You notice them,
you interact with them, you wonder why they exist, you hate them,
you get screwed over by them, you work for them, you get pissed off
by them, you have them in your family, you see them getting rich,
you see them getting all the hot chicks, you observe that they seem
to be taking over the earth, and yet....not once in
your life have you productively wasted your time by perusing an entire
web page devoted to this common yet fascinating social phenomenon.
This is an incredibly serious oversight on your part but you
have a chance to rectify it now.
why assholes scoop up the hottest women and then treat them like shit!
why they make more money than you!
what the fuck they're doing on this planet!
IN HORROR at their blood-curdling exploits on the job and in
right. Assholes are a complex phenomenon and have many features so
we are going to tackle this topic in a completely random and disorganized
way. Because we are tired today and just don't feel like being very
Disorganized Asshole Feature No. 1: Assholes Defined.
An asshole is someone with a low tolerance for their own pain
and a high tolerance for everyone else's.
little feature pretty much explains a whole lot of observable asshole
behavior. Your asshole Dad (and you may have one, they tend to reproduce)
will decide that he needs to completely control your teenage life
down to the tiniest detail and pitch an absolute fucking fit
if he doesn't get his way in every single little goddamn thing as
if the world is going to fucking end and he is absolutely
going to die in an incredible implosion of rage and pathetic
contemptible helplessness just because someone dared to disagree
with him the tiniest little bit -- and yet he simply will not
give a shit that he is ruining your life, your mother's life,
your sister's life, and actually had your dog put down earlier this
year because he thought it couldn't 'hold its weight' in the family
equation he will be using throughout his existence is:
His pain =
Big Fucking Huge Horrendous Deal! Your pain = Who Gives A Shit.
If it hurts
his feelings a little bit to think that anyone in your family doesn't
think he is absolute god - he will lash out with as much fury as
if he was being stung by a million killer bees. Meanwhile,
your sister could end up trying to jump off a mental institution
chair with a bedsheet tied around her neck and it wouldn't have
the slightest effect on him. They are ruthless in pursuit of their
own survival and pretty dismissive of anyone else's.
This is the kind
of thing that's going to piss you off big time in your dealings with
your Asshole Dad or your Asshole Boss or your Asshole Mother-in-Law
or your Asshole Whoever and it's going to be bad for you chemically
in the long run. But at least now you know what the problem is.
insensitive to everyone and everything else while highly sensitive
to themselves. This poses 2 problems for you. Problem No. 1 - you
don't understand it. Problem No. 2 - you have no leverage with
someone who doesn't give a shit about other people. The entire
social system by which humanity conducts its affairs is basically
overturned by the asshole - to everyone else's disadvantage.
now, to understand and deal with the Asshole Phenomenon we have to understand
The Entire Social System By Which Humanity Conducts Its Affairs.
Which sounds like a big job. But isn't. Because it's pretty simple actually.
vast ebb and sweep of all humanity's complicated little dealings with
each other is actually governed by a pretty simple little rule, which
is that your tolerance for your own pain will be approximately equal
to your tolerance for other people's. This is nature's checks and balances
system. Sort of like how you get an incredibly big complicated American
government out of the checks and balances of Congress, the court system,
and the presidency - you get an incredibly big complicated set of social
interactions out of the fact that you don't really like being in pain,
but then you're also not all that crazy about other people being
in pain either.
This is the Tiny
Drowning Kittens element of human social interaction. If someone
forced you to watch a film of someone ruthlessly drowning tiny little
squeaking kittens who were utterly helpless and had no idea why they
were being drowned while their frantic mother lunged savagely but
unsuccessfully at the Ruthless Kitten Drowner - you would be uncomfortable
and upset. Even if you didn't say anything, your heart would start
beating in an alarmed fashion, various chemicals would be getting
perturbed and racing around your body gasping 'oh my god, that's horrible'
and wishing the Kitten Drowning Situation would go away and your body
would want to sweat and to grimace and force you to sigh and move
restlessly in your chair until hopefully the kittens were saved. Because
it would cause your body pain to see someone else's - even if
it's only kittens. You don't do this on purpose. It's just the way
your body reacts. That Terrible Meowing Sound of beings in
distress would burn its way into your chemicals. That frantic desperate
hopeless clawing for life would affect it profoundly. Because your
body just absoutely fucking hates Terrible Signs of Distress in anyone.
It's torture! It hates it!
An asshole's body
doesn't react the same way. An asshole that was so inclined could
drown a bunch of kittens. Not necessarily for pleasure, but simply
because they could tolerate all those signs of distress without much
reaction. It simply wouldn't register.
And while we are
on the subject of assholes, let's digress into the subject of assholes
and torture for a little while just to liven things up and make
them even more dramatic. The most effective way to break someone's
spirit or will (just in case you want to know) is to force them to
endure someone else's torture while not being able to do anything
about it and knowing they could be next. Armies use this all the time.
