People Who Hate People – A blast from the past from July 2012

People Who Hate People – A blast from the past from July 2012

A few of you have asked me to write about Human Wave, and I know I have to – having come up with this harebrained idea, I have to continue with it and give it some shape.  Like a cat or a kid, it followed me home and now it’s my job to look after it.

Leave aside for a moment the fact that I think each of us, Human Wave writers can do more for writing and for the culture in general by writing fiction than by prattling on about what our fiction is or isn’t.  Humans are curious beasties, sometimes when faced with the Rocharsh stain they need to be told if they’re looking at the hideous crone or the beautiful woman in the hat.

While I agree with Charlie that the guiding principle of Human Wave is “You may” we all know there are things that we read that are HW and things that aren’t.  Even if sometimes we come down to “I know it when I see it.”

Well, let me bring a flashlight down and point it at the picture so you can see more clearly.

Part of this is Scott McGlasson’s fault, with his inferiority complex vis a vis his characters.  (It’s all his fault mommy.)  And partly it’s the way we’ve joked about loving/hating humans and how much butter exactly it takes to love them.

It is also at the heart of Darkship Renegades and if you squint intently, at the heart of my future history.

My future history starts with nations expropriating all those embryos resulting from in-vitro and making a bunch more and having them gestated in bio-engineered large animals (kind of like the mice who grow human ears) in an attempt to make up a massive short fall of people.  (Yes, I do think world population is already falling, or if it’s not it’s because older people are living much longer.  The problem is the modern state depends for its structure on having more young people than old.  At any rate this is supposed to be 50 to 100 years from now.  Shut up.  Making predictions is hard, particularly about the future.  You lays down your money and you makes your bet.  That is mine.)

These people are by and large not quite normal.  Part of it might be the timing of hormone baths and enzymes, which would be impossible to get right, no matter how modified the animal.  It could also be the environment, since they’re raised in batch lots.

And eventually people get funny and decide, instead, to create supermen and to “improve” their own children.  And then it all goes wrong because humans can’t be perfect, and being perfect can be the biggest flaw of all.

I was about to say we humans are a crazy animal, when it occurred to me that of course I don’t know how other animals are, not really.  We have reason to believe – now – that cats and dogs have some form of memory and ideation.

Perhaps all animals can dream of an idealized version of themselves.  Who am I to say?
I do know humans do.  I am – on a good day and with enough caffeine – human, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.

And we humans can see an idealized version of ourselves – a perfect version, without any of those flaws and imperfections that mar the human body and soul.

It has run throughout all of human history: the thought of super-humans, or of angels, without flaw.  For some of us those humans existed in Eden, seemingly perfect, until the flaw was revealed in the taste for forbidden fruit.  For others, there was a perfect civilization where a mother goddess was worshiped and everyone was happy, until the unhappy ones – what?  What’s that you say?  No, no, I read the books, that seems to be the gist of it – subverted the whole thing.  For others – Rousseau will never be dead enough – humans were noble and perfect before civilization.

We can ideate perfect humans.  We can ideate a perfect life.  And then we turn to our workaday world, chockablock with briars (and blockheads.)

This used to be disease prevalent in adolescence, particularly for well-off people.  (By historical standards, we’re all well-off, which is why adolescence is actually a recent concept.  Okay, Romans had it, but it was a… er… different thing.)  The “Why does it have to be that way?”  And the “But I hate humans” always sound, inherently, as though they were said by a sixteen year old.  (And fresh from parenting a sixteen year old, the whine-that-can-cut-through-glass is loud and clear in my memory.)

It used to be for most people, though, wealthy or not, after adolescence, some form of integration was achieved.  People came to see the ideal for what it was – something to strive towards, not something to demand.  And sometimes, in special circumstances, they came to see their flaws for… well… good things.  (Sometimes they are.  Sometimes what causes people to do best are their worst traits.)

The reason people mostly came to terms with reality is that, well… what is there besides reality?

