Tag Archives: guy

Deja Vu Post: Are People Only As Nice As They Need To Be To Get What They Want?

4 Dec

Yes.

Oh, I was dying to just end it there. Wouldn’t that have been awesome? But I guess I should explain what I mean a little more.

It hasn’t been proven, but I believe that people learn to act either dominantly or passively as a response to their environment. You learn your place in society. Can I get stuff by demanding it, by taking it, or by being given it? Whichever one works is the one you stick with.

Were your parents authoritative, and controlling? Then you’ll be one of those “nice” guys. You will do so because you’re neurotic and still unconsciously fearful of repercussions. Did your mother wait on you hand and foot? Then you’ll expect all women to give you things if you demand it. Did you grow up rich and privileged? Then you take what you want from the lesser folks.

This seems logical, but for some reason, most people have a hard time deviating from standard definitions of good and evil. It’s so much easier when people fall into pre-established categories. But people aren’t evil or good by nature. What they are is adaptive. Can I survive by smacking this guy? No. This guy? Yes. The “super-nice” emotional guy might be a doormat to an adult, but a tyrant to his children. These are all learned. There is no choice involved.

What about the guy who feels like beating/molesting a child, and stops himself for no other reason than because God is watching? This man believes he’ll receive a super-smack in the afterlife. Choosing to forgo a bar of delicious chocolate from Chernobyl may be smart, but it’s not righteous.

The one I would call a ‘Tzaddik’, is someone who sees himself as part of a larger body. The deeper theologies, such as Kabbalah, stress this idea. Moshe saw himself as part of Israel, ‘one with nature’, so to speak. When Hashem told him he’ll wipe Israel out, and rebuild with just him, Moshe said no, we are all one, part of each other, part of creation, part of God.

This is a higher level, of course, but is a righteous man on a different plane of existence, acting with some ethereal value like ‘altruism’? I don’t think so. He has so-called ‘Daas Elyon’, elevated understanding. His mind sees the seemingly differentiated parts of the world from a larger perspective. But he still acts kindly because he sees it as helping himself. We are all connected, we are all one, therefore I am you. I will do a Mitzva because I am one with God, I am God.

I’ll point out a practical difference to illustrate my point. If I am a good Christian with Daas Elyon, living in the American South in 1850, I might fight for the rights of every White man, and own Black slaves. That’s because black people are not part of me. They are lower. I may feel that they are deserving of the same respect and good treatment as other animals by being part of the larger circle of life that I am, but they don’t have the ‘human soul’ that makes me see other white men as part of me.

The tzaddik, then, doesn’t operate on a different playing field. He has accepted certain ideas as truths that allow him to play the game differently, relative to how much of these elevated truths he has accepted. I believe the same idea can be applied to God as well. We believe He takes an active role in us because he cares about us. But He cares about us because we are Him.

Note: I originally posted this a while ago (June 5th, to be exact), so it’s a little different in style than what I’d write today, but the topic just came up in the comments on the Two Angels post, and I figured I’d post it again. Also, this was one of my earlier posts, when I didn’t have a lot of readers, so about 10 people total have read this piece on my site. I think I might start reposting some of my earlier posts that I thought were good when I wrote them, but didn’t get many views.

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Are people only as nice as they need to be to get stuff?

5 Jun

Yes.

 

 

Oh, I was dying to just end it there. Wouldn’t that have been awesome? But I guess I should explain and add some exceptions to it.

It hasn’t been proven, but I believe that people learn to act either dominantly or passively as a response to their environment. You learn your place in society. Can I get stuff by demanding it, by taking it, or by being given it? Whichever one works is the one you stick with.

Were your parents authoritative, and controlling? Then you’ll be one of those “nice” guys. You will do so because you’re neurotic and still unconsciously fearful of repercussions. Did your mother wait on you hand and foot? Then you’ll expect all women to give you things if you demand it. Did you grow up rich and privileged? Then you take what you want from the lesser folks.

This seems logical, but for some reason, most people have a hard time deviating from standard definitions of good and evil. It’s so much easier when people fall into pre-established categories. But people aren’t evil or good by nature. What they are is adaptive. Can I survive by smacking this guy? No. This guy? Yes. The “super-nice” emotional guy might be a doormat to an adult, but a tyrant to his children. These are all learned. There is no choice involved.

