saw the movie last night. it was weird, but that’s okay ’cause i like weird movies. but yeah, i walked out of the theater with the feeling that i was almost missing something about it; as if my mind were on the verge of getting some overarching, deep, intrinsic message of a work of art, but just couldn’t quite get it. then again, it might have just been in my head (along with the several drinks i had right before seeing it).
so yeah… i didn’t post so far this week. i’m a delinqnent, i’m lazy, i’m a bum… give me an adjective, and i’m it. can you see how much guilt i’m sporting because of it? i didn’t think so…
so… absolutely nothing new from me to report. but i’ve been thinking alot lately about asceticism. it’s the hedonist in me that has always led me to always consider certain rituals of whatever religion i’m looking at to be absurd, be it native mandan rituals, or lent, or fasting on the sabbath, or ramadan or whatever. i mean… you’re hurting yourself out of the belief that you’ll be rewarded in the extreme long term (and yes i know this is a gross oversimplification, so please, no angry flame-mails). but then i thought about it. outside of the context of religion, these are things that people do all the time: exercise to get buff, girls wear make-up to look pretty, spend years in school, and many many more things that we do, in effect hurting and punishing ourselves looking for a payoff of some sort. the difference for the things i listed is that the payoff is in the short and medium term, and thus, those sacrifices are somewhat rational. but is there anything that we as people do where the expected reward is so far in the long term that it would be irrational? i believe there is: being a nice guy.
you can take the following rant for whatever you want; it could be an observation of our society, the human condition, or a bitter counter-attack that comes from never getting the girl. my question is (and i know this is something that even plato couldn’t really answer so i don’t expect to either) but what is the purpose of being a good person, or more specifically for tihs dialogue, being a nice guy? now, from anecdotal evidence and personal experience, the sacrifices that come with being the ‘nice guy’ as opposed to the ‘chauvanist’ or ‘jock’ or ‘asshole’ (and from my perspective, those words are interchangable) don’t really result in anything: no happiness, no personal reward, no nothing. some say respect, but respect’s not fungible, so who cares? the adage that nice guys finish last is dead on. yet the drive to being a ‘nice guy’ comes from some deep sense that one has whereby it is expected that one day there will be a reward. but like i asked before, what is that reward? if it doesn’t come within a resonable period of time, does that then make being a nice guy just as irrational as the mandan ceremony, where a native teen slits his flesh open, hangs stuff on it, and flails his new accessories until he passes out because of the pain? lately i’ve been coming to the belief that being nice (and there’s a difference between nice and being good) is irrational.
i once thought that even in the cruelest of cruel worlds, one person doing a nice act makes the world that much better, and so it is right and proper to be nice. however, if that act makes the individual themselves more miserable because of the self-punishment (however small it may be) that goes into considering others over oneself, then despite what the real world is, the world as seen through the mind of that individual is worse, and thus there is no reason for an individual not to think of number one. how many truely ‘nice’ people are there in the world who are completely miserable? being nice does not lead to anything, let alone happiness so why bother?
i heard a song recently called ‘even hitler had a girlfriend’ with the point that all these evil bastards in history had girlfriends, and yet nice guys continue to be left alone. and i’ve seen it before many many times, and heard it from others many many times: girls seem to like guys who are mean to them. now i don’t think this is necessarily because girls are stupid and don’t know what’s good for them, or that they all have some degree of self-loathing that they need actualized… nevertheless. the most rational explanation i can deduce is that there are certain inherent qualities in being ‘mean’ as opposed to ‘nice’ that women are attracted to. i don’t know what those specific qualities are, but for the purpose of this analysis it’s irrelevant because it’s pretty much a package deal. so if this is the case, ‘nice guys’ should abandon their ways and become assholes. at least that’s my plan for the time being. maybe i’ll get somewhere with misogyny where politesse has failed. and though this may seem to be all about women (and a large part of it certainly is), it also extends into all areas of life: friendships, happiness, success, and what have you. the point is that being nice doesn’t get you happiness however you define it, and is no guarantee that you won’t end up isolated, alone, abandoned, and miserable. so why be nice?
so like i said… take that rant for whatever you think it’s worth. for me it’s more blowing off steam than making a serious point (lately i feel like the anti-george bailey), so nothing the size of the cloning discussion would be worthwhile.