It's called boot camp. Totalitarian regimes use it. It's called political
interrogation. And so do asshole bosses. It's called business as usual.
They fire people, they humiliate people, they drag people through
the mud, they make them suffer. And they make you watch so that you
will understand that you could be next. One of the worst tortures
of spending a lot of time with a dedicated asshole is watching them
torture everyone else. This will warp you. It may permanently
scar you even.
a slightly but significantly better deal to be tortured directly by
the asshole rather than watch someone else go through it. Because
when you are actually being tortured (just in case you want to know),
your body will produce its own Torture Buffer Chemicals, which
will prevent you from experiencing the full weight of what's going
on at the time. You may be being screamed at in front a room full
of highly paid horrified people, but to some degree you will be
in shock and not really aware of what's going on. Not so the unlucky
bystanders. Their bodies will not be producing any buffer chemicals
and they will be cringing and sweating and their chemicals will be
helplessly and restlessly milling throughout their bodies. You know
this from experience. It can almost be worse to be embarrassed
for someone else than to be embarrassed yourself.
response is so strong that kids who are in terrifically abusive situations
will often go to great lengths to risk torture themselves simply to
ensure that their little siblings will not be tortured the same way.
Not only can people do incredibly brave and heroic things to prevent
other people from being tortured, they actually do them. The Oh
Dear Fucking God I Absoutely Fucking Hate Those Horrible Sounds of
Distress chemicals are that strong. They are incredibly important
little evolutionary zappers and though they may be broken by prolonged
There Is Absolutely Nothing I Can Do About This Fucking Asshole Who
is Torturing Other People situations, they won't actually die and
they will come roaring back with a vengeance given a chance.
This is the Compassion
Response and the Compassion Response is not wussy by any means. The
Compassion Response kicks. You can measure this scientifically
if you want, but you're not going to because it would involve
a whole process of setting up an experiment, outfitting a lab, getting
federal funding and so on, and that would take a long time and a lot
of effort. But if you did, you'd see people's pain brains lighting
up, and their nerves that conduct information to and from muscles
getting all tense and freaked, and their faces getting all rigid and
their stress chemicals start racing around in alarm every single fucking
time you showed a group of them that Goddamn Horrible Video of The
Kittens Being Drowned. You would not be a very popular scientist with
your research subjects.
Response is the difference between you and an Asshole. Like almost
everyone else, you negotiate your life by avoiding the twin negative
poles of Causes Me Pain and Causes Someone Else Pain. So if your kid
pisses you off, you'll yell at them, and then when they look all scared
and hurt, you'll back off and say I'm sorry and they'll start crying
because they didn't mean to make you mad because they don't like it
when you're in pain and so on and so forth, back and forth in an endless
fucking negotiation between trying not to get screwed over yourself
while trying not to screw over anyone else and just balancing back
and forth, your interests, their interests. Etc. etc. This is exactly
what makes life so various and not something you can necessarily just
snooze through. You've got two big zappy electrical shock poles on
either side of you at all times and you have to constantly walk the
tightrope. Screw yourself over and you'll get zapped by Causes Me
Pain, react too aggressively and you'll get zapped by Causes Someone
Life's a lot
simpler for Assholes. There's only one big zappy electrical pole
and that's Causes Me Pain but it's a motherfucker of a pole, more
like a fence with a gajillion megawatts of power and every time they
run into it they bounce away screaming their heads off 'oh my god,
a gajillion fucking megawatts of zappy painful electric power!' And
they race away from that fence like a startled boar.
So that when someone
serves them a corned beef sandwich and it doesn't have any mustard
when they said they wanted mustard they react more or less like they
had a gigantic cattle prod up their ass. They start screaming at the
waitress 'Did I ask for mustard?! I asked for mustard! When
I ask for mustard on my sandwich I damn well expect to get it or someone's
going to get fired!' And then there you are sitting at the table with
them thinking - 'god, you're such an asshole.' And the waitress is
frightened by the vehemence of the reaction and you just don't get
it. Why the fuck does that asshole have to be such a jerk to some
poor waitress who's obviously new? How much fucking pain can not getting
mustard on your sandwich actually fucking cause?
The answer is
a lot. It will all become simpler and more easy to see clearly if
you imagine every asshole with a giant cattle prod up their ass.
Which is more or less how they act all the time anyway, isn't it?
It's kind of a comforting thought in a way. Any time you wish a little
revenge on your least favorite asshole, just imagine that giant cattle
prod and imagine yourself flicking the switch that ups the juice.
You wouldn't be a very pleasant person yourself if you had a gigantic
cattle prod up your ass all the time either. But you aren't an asshole
so don't worry about it. Just enjoy your fantasy revenge.
Content, Unrelated Observations and Random Fucking Links:
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