And that’s where we got tripped, starting around the fifties or so.  I think, honestly, the issue was television.  It looks real, but it is or can be flawless.  I’ve often wondered how much of our divorce rate is based on the flawless, effortless families of the fifties sitcoms during the formative years of most now-adults.  It seems as though study after study has shown we can’t tell the difference between TV and reality.  Weirdly, no, I don’t think the down-glare on married life and what I’d call the “all relationships are sh*t” view of humanity prevalent now helps.  Neither is actually reality like.

Anyway, the problem is we now have – all of us – both wealth (you don’t usually worry where your next meal is coming from.  Heck, I don’t, though there have been times in my life I did, they were brief and limited) and a vivid, collective fantasy life.

This has the result of a sort of extended adolescence.  Our arts, the collective expression of our collective soul – or our culture for lack of a better word – have got stuck in the adolescent whine of  “I hate people.”  Which means the “moral” behind just about every novel, painting, story is “Humans are bad and we should all die.”

So, what’s wrong with hating humans, you say.

Nothing.  Nothing if you could choose between humans as are and your idealized humans that can exist only in syrupy shows.

The problem is those humans don’t exist.  And the problem is the reaction of culture to realizing this was to go into a prolonged tantrum that amounts to “If we can’t be perfect we should all die.”

This is a problem because it’s starting to have an effect.  It’s become controversial to say “I love people.”  It’s become controversial to say “Humans have achieved great things.”

All of which would be fine, again, if you could choose to be something else.  But you can’t.  For good or ill, we’re humans and humans are all we have.

Did humanity produce Stalin and Mao?  Sure.  But humanity also produced DaVinci and innumerable saints.  Were any of the last without flaw?  Well, no.  They were human.  All humans have flaws.  Sometimes the reason humans strive to be good is that they see themselves as worse than they are.  That’s one of those flaws that’s good for you.

But seeing yourself – or your species – as unredeemable is as blinkered, as pathetic, as seeing your species – or yourself – as angel-like, with no flaws.  Neither of them have reality and frankly both of them lack internal tension.  Both of them are therefore just plain bad art.

So, can Human Wave be dystopian?  Sure it can.  You don’t really need to scratch very deeply into the world of Darkship Thieves to see that Earth is a dystopia and Eden is a barely balanced near-utopia, but one that crumbles on contact.  Humans are still humans.  Unspeakable things can happen (contemplate Max’s fate, or for that matter Nat’s revenge.)

BUT through it all, humans are still humans.  The ones who are good can be very very good.  The ones who are broken are broken in interesting ways.  The villains are – to borrow from Shakespeare – punishe’d.  And the good, if not rewarded, have a chance to reward themselves to a measure.  And the mixed can redeem themselves in future books.

Human Wave: it might be very dark, but a ray of light is allowed in.  We don’t hate humanity, because if we do we can’t love anything.  And there is always the option for a sequel.

You heard it here first.

109 responses to “People Who Hate People – A blast from the past from July 2012

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “You hate people? Why are you still alive?” 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈

  2. Please! I do NOT hate people.

    I just cordially dislike the majority of Homo Sap. Sap.

    Stupid humans.

    • it’s not even the majority, really. It’s really a very vocal and very irksome minority. The “Joe Average” might be, on occasion, a bit aggravating, but that happens with any. The right-end of the bell curve (choose your metric) is generally no big deal as they are either readily realized as merely ‘absent minded’ but harmless, or are able to tone it down and ‘pass’. It’s that small percentage on the left of the bell curve – but not so far left that they are recognized by ALL as such and thus properly restrained – that are the problem. They are.. unable to ‘pass’ and thus are as painful as overly large kidney stones. And there are laws about applying lithotripsy to such deserving targets, alas.

      • You wouldn’t necessarily believe it from watching our main stream media, but we in America are by and large a very tolerant people.
        Thus that vocal and irksome minority will feel incentivized to continue in habits and activities annoying to polite societies, and escalate to ever increasingly egregious practices either for personal profit or simply for the joy they get from being bullies and a$$holes.
        But even a kind and generous people have limits and eventually the worst abusers of our good nature find themselves tripping over that threshold. At that point in the more civilized environments folks are compelled to take legal action. In simpler more practical generally rural situations the phrase “he needed killing” can still be a valid reason for dealing with a particularly thorny problem. There’s been more than one case where a town bully was shot down in a hail of bullets at high noon on main street, but unfortunately no one seems to have seen anything.

