into the current world. It obviously wasn’t made for us. Or at least it’s what instincts and history tell us. And they’d be right. By definition, we’re Odd. We stick out. We’re not like those other people. (Even if, like with penguins sometimes only we know the difference.)
So there’s a tendency to believe that if only we smash everything, what will emerge is a world we would fit in.
History is full of “radical losers”, of brilliant misfits who left a path of destruction in their path. Yeah, probably the French Revolution was the work of our people, and we know at least the beginning of most communist revolutions was.
That bright vision of the perfect world, once all the people who don’t get us are gone is so alluring that school shooters are probably the least destructive action taken by Odds and misfits throughout history.
But it’s not true, you know? In fact, when all is smashed and enforced from the top, there is less room for us; less room for deviation. Only prosperous and not-stressed societies tolerate misfits and suffer Odds to live.
And there will never be a world for us, unless we found a colony on another planet. (And not I can’t tell what that would be like, though I suspect a tribe of our sort would make for a very strange civilization.)
It’s natural of humans to want to fit in. And some of us will always be askew with the world. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.
But you should swallow it. You should not trust the beautiful bright visions of a world that belongs to us, and you shouldn’t trust yourself when you want to believe in it.
It is the prosperous world in which most people look at us like we wear our underwear on our heads (even when we don’t) that has the most room for us and the most possibility for us to find at least some of our tribe. It is the world in which millions shun us that allows us to live.
It is what it is.
Ignore the lies your self tells you. That critter is just not trustworthy.