So there is something
you need to know about your cute little Longing for Human Goodness
Module. It's a fanatic. It's a complete raving maniac! It's
an absolutist. What it wants is absolute complete fucking universal
happiness and good stuff for every fucking human being on the planet
all the time right now! Always. Every possible good thing for
every possible human always - now! It's very insistent on this point.
Everything! Everyone! Always! Now! Complete fucking happiness
in every possible way for every fucking body forever and always, now,
It's an opinionated
little sucker. You can see this in the vehemence of your own rant
when your Human Goodness Module got its undies in a bunch. Boy, if
it doesn't get its way - it gets really ticked. When it gets uptight
and on a tear, it won't even acknowledge that the Selfishness Mechanism
might on occasion be a useful thing and very possibly not the end
of the fucking world. Noooooooo......not your Human Goodness
Module. If it doesn't get its way in every little thing, it throws
an absolutist tantrum, tosses aside all confidence in its own strength
to endure and balance the Selfishness Mechanism as it has for thousands
and thousands of years, and instead flops down on the floor, screaming
and crying that all its efforts are FOR NOTHING! and that IT'S USELESS
USELESS USELESS! and that SELFISHNESS ALWAYS WINS! and that
NOBODY EVEN GIVES A FUCK! and that it's SURE TO DIE OUT IMMEDIATELY
AND THERE WILL NEVER EVER EVER BE ANY GOODNESS ANY MORE PERIOD!!!!
Yeah, it's a dramatic
little sucker. Fond of declaring its own imminent demise whenever
it finds some badness it can't beat. Oh my fucking god, I didn't win!
it says. Badness will rule forever, all goodness will cease and the
Endless Millennium of Evil Darkness is already upon us. Shoot
us all now that I may not be forced to look upon this abomination.
And so on and so forth. Apocalyptic language is one of its favorite
Look at your own
rant and you can see the Goodness Module throwing a tantrum. 'Why
can't all human beings be happy and good all the fucking time always
and forever right fucking now!' 'Why! Why! Why! Why can't I get
exactly what I want all the time right now? Why, huh? Answer me that!
Why? Why can't I get my way? Why do human beings have to be all unhappy
and selfish and shit? I hate that. I want everyone to be happy all
the time! Why can't they be? Why?'
Et cetera. It's
very appropriate to tell your Goodness Neurons a bedtime story because
frequently they have the patience, frustration tolerance and coping
skills of a two year old. And so they jump up and down inside your
head making you yourself very unhappy until they exhaust themselves
and take a nap or sulk or figure a way out of their dilemma. This
happens to everyone. Every single person has to deal with the badness
of the world at some point. Some people are loud about it, some
people barely make a peep. Some people have active and excitable Goodness
Modules forever staring suspiciously out from behind their eyes at
all the bad stuff in the world and getting peeved about it, and some
people have very hesitant and shy Goodness Modules that tug gently
at their sleeves, whispering um I think that's bad, that's bad stuff,
um, I don't like bad.
You have a personality,
so does your Goodness Module. The personality of your Goodness Module
will in fact have a huge influence on the personality you end up carting
around as your personal shield against the world. Because a person's
Goodness Module is just one of many things people have to deal with
in life, and deal with it they do.
But let's turn
our attention to giving it a shot at finding a way out of its frustration.
Because, strangely, a huge amount of the unhappiness and cruelty that
humans inflict on each other arises from maniacal and frustrated Goodness
Modules Gone Bad! They do this. Sometimes they do it in incredibly
dramatic ways. Even Christian theology recognizes that Lucifer, the
devil, was once the very best angel of all. But he couldn't get his
way and he has been tempting people with the alternative of evil ever
since. Your Human Goodness module has some pretty impressive mythic
So let's explain
why it's so maniacal first, so you can understand where it's coming
from. Your Human Goodness Module was implanted using the Accelerator
and Brake Pedal Theory of Design. If you have ever been in a car
you may have noticed that they generally have an accelerator pedal
and they have a brake pedal too! This is very exciting because
one pedal makes the car go and one pedal makes the car stop! You can
do both! Amazingly, by manipulating these two pedals you can achieve
a range of motion with the car that stretches from not going at all
to going very very fast.
that the accelerator pedal does not make the car stop. It is a
go pedal only. By varying pressure on the go pedal you can vary
the amount of go-ness employed. Amazingly, the brake pedal does not
make the car go - it only makes it stop. It is a stop pedal only.
