The Unflattering Reason Behind Extreme Accumulation of Money : 2
Towards the end of my previous post in this series, I had suggested that most human behavior and almost everything created by it (groups, societies and institutions) were driven by an irrational and overwhelming sadism despite of all claims to the contrary.
Have you considered the possibility that the primary intent behind almost all “normal” human interpersonal interaction is to somehow con, swindle, abuse, hurt, maim or kill the other party?
Now some of you might say.. “That is such a stupid idea. Why would people, especially the ‘smart ones’, devote their lives to screwing each other over than rein in their worse impulses and reach some sort of detente – if only to make their own lives better.” My answer to that question is- aren’t you assuming that humans are rational and logical rather than irrational and logical? There is a lot of evidence (link 1, link 2) that people will actively ignore opportunities to vastly improve their lives if doing so requires them to lighten up on screwing other people. This irrational sadism pervades all aspects of human interactions from those between parents and their kids, two (or more) long-term sexual partners, the smallest social group to the largest human organisations and societies.
It is as if all “normal” interactions between two or more humans were designed to deceive and screw over the more vulnerable and naive party or parties.
To be clear- I am not claiming that every single human being is like that. But it is very clear that most people are like that and have always been so. But why is it so? Well.. the full answer to the ‘why’ will take a couple of more posts because humans lie to themselves the most. We can however start down that path by going through a few examples of human behavior that are considered normal but are blatantly irrational. As I will show you in this and the next few posts in the series, a lot of human behavior is not what it seems to be.
Example 1: We have all read hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts and comments about the unrealistic standards and qualifications demanded of men by average women. But why are average women so demanding in the first place? Why can’t they be more realistic about their expectations? The conventional answers to that question involve some version of hand waving about fragile egos, rank status, evolutionary psychology, cost of sperm versus egg and other assorted bullshit. But are any of them true? If any of them were true, how do you explain the fact that women become more bitchy, demanding and demeaning as they lose their looks through aging and having kids? Shouldn’t relative stability and/or a decrease in their market value make them less bitchy, demanding and demeaning? What does a woman in a financially secure situation and functional relationship with a guy really gain from being an abusive, insufferable and duplicitous cunt? and why is this behavior so universal?
A possible answer to that question can be found by looking at the effects of her behavior on those negatively impacted by it- specifically those who treat her well. But why would a person expend so much effort on screwing over their closest and most useful human contacts while simultaneously sucking up to people who detest them. As I will explain later on in this post, and series, understanding the reason underlying this behavior requires us to abandon a lot of what most people believe about human beings. Moving on.. here is another example.
Example 2: Have you ever noticed that devout followers of all religions and ideologies are very enthusiastic about spreading their version of the “good word”. But what is the point in getting more converts and believers of one particular collection of fairy tales. Why believe in a god if such an entity will not intervene on your behalf at a statistically significant level. Throughout human history- the lives of average people were almost equally miserable once you adjust for temporary booms caused by benefiting from genocides, conquests and other forms of looting of other groups. No divine entity has ever intervened to save people from famine, epidemics, conquests or genocides. Neither has such an entity ever helped people who were in physical or psychological pain.
Yet there is no shortage of people who desperately want to believe in some type of god and anything that even vaguely resembles religious doctrine. But why? One answer to that question can be obtained by observing what the most overtly faithful members of a religion focus on. Have you noticed that devout Christians talk a lot about the supposed inhumanity of abortion while ignoring or trivializing the quality of life of kids after they born. Such people also spend an inordinate amount of time trying to censor and interfere with the sexual lives of other people. But why? What do they gain from it? Or what about devout Muslims who get upset about alleged misrepresentations of their belief system by ‘infidels’ while ignoring the very real abuses, extreme inequality and poverty in countries where the sharia is enforced as law? Why are they so eager to fight for the cause of a religion that in many cases cannot even provide them a semi-decently compensated livelihood or sexual partner of the opposite sex? Could it be that all this religious or ideological zealotry is a cover for facilitating and normalizing the abuse of even weaker members of your own group. And this brings my next example.
Example 3: Academics and “credentialed” professionals provide yet another example of this almost universal human urge to hurt others for reasons that are clearly not rational. Academics talk a lot about fairness, humanitarianism, merit, personal and scientific integrity. But how do they treat their graduate students and post-doctoral fellows? When is the last time you saw an academic trying to raise the salary of people who work under them? How many care about the future prospects of those who slave away for them? Why not? Credentialed professionals such as physicians provide yet another example of this issue. How many physicians are interested in at least trying to give their patients the most optimal treatments for their ailments. Now compare that to the number who will prescribe newer drugs regardless of their efficacy, treat ailments to maximize their income or minimize their work. It is rather obvious that a majority of physicians perceive their patients as money-making annoyances and most would kill their patients if the financial incentive to do so was greater than not killing them.
So what are the common themes running through all these examples?
Well.. in all of the above stated examples, “conventional” or “normal” behavior patterns are clearly the less profitable ones in all time frames except possibly the very short-term. Also, so-called “smarts” do not have any measurable effect on this intrinsic sadism as a barely literate bible- or koran- thumping zealot is as likely to engage in it as the supposedly “smart” and secular academic or physician. The sex of the person also appears to have no significant influence on the willingness to engage in irrational sadistic behavior.
We are left with the disquieting possibility that there is something fundamental about human beings that predisposes most of them to hurt others even if when it is not profitable for them.
So what drives most people to consistently act in this manner under a variety of circumstances? Instinct alone cannot explain such complex and persistent behavior patterns in self-aware creatures with a rudimentary ability to reason. I believe that the answer lies in the human predisposition for self-delusion and will explain it in the next part of this series.
What do you think? Comments?