These sorts of posts are only useful if you meet me in person. I sometimes get mad at stuff online, but that either manifests itself in the physical world (where you can’t be affected) or completely differently online.

If I’m getting too mad for me to control myself, the best thing you can do is let it happen.

Whatever you do, don’t attempt to apply some sort of reprimand while it’s in progress, certainly not one stemming from letting my madness make you mad as well.

Don’t try to psychoanalyze it, don’t tell me I’m doing anything wrong, don’t tell me I’m getting mad at something minor. Any of those things will just make the problem worse, or even reignite it if it’s seeming to subside.

Human emotion, by definition, is not rational. So why do we need to make it seem rational? Why do I need to be mad at anything in particular?

Why do I need to become something inhuman? When I get mad, I end up mad at myself for being mad, and then I end up mad at myself for caring whether or not I’m mad or expressing it in a certain way. I’d be a thousand times less mad if I was just allowed to be mad.

(99% of the time, you can get along with me fine, although being friendly or striking up a conversation or even trying to interact with me in any way that’s not mandated in some way is not going to work and it’s going to be counterproductive. But if you don’t take some tidbits away for the other 1% and then label me as a monster – or even seek to reduce that 1% by not lighting the match in the first place – it’s your own damn loss.)

I would have written a stronger post, but between my plans for future posts and the tangent it would have gone off to, might as well not. Oh, and I didn’t start as soon as I should have.

Tonight – last night as you read this – was not a good night for me.

Actually, I take that back. This whole month has not been good for me, and to a lesser extent the last three months plus have not been good to me. I haven’t found any jobs (and it’s become abundantly apparent that I’m not remotely qualified for all that many), I’ve developed a humoungous backlog on Da Blog just as I have to deal with the start of the new school year and all that entails, my USB drive stopped working and just getting my files back will cost me upwards of $800 if it works (more on that later).

I went to a Mariners game last night on what amounted to a last-minute change in plans, which didn’t go well. There were rowdy people behind me and I think I was especially sensitive to everything – my mom thought my nervous system was on overdrive. I did settle down but didn’t get into the flow of the game, since the Mariners stink so bad they essentially threw in the towel before the game even started, and while I generally like to pretend I’m a TV or radio announcer at games I attend live, a string of controversial calls going against the Mariners (and thus not replayed on the big board, preventing me from assessing them for myself) pretty much soured me on the idea.

Things continued not to go well on the way home, which I won’t bore you with. I will mention that when I get mad, I get Hobbesian, and so I can’t help but wonder if civilization is based on a denial of humanity’s basic nature, and on attempting to get everyone to deny it. Civilization can be considered as the ability to be complacent about one’s own safety and tranquility, and for it to be maintained we must ignore the fact that humans have still spent much longer scratching out a tightrope, dog-eat-dog, alliance-for-protection lifestyle than we have employing something called civilization.

(GRR. I HATREkahmi eo;lgn the fact I got the idea for this post on a bus and was in too cramped quarters to start writing it while the ideas were coming.)

(And my mom just lectured me about the direction of my life and my priorities. Remind me to write a post on that topic soon.)

Confronting humanity with hard truths

You may think what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust was awful. But if you were a German during that time or if you’re an anti-Semite, you might well relish it.

You may feel bad for the people in Darfur. But if you’re one of the northern oppressors you could care less and even feel good for the suffering.

If you’re a murderer, you probably don’t feel sorrow for the people you’re killing. If you’re a relative of a murder victim and the murderer is going to the electric chair, you probably don’t feel much remorse for him.

The mere fact that these things that we decry happen in the first place is evidence that it is not natural to decry them.

Upbringing plays a much bigger role in shaping the way we think than we care to think, and I’ve become convinced that we never really shake what we fundamentally are. Any system of morality that is not grounded in real, tangible reasoning is artificial and no one should be surprised when it is broken.

There’s no reason for us to be compassionate; morality tells us to. We play up compassion because people would like us to be compassionate towards them, but if we naturally liked to be compassionate we wouldn’t need to remind people to be compassionate – and there would be a lot more compassion in the world today. So it is with virtually all other moral standards.

Stripped of religious undertones and their imposition by people trying to dictate how they’d like to be treated, there is no reason to care about anyone but oneself. (Don’t add “and one’s family”. That doesn’t explain wife-beating, fracturous marriages, infanticide, and abandoned babies. Don’t then turn that reasoning on me and say suicide. Suicidal people are crazy and think they’re actually helping themselves by getting away from this world.) From that one proposition, all else follows. Even things that seem purely emotional, such as caring for family, ultimately resolve to caring about oneself, about one’s sense of self and their self-esteem.

The Strange Case of Chris Benoit

WWE wrestler Chris Benoit was found dead alongside his wife Nancy and son Daniel on Monday, and all three deaths appear to be the work of Benoit himself.

The reaction to which has led to some interesting insights on human nature, or at least American culture. It seems that people’s revulsion to murder outweighs their sorrow for a figure that, up until his death, was rather well-respected in the wrestling community.

People have overcome their sadness and disbelief and switched to anger at Benoit. Many people are now upset with WWE for dedicating last night’s “Monday Night Raw” to Benoit’s death. (The show was originally to be a memorial service to the fictionally-dead Vince McMahon, but that storyline appears to be dead.) “World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon opened tonight’s Extreme Championship Wrestling episode by saying that Chris Benoit’s name would not be mentioned at any other point during the telecast because of the revelations that have surfaced about the murder/suicide since a Benoit ntribute show aired on last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw.”

Um… what? So a guy (as it is likely to turn out) goes a little insane and kills his family and then kills himself and we focus on the murders? Don’t get me wrong, murder is bad, but does it change all the accomplishments of Benoit’s life? (Okay, I guess it does.) Can anyone really blame WWE for showing a tribute to one of its greatest wrestlers, especially since the “murderer” news hadn’t come out at the time?

Meanwhile, various news outlets are already speculating about the possible role of steroids in Benoit’s rampage, and the whole story is likely to result in a lot of renewed attention towards wrestling that it really doesn’t need…