By varying the pressure on this pedal, you can achieve varying amounts
of stop-ness. One does one thing, the other does the opposite thing.
many parts of the human and other animals this way. One module does
one thing and that's what it does until another module that does the
opposite thing makes it stop. One enzyme makes a fetus grow until
another comes along and makes it stop. If the enzymes get out of balance,
the fetus won't stop growing and it will kill itself and the mother
or alternatively it wil never grow at all. Evolution relies heavily
on this system. It doesn't ask modules to regulate themselves, it
relies instead on opposition and conflict to regulate the entire system.
Sort of like democracy is supposed to be regulated by checks and balances.
Or capitalist economies are supposed to be regulated by competition.
Your body, contrary to what everyone would have you believe, is a
not single entity with a unified agenda but a massive sprawling
decentralized system of conflict and opposition, warring agendas and
bitter rivalries, sentimental alliances and coalitions of expediency
all struggling for their own survival and yours. There's a decent
chance your kidneys are pissed at your liver even now, or that your
hangover receptor cells are giving your alcohol is fun! module
the dressing down of its life even as we speak.
In this system,
your Human Goodness Module is a go system only. When placed under
pressure, such as by witnessing some spectacular acts of badness,
it will rip up to speed and start going with furious intensity until
something makes it stop. So you can be watching a special on world
hunger and suddenly feel extraordinarily motivated to Do Something
About World Hunger until your Laziness Mechanism kicks in and
reminds you that Doing Something About World Hunger might involve
getting off the couch. Your Goodness Neurons spurt forward and then
some other part of you puts on the brakes. This is just natural. This
is how it's supposed to work. This is life. This is why people know
the world is all fucked up but they do not devote their lives 24/7
to unfucking it up. They're not supposed to. Other mechanisms are
supposed to kick in and make the Goodness Neurons stop. The Goodness
Neurons are not supposed to make themselves stop. They are supposed
to retain their original desire to Rid the World Of Hunger and
Injustice. They are supposed to be fanatics. They are among the
Designated Fanatics of the human body. Just as it would be silly for
the accelerator pedal of your car to attempt to take up other interests
besides acceleration in the hope of becoming a more well-rounded and
reasonable pedal, it would be silly for your Goodness Neurons to advocate
for anything other than Universal Goodness. That's their job.
And it's a good
thing they're fanatics too. The pressures of survival and selfishness
are so strong, the threats so great, that if your Goodness Module
wasn't a complete fucking thorough-going no-holds-barred balls-out
maniac on the point of Universal Goodness, humans wouldn't be able
to cooperate at all. There are so many many many reasons why it's
not a good idea to cooperate, why it's a much better idea to pursue
only your own interests that nothing short of a Maniacally Irrational
Fucking Desire For Goodness would be able to hold its own. Nothing
is more irrational than the insane unquenchable unstoppable human
desire for goodness - and thank god for that. The Desire for Goodness
is a felt force - experienced physiologically - and powerful as a
motherfucker - unswayed by logical argument, the lessons of experience,
eons of disappointment, or an unmarred record of never completely
getting its way.
Longing for Human Goodness kicks. It burns. It howls, it rages, and
it never ever ever gives up. You can't kill it. You can't defeat
it. You can't get rid of it. It's supported by only thing - its necessity
for human survival - but it's more powerful than any other force
in the human being, including that famous sex drive that gets
all the media attention. There's only one thing you can really do
with the Longing for Human Goodness, and that's deal with it. And
that's what you're going to need to do with yours, my ranting friend,
because it ain't going away.
