ehowton (ehowton) wrote,
ehowton
ehowton

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Neutral Good


I see Neutral Good as an idealist with empirical tendencies. Idealism to me seems to be the philosophy which bridges empiricism (knowledge acquired through experience alone) and rationalism (acquiring knowledge through deductive reasoning alone) by pointing out that experience is subject to reason just as reason without the filter of experience is...well, dumb. While I personally lean more toward an empiricist view, I do so because I've proven it works by achieving success (read overall happiness with my life) through its application.

That's not to say that rationalists are all a bunch of miserable moops (despite the fact that all the ones I've met seem to spend a lot of time trying to prove to me how happy they are while everything else about them screams the opposite). Truly, its difficult to hear their words above the din of their own pathetic existence. C'est la vie. Being Neutral Good means not having to worry about other people's gentle insanities, those who bray aloud as an unconditioned response to intelligent questions. To me, they're background noise.

And while the pacifist Bertrand Russell fought idealism (think Lawful Neutral) he also stated, "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in 'Nam of course.

Earlier this week I read 6 Scientific Reasons People Drive Like Assholes and for the second time found that I learn a lot about myself, and others reading http://cracked.com. That's both surprising *and* scary. Today's lesson is on The Dunning-Kruger Effect - how it affects me, and am I part of the problem? I swear, the older I get, the more I learn. Here we go:
Have you ever known anyone who thought they were awesome at something when, in reality, they sucked very, very badly? Even when all their friends told them they sucked? And their mother told them they sucked?
Mostly, when I run into this, I'm amused. Hell, I'll sing badly in the shower and dance like no one's watching (when no one's...you know, actually watching) in my own living room when the music is on and and I'm in a great mood - which is almost always of course (see: empiricist, above). No, the only time I have a problem with the Dunning-Kruger Effect is when someone wishes to prove to me that they don't suck. That's when it becomes problematic. Emotionally-driven "proof." If I had a dime...

Before I turn my ire onto someone else, I want to ensure that my eyes are free from plank. This is always a smart move, and I wish more people did it - it minimizes the "Nuh-uh" defense, which I seem to come up against nearly daily in my normal online interactions with people. *SMFER* (Serious Mother-Fucking Eye-Roll). And because the Cracked article was about drivers, and because I do consider myself better than most, and this article outlined one possible (and logical - I'm a whore for logic) explanation, I had to consider that I myself suffered from this Effect:
This driver will vastly overestimate his own driving abilities, while underestimating or diminishing everyone else's, and he'll be as self-assured as possible while he's doing it...a person continually sees all other drivers as worse than they are, therefore making himself look better by comparison. This is coupled with a complete inability to self-evaluate, so they go on living in their own little fantasy world where they're the king of the road...
So yeah, that's pretty much me. Shocked, I had to analyze whether or not it was applicable.

I first thought about all the times I became perturbed at other drivers, and why. Root cause, as it turns out was environmental - failure to grasp the current landscape. When I'm in stop-and-go traffic, for instance, I don't text. I'll save that shit for when I'm on an empty Interstate. I either accelerate, or decelerate when merging (the fact that I even acknowledge merging as a valid driving maneuver I feel places me well outside this study) depending upon multiple points of input, and lastly - I always use my blinker. In my 23-years of driving, I've only changed lanes, turned, or exited once without indicating, and I don't remember the events surrounding it, just that it happened. I don't even talk on the phone much anymore while driving since 07 when drax0r & jesskd26 pointed out shortcomings I was unaware of. Those with DKE balk at the gall when its brought up. As far as I'm concerned, the masses out there in their cars are indeed, oblivious fools. I've talked with some of them about this, I've heard their reasonings, and found them lacking. So me? Not Dunning-Kruger.

Where I have noticed this "effect" if you will (like aspergers, I'm not entirely convinced you're not just a dickhead) mostly is in stating differing opinions online. For myself, its about a quarter that the reply is emotional (*sigh*), a quarter that different = wrong (*double-sigh*) and fully 50% that the other person thinks their inarticulate spew has actual, measurable meaning. I've wondered aloud in the past about buffoonery masquerading as intellect, and can now add DKE to that list. Cracked goes on to say,
Cornell psychologists Justin Kruger and David Dunning describe this phenomenon as someone being "unskilled and unaware," meaning they have a specific short circuit in their brains that makes them suck at figuring out they suck.
We all know who these people are - and to me, what makes it simultaneously ironically hysterical, and unimaginatively sad, is that they're oblivious its them. I reject the notion that happiness is sucking at knowing you suck (ignorance is bliss). Rational thought tells me that like akin to being caught in the Matrix, you have know that something is wrong.
Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.
What if you suspect its you? Ask yourself these two questions - Are you happy? Do people often approach you - complete strangers even - and ask you why you're always in a good mood? Or are you often frustrated? Is it others who frustrate you, or yourself? You busy yourself with rote tasks and call yourself fulfilled. Do more.

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.

--Attributed to John Wesley
Tags: character, happiness, ignorance, philosophy
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