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The Villain

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by JustGeorge, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    My oldest son has always had a strange fascination with politics. He had a speech delay, and didn't say much until about 7. When the dam finally broke, all he wanted to discuss were politics. They were out to get him(and his money, where ever he kept it), and he wanted to make sure he didn't give them a chance. Politicians(on both sides) were what caused the ill in the world.

    During the Trump administration, he had more than he could handle. While he wasn't a fan of Obama, he really couldn't stand Trump. He was so relieved when he got voted out, the he actually agreed he would give Biden a chance. Overwhelming for us... And we haven't heard much out of him regarding politics since Biden was sworn in.

    But yesterday, he had to run downstairs to tell me something about Elon Musk. And then later Jeff Bezos. So I'm wondering if now, instead of politicians being the root of all evil for him, it will be billionaires next. And I've been thinking perhaps he's not the only one to do this...

    I'm not wanting to debate politics here. I find it boring, and there's already enough of that going on. What I am here to discuss today is the idea of a villain. Do we need a 'bad guy' to blame? When things don't go the way we like, and there's obvious ill in the world, do we need to have someone to lay blame on? Maybe its this or that political party(the most popular villain for many right now), for others its a religion, or religion in general, sometimes it even comes down to certain socio-economic status, or a generation of people.

    So is this a need we have? Do we need to have someone to blame? If we could suspend this need, would we get more accomplished, or would it make us complacent?
     
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  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    I tend to not see villains. I assume that about half of
    all people are pretty bad, but our problems are with
    the systems we design, eg, economic, governmental,
    religious, social. I favor designing systems to tamp
    down the worst, & bring out the best.
    As awful as Trump was (is), we had a system that
    prevented the worst of his possible excesses. Tis a
    decent system we have....but with room for improvement.
     
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  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    All I can say is that I'm glad I wasn't exposed to politics as a minor.

    Kind of unhappy about being exposed to it now. :(
     
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  4. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    I don't know your son, so I don't know if you are exaggerating when you say he places all the evil in the world at the feet of one or two evil causes.

    If you are exaggerating he might just be intelligent enough to realise that many problems are caused by excessive accumulation/centralisation of wealth.

    However if you are not exaggerating maybe he is borderline schizophrenic and you should take him for a friendly trip to the doctor
     
  5. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    The kid sounds rather normal to me...for one new to politics,
    which is complex, full of dire threats, populated by polarizing
    figures, & filtered thru crazy news media. He's new to it all,
    so he'll be bang around quite a bit as he develops his own
    perspective. It should settle down about the time he turns 50.
     
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  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    How old is he now?
     
  7. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    Not all of the evils in the world. He didn't blame the president when the cat got hit by a car. But he does place a lot of emphasis on ill coming from a few specific points.

    For the record, he is autistic, on the Asperger's end of things, and has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

    I was more using him as an example, to illustrate my thoughts on things. A fair number of people like to blame much of society's ills on one or two groups of people. "This is the results of the works of the right" or "If the left hadn't done this, we'd all have this!" Or "If people didn't believe in fairies, we'd all be so much better off!" We generalize. And it seems when we do this, we often point one or two fingers at various groups, and perceive 'them/it' as the root of society's troubles.

    If my son was the only person to do this, it wouldn't be worth writing a post about; I'd just attribute it to one of his oddities. It seems fairly commonplace, and that's why I got curious enough to post.

    He's 14 now.
     
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  8. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    You're lucky. When my one son was 14 absolutely everything was my fault.
     
  9. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    I am thankful to not often be the one at fault, though I have had to accept that I'm always wrong.
     
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  10. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    He showed sound judgement.
     
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  11. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    That's what my shrink said too.
     
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  12. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Quite possibly one of the most useful OPs I've seen on RF since about 16 years ago, when I was newly drafted on Staff without being notified I was even being considered for a mod position by Rex, the Founder.

    That's when he told me my first job was to churn out threads on the infant forum in order to deceive people into believing someone besides @Jayhawker Soule was actually awake and reading them.

    I am, of course, referring to my 36 OPs exaggerating how I had sized up my various love partners well enough to drive each and everyone of them into their own religion's locally well-known equivalent of heaven. As I recall, it was the first time anyone had posted threads dealing with spiritual topics outside the Abrahamic traditions.

    Admittedly, those threads were mainly speculations in the way of someone standing on the shore watching ships sail off to make discoveries of new worlds and such, while wondering what they might find.



    Seriously and honestly, @JustGeorge, this is such a potentially useful to everyone topic that is never as insightfully raised as you just have, the thread is excellent by any reasonable measure.

    A quick observation. One of those 'see for yourselves if you know how to look' sort of things. As is known, the thought of someone being a 'villain' is almost certain to be judgemental, a moral condemnation, etc. But I'm not sure as many people have looked how any such thing always places a lid or cap on their ability to understand whatever they think of in judgemental terms, moral or otherwise.