        • Aye, the “Bugs Bunny Effect” – much can be tolerated and shrugged off, but, once a Realm of Criticality has been breached… “This means war!” and then… look out. Patience is not the same as weakness. Patience can be “I really do not WISH to destroy you…” the “..BUT..” is implied. And those of even moderate intelligence (I indulge myself with belief that my kind has at least that, if only barely) realize this.

        • They’re trying to import European political systems and fit it to USAians. It works about as well as putting a 25mm bolt in a 1″ hole, because a majority of USAians aren’t Europeans. Hell, even the Euro wannabees in the cities & universities trying to import this nonsense aren’t as European as they think they are.

          • Even European ancestors generally left because they didn’t fit Europe all that well. Some chased the promise of a better life, while a fair number were simply offered the choice of emigration or prison. My own German grandfather left home in 1910 a skip and a jump ahead of the Kaiser’s press gangs.

        • American tolerance is apparently largely the reason why Borat is able to get away with the stuff he pulls. I’ve heard repeatedly that he’ll get up in front of his target audience, do his “funny foreigner” schtick, and then start prepping the audience with some odd-ball but harmless stuff. For instance, he’ll have everyone start singing a “traditional Khazakstan song” about throwing people down the well (starting with family members). The audience plays along because they’re trying to be nice to the goofy foreigner.

          And then without warning, he’ll shift over to something more serious. But the audience continues to play along because they want to be polite to the weird foreigner. So they sing about throwing the Jew down the well because it’s the seventh verse of the song, and at this point, EVERYONE ELSE in town has already been thrown down the well. But THAT is the only part of the skit that Borat shows in the subsequent video that he releases. And as a result, everyone in the audience ends up looking like a bunch of racists.

          • I hear he tried some B.S with a gun shop.
            didn’t go well, and he ran away, quickly.
            Dealer looked at him and said “You’re Borat”.
            cue Roadrunner shaped cloud

        • Yup – famous case in a small town, in IRRC the 1980s, maybe 1990s. Local patience ran all the way out … and in all the decades since then, no one, of all the people present on the main street of that small town has crumbled.
          I used this in one of my own books, racking back about a hundred and twenty years, to a similar case. Local bully, ventilated in broad daylight, likely in front of dozens of witnesses, and at least (according to later deathbed confessions) two perpetrators. But – ‘no one saw anything.’

          • See also; the battle of Athens Tennessee.

            • WWII GIs came home to find that McMinn county was being run by a corrupt sheriff and local politicians. Their plan was to keep control through vote fraud in the 1946 election. The veterans dropped by the local National Guard armory, “borrowed” a bunch of weapons, then proceeded to ensure a fair and honest election and vote count. During the battle the GIs also made good use of dynamite to recover several full ballot boxes that had been taken by deputy sheriffs.

          • Ballistic evidence also said two perpetrators.

    • Who’s a grumpy wallaby?

  3. I am fearful of the people who think that perfection on earth is possible.  The ones who constantly dwell on the darkness are depressing and disheartening.  Give me something that embraces an element of hope in spite of all problems that come with living in the mess that is real people.  Give me Human Wave.  

  4. It’s easy to be a misanthrope, and to fall into the trap of “Everyone’s stupid but me.” but I always fall back on these words of wisdom from the Firesign theater, of all places, and it always kinda helps me center myself. :

    “We’re all bozos on this bus.”

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Sometimes I think I’m the most intelligent person around and that scares me because I know how stupid I can be at times. :crazy:

    • Yes, but it’s the ones in clown suits you have to watch out for.

  5. Pratchett nailed it (yet again). Vetinari talking about the constant petty evil running through everyone.
    Vimes responded “They’re just people. They’re just doing what people do.”

    Just people doing what people do can be appallingly evil and breathtakingly good. Sometimes the same person at the same time. Me, I try to encourage my latter part and aim my former part where it can ultimately do good.

