Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Time to Feel Good About Feeling "Bad"

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

For many years I believed my constant irritation with the willful ignorance and thundering stupidity copiously displayed by humankind was something to be ashamed of. But shame and regret couldn't stop the natural, logical revulsion at blatant displays of smug corruption and gleeful malice. For my own self-preservation I decided to enjoy my "bad attitude." In a moment of zen-like clarity I entered a state of "joyous antipathy." I learned damn quick that my feelings of self-righteous superiority were no less despicable than the smug boasting of any schoolyard bully.

"Hate the sin, love the sinner." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Well, "love," is a rather strong term. I think I'll stick with a sort of "compassionate distaste" for now. I will enjoy the freedom to call "Bullshit!" when I smell it. While the freedom lasts.

Amplify’d from

The next time you hear complaints about someone having a “bad attitude,” keep this in mind: It’s entirely because of people with “bad attitudes” that you’re not a slave. For the fact that you’re not working on a chain gang building a pyramid, you should thank all those whose previous bad attitudes won your present degree of freedom. Their bad attitudes echo down to us through time as the principal obstacle to your re-enslavement in the here and now.

When, in all of human history, have those with wealth and power ever willingly surrendered the tiniest crumb of it, or extended the range of freedom by a single milimeter, merely because in the goodness of their hearts they thought it would be a nice thing to do? Have the classes that own the world ever voluntarily reduced the tribute they charged to labor?

No. Throughout history, what Adam Smith called “the masters of mankind” have been motivated by a single “vile maxim”: All for ourselves and nothing for other people. They have departed from it only in the face of resistance. To quote Frederick Douglass, power concedes nothing without a demand.


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