On The One Explanatory Model Of Our Time

“It always bugged me to be told that bullies were just jealous or insecure”, says a friend. “Even as a child I knew that was bullshit!” Her analysis was more that bullies thought they were superior and were thereby entitled to push the weaker around.

My instincts ran in parallel, but I attempted to think about what was going on here. In my own childhood I had noticed the peculiar methodology deployed by the proponents of the theory we might call, “He only does it to make up for his feelings of inferiority”. Let’s see now: if people who seemed to think themselves superior were actually devoured by a secret self-hatred, does that mean that everything is the reverse of what it seems to be? For then everyone who seemed to be devoured by self-hatred would really be full of self-love and self-confidence. No? Apparently not, because no one ever claims such a thing, as in this model of the universe no one ever feels true self-confidence to start with.

What people do claim is that the diffident, humble person is feeling inferior inside, and that the arrogant asshole is feeling inferior inside. Nobody feels superior inside, and the apparent superiority felt by the bullies is a mere illusion. In reality, therefore, everyone feels inferior inside, in fact secretly hates themselves, and the only difference between the diffident, considerate person and the arrogant bully is therefore different ways of coping with the identical and universal inferiority that everyone feels. Well, then, what causes one individual to express his underlying self-hatred in a diffident exterior and another to express his underlying self-hatred in a bullying exterior?

At worst we have like effects being caused by unlike causes, and unlike effects due to the action of like causes: being arrogant and bumptious is an infallible outer sign of an inner felt inferiority, while being humble, diffident and miserable is equally well an infallible outer sign of an inner felt inferiority. At best this offers an infinite regress, in which everyone harbours the identical self-hatred until the point when the mysterious middle realm between the identical dogmatically-attributed inner nature and the widely variable patterns of outward action produce different results.

It may be wiser summarily to abolish this mysterious realm in which inner inferiority can transmogrify into arrogant behaviour, and in which an inner conviction of superiority to one’s neighbour simply does not exist to have any effect, much less the obvious one. Why then, we might ask with Ockham, do we need it at all? Two distinct intelligible characters, one nice and one nasty, with degrees of admixture between them, would surely map adequately to what we actually see around us. More accurately than this fairy-tale in which we are all differently driven by the same motives and in which godly behaviour somehow emerges from worm theology.

Posted on November 10, 2009 at 13:24 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, A Theory Of Everybody

Leave a Reply