    • Or in Good omens.

      Crowleys thoughts
      Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse.
      Just when you’d think they were more malignant than ever Hell could be, they could occasionally show more grace than Heaven ever dreamed of. Often the same individual was involved. It was this freewill thing, of course. It was a bugger.

    • …people doing what people do can be appallingly evil and breathtakingly good.

      Mighty confusing lot, aye. Humans are random angel-demon-whatever oscillators and that makes dealing so very confusing. Consistent Good would be wonderful, and Consistent Evil would at least be forewarned. That strange chaoticness? Any supposed alien invaders haven’t a chance. They’d be apt to welcomed with birthday cakes… except SOME would have TNT candles.

    • There is also the fact we have no objective standard definition of “Evil.” Some elements of the definition we do all share: murdering people, assault & battery, sexual assault, child abuse, bullying — these are behaviours universally accepted as evil.

      But as always the Devil is in the details. We apparently have some variance in our definitions of “murdering” (see: euthanasia, born-alive protection act, infidels), of just who, exactly, we deem to be “people,” and when assault & battery is justified as a response to “assault” (see: antifa). Sexual assault, child abuse and bullying, of course, depends on who/whom (see: Rotherham.) Is it bullying when a baker hurts the feelings of all gay couples by denying them their right to a wedding cake of their desire, or is it bullying to use the law to force a baker to do something which offends his deepest Faith-held beliefs?

      It is clear that the definitions of “Evil” exercised by such House & Senate Democrats as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris would be vastly different from those held by such Constitutional Literalists as hang about here. Hell, dig more than a mite below the surface and many Huns will quibble over nuances of meaning.

      So, being against “Evil” and opposing “Hate” are fine sentiments but far too amorphous to render into legal codes except at the most abstract levels.

      • I would say that the West used to have a common definition of good & evil, derived from it’s shared Christian/Jewish heritage. Even those who reject Christianity had some idea of what the rules were.
        But once Rousseau and Marx and others started thinking, that was rejected in favor of some flavor of Naturalistic and or Scientific morality… which was itself often a rejection of all those killjoy rules about not screwing around and stuff.
        And like most things sourced from that well, it’s not working.

        • The basic idea of “Evil is a sin against Loving the other as yourself” was shared, but it’s hard to codify. It involves emotion and many different vectors.

        • Oh, it’s working alright; and just as intended. That it’s not working out well is beside the point.

  6. It’s a bit like the teaching that we are to hate the sin [the anti-social, self-hurting, corrupting, whatever deed] but love the sinner [the deed is not the person]. I deplore certain behaviors in other people, but really like the individuals and wish they wouldn’t do that. Likewise society. I love the USA and really wish we’d stop [insert peeve-of-the-day here].

  7. The problem is the modern state depends for its structure on having more young people than old.

    We are already seeing the social effects of increasing elderly longevity and eliminating the inconvenience of child-bearing. We have Germany & Japan — the leaders in such scientific thought now as they were seventy-five years ago — importing unskilled labor and developing automation for tending to the old, and the United States dancing as fast as we can to fill the kinds of jobs Americans (with college degrees) just won’t do any more.

    And in China reports are filtering out about genetically modifying infants in utero to bear improvements.

    Is it any wonder we observe the Greek god* of hubris leading his Furies our direction?

    *Editor’s Note: We are well aware there was no Greek god of hubris, that hubris itself was transgression against the gods. It was necessary for poetical allusion purpose. Lighten up, Francis.

    • If it wasn’t for the passage of time (and perhaps thyme… and no small amount of rosemary.. we shall leave sage out of this) that oversight would be rectified. Admittedly, only half-wave, but rectified nonetheless.

      • What, I would never have suspected one of your nature to be parsley phobic. Sage I can understand. When stock include a significant amount in their diets it taints both their milk and meat with a rather strong flavor that I find distasteful.

        • That, sir, is a most sound recommendation for mass consumption of sage. Though I also recommend a denatonium benzoate body wash / dusting to discourage attack.