    Basically, such judgements are channels, scopes, ruts, or limits to how much room they have left to move around looking at something in different ways to get a better understanding of what they're looking at. It's more than hard to break out of those boxes.

    It gets real tricky when something doesn't understand the differences between truth, fact, opinion, and judgement. Too easy for them to think they aren't judging something, when in fact, they are. Basically, too easy for them to be blind to anything outside their box.

    Maybe something like applying a 'flat earth effect' to what they see of the landscape they're looking at.

    People overuse judgement, you know, you only need one when you're about to act. By then, you have all the information you could possibly have at that moment for judging something, and if you know how to do it more or less reliably well, it's best then to go with your gut or intuition, adjusted and discounted for quickly selling to reality.

    Usually, if you are not using judgment for some more or less immediately actionable purpose, you are most likely using it to inflate your ego, or to gin up your emotions to entertain yourself.

    It's all over the world today. Gratuitous outrage. Performance anger. and so forth. Takes dozens of forms involving dozens of variations on several emotions, so far as I can see. I personally think sentimentalism is a milder and socially accepted form of using judgement to gin up feelings that are self-entertaining in some way.
     
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  13. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I see this often in children, especially the brighter ones, that they want to save the world. I also see this this often, and not only in children and especially in the less brighter ones, that they see a problem and attribute it to the one (or few) perceived to cause it. It gives a clear structure to those having difficulties handling complexity.
    There are two lessons every do-gooder has to learn:
    1. You can't save them all (especially not those who don't want to be saved).
    2. The problem is the problem, not the people.
     
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  14. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    Do you think, when someone is judging their 'villain', it is from a genuine inability to perceive the situation in any other way? We are brought up with so much preconceived notion(whether it was pushed on us by another figure, or a worldview we formed ourselves), there are just some things a person cannot conceive of(though that varies from person to person).

    I'll be honest, I see this a lot in adults as well. Do you think our world is becoming simplistic, and we(as a society) are having difficulties handling complexity? Could the fracturing of society into groups that we've been seeing in recent years be a result of this?
     
  15. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    No, it's always been that way, maybe even more so. The only thing that changed is that in the past only few people were able to publish their opinions.
     
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  16. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    That's true. 20 years ago, you could have an idea, thought, or opinion, and in almost all cases, it would be confined to yourself and a few close friends or family members. Now, you can blare whatever crosses your mind(be it for good or ill) to hundreds across the world.
     
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  17. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Human brains develop an ability to see moral complexity in a single person or thing, typically beginning in the 13-15 age range. Before that, children do not act or behave in any manner more consistent than that they see their moral world in absolute opposites. Stark black and white.

    Differences in cultures have a lot to do with whether people then go on to make much use of their brains than they previously could.

    I'd rank traditional, pre-Western Chinese, Korean, or Japanese cultures as the most well known examples of cultures that encourage people to develop a usefully nuanced, and certainly a non-polar opposite, view of things. To anyone in those cultures 'morality' is more about skillfulness in dealing with people and situations, than about rules, especially hard and fast rules.

    You can usually find pretty much the same kind of thinking in any 'uncivilized' people, such as the Hopi Nation of the American Southwest, in it's older cultural take on things.

    The goal of that East Asian skillfulness is usually something in the nature of achieving 'harmony'. I guess in the West, we'd call that something like 'a balanced ecosystem'.
     
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  18. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I think we're overwhelmed with 'there's a villain' mentality, so it's little wonder that an adolescent thinker would succumb to it. The mass media goes after the president, China, the opposition, communists, and anyone else besides giving into logic, which would be to analyze the situations for what they really are, instead of succumbing to the idea that there has to be a villain.

    Fortunately for your son, most folks do grow out of that, and I think you're in the right spiritual paradigm for that to happen. Life isn't black and white, the president it also a person, and rich folks have lives.

    Best wishes to your son.
     
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  19. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    The hardest thing for many people and to some impossible is to accept that I made a mistake.

    This can lead to "Napoleon's hell" in C. S. Lewis' "Great Divorce" where the character is consumed by blaming others for his misfortune: Mere C.S. Lewis: Napoleon muttering about whose fault it was To me that's psychologically accurate - being trapped in blame is to suffer.

    Another aspect as noted in the OP is more general. We see this played out in the media all the time. The first part is that media figures are just people who have an extremely hard time accepting responsibility for something stupid they did.

    An aspect of this is to blame people for things that go wrong. We blame politicians for economic developments they had nothing to do with and praise them for economic developments they had nothing to do with. Or maybe they had a minor influence on the economic situation.

    There's a positive aspect but it has another name: "responsibility". If a politician messes up, it is my responsibility as a voter to understand that person's role in the mess and to vote accordingly.

    The trick naturally is to distinguish between counterproductive blame and clear-eyed assignment of responsibility for specific acts that the person could have affected.
     
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  20. JoshuaTree

    JoshuaTree Flowers are red?

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    I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

    - Bilbo Baggins
     
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