You might ask,
if it's so fucking powerful and universal, how come the world isn't
a better place? In fact, I think you did ask, in a roundabout way,
why the world isn't a better place. Why doesn't goodness rule and
Utopia reign? Why aren't we in fucking paradise? Well, since you asked,
there are a couple of good fucking reasons. 1) It's not supposed
to rule. It's supposed to be part of the system, not almighty
despot. And 2) powerful force does not mean all-powerful. Remember
that the Selfishness Mechanism still exists - and being that it is
pretty fucking necessary for survival as well, it's a formidable set
of brakes to the go-happy accelerator of Goodness.
And we are
all glad that it doesn't rule - because when the Selfishness Mechanism
takes a beating and can't hold its own with the Goodness Module -
absolute fucking mayhem and the furthest reaches of bizarre benevolent
cruelty kick in. It can get really fucking ugly when the Goodness
Module takes the reins.
Let's take a simple
example. Quakers. Advocates for Universal Human Goodness for some
time now. Quakerism by its nature, like a large number of religions,
is in fact, an attempt to install and impose Goodness on the world.
The Goodness Neurons attempt to express their nature, and in doing
so they naturally get greedy and try to take everything over since
that's what fanatical maniacs do. The Goodness Module is grandiose
and egocentric and has a strong streak of the dictator and it will
frequently do its best to force Universal Happiness on everyone whether
they want it or not. That's its job. Quakers, by and large, do a pretty
good job of hanging with their greedy dictatorial Human Goodness Neurons,
playing it cool and not getting overly excited about taking over the
world with their particular form of Goodness. But every once in a
while, they'll stumble into power, and the Goodness Neurons will whoop
it up in a frenzy of trying to finally get their way.
when Quakers were given a chance to run prisons in the 1800s in their
own hometowns. Their Goodness Neurons promptly convinced them that
what prisoners truly wanted was to Be Good, and that Being
Good could be achieved by a 24/7 diet of communing solely with God
in absolute isolation from all other humans so that the prisoners
could more thoroughly enjoy immersion in their own Goodness Modules
unfettered by unrewarding contact with Other People.
They were wrong.
They kept the prisoners isolated, put their heads in black bags, kept
them from contact with anything but their own minds, all of which
promptly melted in a truly spectacular display of encroaching screaming
madness, loud disoriented suffering, complete psychotic breakdowns,
and loss of any ability to function at all. They had to shut the prisons
down and pronto because loud agonized screaming chaotic loss of all
functionality turns out to be difficult to manage, particularly when
visiting dignitaries are trying to take a tour of your model prison.
want to be Good 24 fucking 7, they want to be human. Being
Good 24/7 is not good for human beings. It doesn't work. It fucks
things up. It makes people suffer. It makes them crazy. The ideal
of universal all the time everlasting human fucking goodness is not
only impractical and ill-advised, it's insanely fucking stupid. The
Goodness Module doesn't want to recognize this. It wants to think
humans can survive on goodness alone. It's a fanatic. And it will
push and shove its fanatic way to the front of human behavior every
chance it gets and try to impose Goodness on human populations until
they fall the fuck over from sheer misery or the genocidal impulses
of the Facist Goodmongers.
Psychoanalytic theory. Religious fanaticism. Social propriety. Witch-burning.
Executions. The bombing of abortion clinics. Slavery. Skinner boxes.
Colonialism. The Spanish Inquisition. Lobotomies. And many many
more! Human beings have spent their entire recorded history being
extremely busy making other human beings extremely fucking miserable
by trying to force some sort of Improved Goodness onto Human
Nature. The range of cruelties that people will inflict on each other,
trivial and vast, 'for their own good', in the service of Goodness,
or in pursuit of the utopia the Human Goodness Module longs for -
are simply unending. Thank god your own Goodness Module is all knotted
up and stewing ineffectually at its computer or god knows what horrific
vision of peace and justice you'd be attempting to infict on us all.
A good dose of
the Selfishness Mechanism would have kept those Quakers on the straight
and narrow and prevented them from driving fellow human beings slowly
and excruciatingly insane for the kind of trivial crimes that landed
them in a model prison That Would Greatly Improve Them. If the Quakers
had listened to their own Selfishness Mechanisms they would heard
the SM's saying- fuck no! I'd rather fucking die than
go around with a black bag on my head all the time. For Christ's fucking
sake, that's awful! Their Selfishness Mechanisms would have watched
the prisoners melting and started screaming 'Make it stop! These people
are going nuts; it's horrible to watch! Stop this. Oh for christ's
sake, take the fucking bags of their heads and let them live a little.