        • Parsley was unmentioned. I rather like it, but that does seem to confuse those who regard it as nothing more than decoration.

          • You left it off the list of the four iconic spices:
            Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
            Obviously never been to Scarborough Fair have you.

      • If we had any sages, we’d probably declare their wisdom to be hate speech of one kind or another…

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      But what about the goddess Nemesis, the squid farms on Mars, and the Moon Ferrets. Won’t someone, please, think of the Moon Ferrets!

    • RES: “Is it any wonder we observe the Greek god* of hubris leading his Furies our direction?”

      I’d have asked, “Is it any wonder we see the Gods of the Copybook Headings limping grimly up the road toward us?”

      The answer to both questions is the same, of course.

    • We are already seeing the social effects of increasing elderly longevity and eliminating the inconvenience of child-bearing.

      I was expecting this to go into the eternal search for youth and relevance by those Boomers who defined themselves as “The Future.”

      • (Blinks) Sudden realization: That’s why, over the years, more and more people have bought into “The Problem of Susan.” More and more people aspire to be like how Susan Pevensie is described at the end of The Last Battle.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I’ve just become a little confused about the internal logic of the Narnia books.

          The Pevensie section of the timeline starts with the evacuation of the Pevensies to the countryside, due to the air war with Germany. It ends with the The Last Battle, which again has an important event tied to the air war with Germany. These both are clearly part of WWII.

          I’m most familiar with the American side of WWII. About the British, I only have the vague sense that their air war with Germany started in the late thirties, I’m not certain how late. I know it would have been over by 1944 or 1945.

          On the Narnia side, I do know that in between TL, TW, ATW and The Last Battle, there were events involving the Pevensies at school and growing older.

          Can someone point me in the direction of some scholarship that brings together expertise in the British-German air war and in the Narnia books to compare the timelines of each? Did Lewis make any mistakes, or does it all hang together nicely and plausibly?

          • Well, this page has a timeline it credits to Lewis’s own notes and some discussion of possible discrepancies: https://narnia.fandom.com/wiki/Narnian_timeline

            (Sometimes questionable discrepancies. I don’t see why Digory couldn’t have gone gray by his mid-fifties and seem quite old to a bunch of kids.)

            I don’t think the trainwreck in The Last Battle was war-related?

          • See Paul Ford, Companion To Narnia:

            Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition: Paul F. Ford …
            http://www.christianbook.com/companion-to-narnia-revised-edition/paul-ford/9780060791278/pd/791276https://www.christianbook.com/companion-to-narnia-revised-edition/paul-ford/9780060791278/pd/791276
            Ford has been a student of the life and works of C.S. Lewis for over 25 years, and this title has been used by the cast and crew of the major motion picture The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 530 pages. Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition (9780060791278) by Paul F. Ford

            Paul Ford – The C.S. Lewis 50th Anniversary Celebration
            www[DOT]cslewis[DOT]org/programs/50thcelebration/summer-conference/breakout-sessions/paul-ford/www.cslewis.org/programs/50thcelebration/summer-conference/breakout-sessions/paul-ford/
            Dr. Ford has been reading C. S. Lewis since he was fifteen years old (since 1962) and has become an internationally recognized expert on the life and writings of C. S. Lewis and author of the award-winning book, Companion to Narnia (now in its fifth edition, HarperCollins, 2005) and of the Pocket Companion to Narnia (HarperCollins, 2005).

            Amazon.com: Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition: A Complete …
            Dr. Paul F. Ford’s “Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition” is a wonderful resource for those who wish to have a comprehensive understanding of C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia”. Everything that you come across throughout Narnia is given careful consideration, with reference to the specific page numbers in the books.

          • How could their parents have gone to America, and taken Susan, while the war was still going on? It was just a trip, not war-related. The Last Battle must have had just a train wreck.

  8. It is.. unhealthy.. to HATE humans. Fear might be justified, but *respect* is what is needed. Humans are very scary things, but you really, Really, REALLY want them on your side. Or at least not giving a damn. When they decide you are their problem… *shudder*.