What about the guy who feels like beating/molesting a child, and stops himself for no other reason than because God is watching? This man believes he’ll receive a super-smack in the afterlife. Choosing to forgo a bar of delicious chocolate from Chernobyl may be smart, but it’s not righteous.

The one I would call a ‘Tzaddik’, is someone who sees himself as part of a larger body. The deeper theologies, such as Kabbalah, stress this idea. Moshe saw himself as part of Israel, ‘one with nature’, so to speak. When Hashem told him he’ll wipe Israel out, and rebuild with just him, Moshe said no, we are all one, part of each other, part of creation, part of God.

This is a higher level, of course, but is a righteous man on a different plane of existence, acting with some ethereal value like ‘altruism’? I don’t think so. He has so-called ‘Daas Elyon’, elevated understanding. His mind sees the seemingly differentiated parts of the world from a larger perspective. But he still acts kindly because he sees it as helping himself. We are all connected, we are all one, therefore I am you. I will do a Mitzva because I am one with God, I am God.

I’ll point out a practical difference to illustrate my point. If I am a good Christian with Daas Elyon, living in the American South in 1850, I might fight for the rights of every White man, and own Black slaves. That’s because black people are not part of me. They are lower. I may feel that they are deserving of the same respect and good treatment as other animals by being part of the larger circle of life that I am, but they don’t have the ‘human soul’ that makes me see other white men as part of me.

The tzaddik, then, doesn’t operate on a different playing field. He has accepted certain ideas as truths that allow him to play the game differently, relative to how much of these elevated truths he has accepted. I believe the same idea can be applied to God as well. We believe He takes an active role in us because he cares about us. But He cares about us because we are Him.

(Cross-posted on Dovbear)

A Yeshivish Memorial Day Story

3 Jun

In honor of our brave men and women fighting overseas, at 1:30 AM Sunday night, my close friend ran away from a fight. Luckily, I was on the phone with him at the time, so I was able to laugh my ass off at him.

It went down like this. He was outside of his Yeshiva talking to me, when this guy drives by, and out of the blue, honks at him and gives him the finger. WTF, right? So my friend (let’s call him Yossi), being a 20-something yeshiva guy, runs after the car as fast as he can to show him who’s boss. Unfortunately, the light turns red and the guy stops. Now Yossi is charging at him, and the guy, stopped, blows his horn at him again and waves him on.  At this point, Yossi stops short and runs the other way. This is such awesome typical Yeshiva guy behavior, but the conversation that followed Yossi telling me what happened is pretty clutch too:

Yossi: I saw another guy in the car. I’m almost positive. Who stays put when someone charges at him?

Me: He was probably drinking with that other guy. It’s 1:30 AM and he’s cursing out the window. He’s drunk tough.

That’s right. Shoot. I always imagined myself not running away from a fight. Wait, this happened before. I ran away from a couple of guys once before.

And your wussiness was still a shock to you now? So don’t worry. Just don’t think about it and that combination of denial and tons of movies will build up your self-esteem again.

I can’t believe I just did that. Wait, I think my balls just receded into my body. Yeah, they’re gone.

Oh, come on. Everyone does that. So you’re not a man. Who is? The important thing is you tried. He just called your bluff. Just recognize you’re a wimp and work on your bullshit game better.

I’m not going to be able to exercise now.

You’re not gonna be able to get it up for a few days either.

We hung up a little bit later, and I joke/insult him through a text. He sends back (I’m copying directly from my phone):

-Y: I’m at a really precarious pt in my life right now, n ur making jokes?

-Y: Its night also. I’m much more brave in the sunlight, darkness saps my strength.

-Me: Ya sorry. It was very rude. girls are very sensitive.

For some reason, I’m laughing really hard, so I send him:

-Me: :))))))))))))))))

-Y: Don’t make fun, they’re receding as we speak.

-I found two little balls rolling down the street w little sticks and sacks over their shoulders. R they urs?

NO! But can u pls mail them 2 my yeshiva

-Hey u know what, hes prob going home to some broken down house to be with his slutty girlfriend while ur in a big time yeshiva. Wait thats worse again for you! Hahahahaha!

-STFU! THERE WERE LIKE 6 GUYS IN THAT CAR AND SEVEN OF THEM WERE BLACK!

-U know im not gonna b able to go to sleep tonight. This is keeping me up laughing too hard at u

-Gnight

-Next time I’ll b there w u and we’ll get within 10 ft bfore we run like little girls

-Lol. Definitely. Maybe even seven feet.