Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Fundamentals of Human Nature

I know that my blog often comes across as negative, pessimistic, or downright angry at times, but I really don’t care how you view it.  To be honest, in real life I am optimistic about my own prospects and future.  This is because I have not tied my own well-being in with trendy diet groups (though I’ve been tempted to, as my own wife could tell you), government handouts, or media-approved groupthink.  I look at my own life and I understand that I am not worth effort it would take to control me.  On top of that, I have more to do with my own life than waste time trying to change the hearts and minds of a few pompous windbags who work just a few miles from where I live.

This does not mean I am not oblivious to the world around me.  I pay enough attention to what is going on so I can anticipate any difficulties in my own life (I literally have a nice stash of incandescent light bulbs because I despise GE and I refuse to buy anything from them anymore).  I also follow them because studying people amuses me and it is something to pass the time.  I have no natural interest in sports, primetime television, or most popular movies.  I am primarily concerned with my own well-being and none of those things really matter all that much.  I am not faulting anyone who enjoys things like celebrity gossip or reality television as I have my own pastime in video games (right now, I am playing through The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with my sights on Diablo III and Max Payne 3 in the future).

The point is, I’ve observed several important aspects of human behavior that I don’t think many people have correlated.  I think it is best if I share some of them:

  • The first fundamental truth of human nature is that most people are idiots.  I know, I’m stealing something from Vox Day, but it’s not exactly his original idea.  In any given situation with a group of people, no matter how intelligent they collectively are, most of them are going either say or do something idiotic.  This rule applies to everyone too and no one is excluded.  I’ve done countless idiotic things in my life.  Last week, I confused John Adams with James Madison in a blog post.  It has been corrected on the blog, but the RSS feed probably has locked in my brief moment of historical idiocy.  The point is, you should always keep this in mind no matter how much of an authority a person is on whatever subject you are discussing.  More often than not, you can count on people doing the stupid thing rather than the smart thing.  Just accept it, accept your own idiocies, and try and laugh it off.
  • Intelligence is the sum total of three things: IQ, knowledge, and wisdom.  All three depend on each other to ensure that you are an intelligent human being.  All the book knowledge in the world makes no difference if you don’t know how to use it.  And likewise, a high IQ means nothing if you know nothing.  The Intelligence Quotient (that’s IQ for those of you who don’t know) is your processing power, knowledge is your personal data, and wisdom is your ability to employ the other two aspects to your advantage.  This is why you can have people with large amounts of knowledge and a high IQ be total and utter fools.  Many politicians and other assorted leaders and rulers are men and women who have above average IQs and above average quantities of knowledge.  Most of them lack wisdom and insight.  This is why they are mostly idiots despite having clear advantages over the average man.
  • Human beings will always flock to the profession that their heart desires most.  If they truly hate what they are doing, they will not stick with it for very long, so long as they know that there are other options (and there always are, even in third-world, poverty stricken countries).  In a wealthy society, there are many options available.  This means that the kinds of people who flock to government jobs like law enforcement SWAT teams, TSA screeners, or running for public office are the kind of people who like shooting people, feeling up children, and seeking out validation from other people because they can’t function in life without it, respectively.  Do not trust people who aspire to be police officers (or LEOs in general), lawyers, or politicians.  They are not the kind of people you want to be around.  The fact that a defrocked priest, who was kicked out for child molestation, showed up as a manager of the TSA proves this point.
  • The free market is a great system, but the business owners who are necessary to have a free market have no desire to work in a free market system.  This has been a great economic paradox of history.  Most business owners have no desire to compete with rivals and would rather take easy routes to mitigate risk to themselves.  In most cases, business owners will always seek the help of a government official at some level in order to help them out in this regard.  This is why we had the banker bailouts in 2008.  It was all about business owners, who were also big contributors to many of the members of Congress, protecting themselves from the extreme risk they created through their irresponsible business practices.  The closest friend of a politician is a business owner.  Woe to the business owner who does not have a friend in government.
  • Human beings are naturally, irrationally selfish and will behave as such in most circumstances.  This should be obvious to most people, but it doesn’t always apply for idealists, especially the Utopian-minded people.  Everyone assumes that if only this system was like this other system that people would fall in line and everything would work out.  Unfortunately, the fact is most people will ruin whatever system of government they live under (or lack thereof), given sufficient time.  This concept, however, can work to your advantage though.  For example, most people will not do reckless things that will immediately endanger them, unless they are also stupid.
  • Ignore what people say, always judge them by their actions.  While this is most important in politics, it is equally important in your personal relations.  A man’s word is only as good as the actions he takes.  One thing I have noticed is that in the political world, nearly every politician has done the opposite of what they said they were going to do.  And, like an idiot, many of us vote for them anyway convinced of what they have said to be the truth.

These are fairly obvious truths if you pay attention to what is going on in the world around you.  There is no need to rationalize or excuse other people’s behavior because their behavior is perfectly predictable, given enough information and the application of these fundamental truths about human nature.  Heck, I can’t even take credit for discovering these because I’m almost sure that other people have figured all this out.

But this is why I am not a pessimist but a realist.  I know how people are going to behave because no matter what new technologies develop, no matter how we evolve as a society, we will always have the same base behaviors lurking underneath.