    And no, it’s not just that thing with Theseus. Alright, and Ariadne.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Somewhere (and it may have been a Work In Progress), I saw parts of a retelling of the Story of the Minotaur.

      It seems that the “Minotaur” that Minos put in the Labyrinth was an ambassador from a race of “Bull People”.

      Minos attempted to feed the Minotaur with captives but the Minotaur was starving because he couldn’t feed on meat (human or otherwise).

      The Theseus character had entered the Labyrinth with the help of the Ariadne character in order to kill the Minotaur but quickly realized that the Minotaur wasn’t eating the captives and needed help.

      I don’t think I saw how the story ended but I believe Theseus and the Minotaur became allies. 😀

      • It was all a clever ruse. Asterion was freed (and some of the “tributes” could *cook*), Theseus claimed the achievement, and the rest is… carefully NOT (human) history. It’s more.. CNN.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          LOL 😆

          Mind you, in Fred Saberhagen’s “Books Of The Gods” Asterion was one of the Good Guys and wasn’t killed by Theseus.

          Of course, that Theseus was more of a “Prince of Pirates” than “Prince of Athens”. 😀

      • I suspect that the Minotaur wasn’t exactly happy with the idea he had to eat humans raw, with no chance to clean and prep them properly.
        I like pork, but wouldn’t want to eat it straight off the raw pig.

    • I’m inclined to think being in a state of continual hate is unhealthy – yet many seem to think it a form of entertainment.

      • It’s not healthy.

        But…

        Raw unfiltered hate – like anger – can boost certain emotions and adrenaline levels. I suspect that it’s addicting for people.

  9. Hate is such a strong word… but then, for some things there really is never enough ketchup. Just sayin.

    • Apparently you can clean your steel sink with ketchup, if you leave a coating on it overnight. Which makes sense — vinegar plus acid plus sticky enough to stay there overnight.

      Of course, ketchup might attract bugs and mice….

  10. “All humans are shit” is too harsh. I prefer Sturgeon’s Law: 95% of humans are shit (along with 95% of everything else.) But I found one of the 5% (and I expect Dan is also one of he 5%.)

  11. As Agent K pointed out, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”
    People tend to do better in smaller batches. Increase the group size, and a whole lot of nasty group & herd dynamics start to come into play, very few conducive to individual liberty.

    • One of my friends suggested that the way to calculate the IQ of a group was to take the lowest IQ, then divide by the number of members.

      Or, as the Demotivational poster says, “None of us is as dumb as all of us.”

      • The reciprocal of the sum of the reciprocals of IQ…

      • Anonymous Coward

        I often observed this in corporate meetings.
        Large group -> higher probability of an idiot attending -> higher probability
        of an idiotic proposal -> more likely this proposal will NOT be called out as
        idiotic (out of simple politeness).
        To preserve my sanity, I skipped meetings with more than 6 attendees
        (or, if forced, I attended and said little or nothing).
        With > 6 :
        – the chances of me bringing up new ideas dropped
        – my ability to convince the idiots of the merits of these ideas dropped.
        If the issue at hand was really important, I would later seek out a smaller forum in which to argue my points.
        I just wished I had learned this in my 20s instead of in my 30s. 😦

  12. Christopher M. Chupik

    I’m dumbfounded by people who say things like, “Humans are a plague” or “Humans need to become extinct to save the Earth”. How messed-up do you have to be to hate your own species?

    • TheOtherSean

      Well, if it prevents the spread of Progressivism…. nah, still not worth it.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Those sort of people should kill themselves to make the world better for the rest of us. 😈

  13. There was an old Peanuts strip where Linus says, “I love mankind! It’s people I can’t stand.” I reverse that of course as I think Schultz himself did in his life. “I love people! It’s mankind I can’t stand.” God save us from those who agree with Linus.

    As Maude said, “I love people. They’re my species!” If you get the reference, you’re definitely people, not mankind. .

  14. Timothy Harris

    “I love humanity. It’s people I can’t stand!”
    Lucy Van Pelt

    • I am none to taken by humanity as a whole. Most of the time I can take or leave people. There are a few individual persons that I quite like.