Oh christ, I can't take this. This is just too fucking much.' The
Selfishness Mechanism would have spoken up because the Selfishness
Module has good common fucking sense! That's part of its job.
It knows people need Selfishness to survive. It knows a steady diet
of goodness maketh the heart sick. It knows how it would feel if it
had to sit with a bag over its head.
But no, the greedy
tyrannical, power-mad Goodness Modules had deceitfully convinced the
Quakers not to listen to their Selfishness, that such a thing was
bad - and a caving in to the evil selfish desires of humanity. The
Goodness Modules danced on the grave of their fallen enemy Selfishness
- and promptly fucked up everything they could.
And so it goes.
Right at the core of all the evil and cruelty in the world is - The
Longing for Goodness. All fucked up and out of whack - Goodness. Hitler.
Serial Killers. The Terrorists Responsible for 9/11. Evildoers
always secretly or not so secretly believe they are striking a blow
for justice and rightness in the world. It's right there at the core
of their beating little evil hearts - the desire for Goodness. Goodness
frustrated, goodness twisted and mangled beyond all recognition, scarred
over and black with pus, oozing poison but beating nonetheless, beating
relentlessly, spewing its hatred of a bad world, ticking like some
mysterious black box at the core of universe. And it never stops.
To put it more
philosophically, man's capacity for evil is a direct measure of
his capacity for goodness. Paradoxical, and not all that delightfully
so, but there you fucking have it. They go together. You can't get
away from it even when you are really really in the mood to do so.
But no cause
for despair! Because the bedtime story is not over yet! No - this
is just a Terrifying Plot Twist. Good bedtime stories often
have a Terrifying Plot Twist. It's not all that uncommon for Questing
Heroes to face obstacles and fall prey to confusion and deception
and arrogance and misguidedness. It wouldn't be very exciting if questing
heroes did everything right the first time! No, no, your Goodness
Neurons have just taken a peek into the scary woods where evil lurks
when they try to rule the world all by themselves. Torture and facism
and oppression and dark cruelty lie there. They want to stay away
from that! That's scary.
That makes the
next chapter even better, the one where the Goodness Module grows
up and becomes very very wise and takes his rightful place in the
world. What a relief!
Now, before the
Goodness Neurons settle in the for the Climatic Finale, have
them perform this very Grown-Up Exercise so they will feel
very impressed with themselves. Take a look around at the world and
peer closely at badness to find the hidden heart of Longing for Goodness
inside it. Look at your whatever it was, greedy corporations despoiling
the earth or something, shortsighted narrowminded leaders, insanely
misguided Mean People, and so on, and find that whimpering, craven,
frightened little Longing for Goodness Module cowering inside them.
You may not find it at first, you may swear on a stack of Bibles it
doesn't exist, but look. You despise these people for their moral
weakness, so look at that very moral weakness and discover that the
people who house it, incredibly improbably and against all logic,
just want everyone to be happy. And are all grumpy because everyone
isn't. Just like you.
If you want to
be very very philosophical and spiritually-stretchy and so on, you
can call this Embracing the Evil Within by Displaying Compassion
and Empathy for WrongDoers. It sounds very very impressive when
you call it this and it sounds like something Mother Teresa or Gandhi
or some hot shit spiritual leader like the Dalai Lama would do, living
out the ideal of forgivness and understanding and blah, blah, blah.
So if you'd like to impress yourself, think of it this way. On the
other hand, if you are in no mood whatsoever to identify with the
Dalai Lama or Gandhi or what have you, then skip the Impressive Exercise
Title completely and skip straight to being disturbed, disgruntled,
and rather annoyed at the suggestion that you're not all that different
from the evil scum-sucking power pigs of the human race. That should
When you're good
and annoyed, turn the page to find out how you can rule the world
the Human Goodness Module triumphs over its own idiotic desire to
put people's heads in bags For Their Own Good!.....