The Average Mentality?

Someone said the typical person does not think at all about the common good, the point of view of anyone else, or doing what is right. They only do what they want, and they are so oblivious to the existence of any other way of operating that they do not realize that this is what they are doing.

I thought this was unnecessarily sour until I heard a different remark. It was in reference to an extremely frivolous fantasy expressed by me, namely that if I could afford it, I would definitely have expensive rejuvenating facials and fill my wrinkles in. I would do this, I said, because having been frozen and distorted for a long time due to Reeducation, I have not done all of the things I would have liked to by now. I want an extension on life therefore and I would acccept both real and artificial extensions on youth and health.

The response: you cannot blame your frozenness on Reeducation! My question: do you mean I have no right to desire an extension on life? I found it very interesting that the opportunity was taken to assume that my topic was blame. Yet it seems people assume one is seeking ways to do this. They appear to have a deep desire to discover others placing blame, and to preach about this.

I wonder to what extent this has to do with the delight people take in police shows. “Do you admit…? You must take responsibility…!” they bleat. I wonder whether this is why they enjoy discussing the deficiencies of  “welfare mothers”.

Perhaps the person first cited here has a point. What, if anything, can one make of all of these neuroses, and what, if anything, do they have to do with the psychologies of capitalism?


4 thoughts on “The Average Mentality?

  1. This is of course closely related to something we have discussed at length here before, namely, the idea that everything is fine except oneself. If anything bad happens, it is because one has caused it, attracted it, or perceived it when one should not have. So people confuse a critical viewpoint or even a realistic one with “blame,” at the same time as they themselves are always seeking opportunities to preach. ?

  2. It seems that some are particularly keen to preach about a “victim mentality”. I put this down to the rigidity of their own character structure, which is tied in closely with a felt need for perfection. I think what such a person is saying is that it is painful not to be perfect, and that we all lament the imperfections in our situation, but that in a practical sense, there is nothing we can do about the reality of our imperfectability (and the imperfectability of others). Consequently, to point out the shortfalls of others or our situations is to fall into “victim mentality”.

    It seems that the structure of this argument is a red herring logical fallacy.

    Just because most situations are not 100 percent perfect (whatever that means!) doesn’t mean that problems cannot be addressed. It is very unclear what the one who brings the judgement of “victim mentality” has in mind, anyway, in terms of what they think is being objected against. As I said, it seems to have something to do with a notion of there being imperfection (which is taken in its most convenient and abstract sense) set up against a notion of perfection (also in a completely abstract sense). In any possible situation, the two will never be the same abstractions, so the concrete facts that were brought up to be addressed can easily be dismissed as having no relevance to the broader notion of these contending abstractions.

  3. I think a classless society would result in a significant reduction in neurotic behaviour. Imagine a world where, ‘hooray for me, devil take the hindmost’ wasn’t the general operating principle between humans. As it is now, I must stab you in the back before you stab me as we fight to sell our skills and time to the highest bidder………and the seller must pay the price of the sale.

  4. Mike — I agree. And I note that trying to figure out how to be effective at work (the question of thinking in terms of personalisms vs. professional standards is at hand for us now, here, but that is just about the movement TO capitalism I suspect) and in life seems really to be trying to figure out how best to adjust to savage capitalism or, at times, how best to put a human face/mask upon it.

    Jennifer — yes indeed, that’s very perceptive. And the “nothing/nobody is perfect” response is SO evasive (and SO condescending, and SO imperious).

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