My closest circle of friends are some of the best people in the world. They dance as if no one is watching, and party harder then a gang of street punks. They will go out of their ways to help a person in need. They are smart, successful, creative, talented, confident, outgoing and good looking. By “good looking”, I mean that they generally keep themselves fit, well groomed, and well dressed. They do this because they know that it makes a difference as to how you are treated in this world. And there I go…. Already, I’m offending people. I’m being an asshole.
You see, my friends are all very different individuals, which has made me wonder, from time to time, what it is that bonds us all together. I think the common factor is HONESTY. We speak truthfully, not just to each other, but also truthfully about the world. My friends also share in common that we are, more often then not, considered to be “ASSHOLES” by people outside of the circle. And that goes for both guys and girls. We are THE ASSHOLES.
Now, this has perplexed me for years. “Me? An asshole? … My friends? Assholes?”. It concerns me because I care deeply about humanity. I really do, and so do my friends. My favourite comedian, PAUL F TOMPKINS, once stated, quite simply, that “people are all there is”. All of the things that we hold dear, in life, are exclusive to human beings. Concepts like fairness, purpose, and compassion are the cornerstones of our beliefs, and yet none of these ideas exist in nature. Without people, our existence has no meaning, or reason. In this way, we have such a profound effect on each other. Knowing that this is true, we have the choice to make the world a better, more co-operative place for our fellow human beings, or to make it a more difficult one. This is why I get personally offended when I experience a person wasting their talents, making life more complicated for those around them or, in general, just being lazy. I often feel obliged to mention my disapproval to the individual, and logically explain why. I try to approach the situation as sympathetically as possible, voicing my thoughts as a concern, rather then an insult. In recent years, I’ve stopped bothering, for the most part. It has proven to be a waste of my time. My words fall upon closed ears and the only result is that I get labeled an Asshole.
Within my circle of friends, such criticisms are allowed to be made, but I’ve learned that, for most people, this isn’t the case. Far from it, in fact. For the past year, I’ve been making a conscious effort to be a better person, and have been attempting to model my behaviour after individuals that are considered to be “good”. At this point, I’m completely frustrated with it. Suffice to say, I haven’t liked what I’ve discovered about being “good”. It would seem that most people can’t handle the harsh realities of the world we share, so they attempt to gentrify their existence by living in a fantasy where everyone is positive, complimentary, and in agreement all the time. I could go along with it if the delusion stopped there, but it delves quite a bit deeper. It would seem that most long to live in a world where everyone is smart, and beautiful, and talented, and (here’s where things really get surreal) there are magical, invisible elves and wizards who love you and are there for you at all times, so you are never alone. These are grown adults who have decided that if everyone pretends the world is a perfect place, then it will be. These people, who exist in overwhelmingly great numbers, strive towards an impossible reality where everything is forever in their favour, and they will come together to chastise anything that opposes their ideals even if that thing is completely natural.
Before we go any further, I’d better make it clear that I’m not, in any way, saying that we should accept the world as it is and never try to change it. Quite to the contrary. Every person should make an effort to improve the lives of the people in their community and speak out against injustice. But change needs to be presented in plausible terms. One of my asshole friends is very vocal, on her social media, in support of Veganism, and against animal cruelty. Her crusade is one too often supported by some of the most delusional people around, but she’s not one of them. She’s constantly presenting logical arguments, quotes from acclaimed books, scientifically supported rebuttals, and tasty recipe suggestions. Her posts are the kind that actually change minds, or begin discussions that make a real difference in the way people live their lives. The “good”, on the other hand, will takes ridiculous stances like “every body type should be considered beautiful by everyone” and then go on to demonize anyone who expresses having a preference. No facts or figures will be presented, just lots of preaching, as if they are some sort of authority on the subject. On occasion, one of my asshole friends will make the mistake of trying to argue with these idealists, and it always ends up being a waste of time. The idealist’s beliefs are not grounded in reality so you can present all the relevant information you want and it won’t sway them, although it most certainly should.
I’m sure you can understand how perplexing it is, for a person such as myself who actually prizes truth, that most people claim they want honesty. The “good” will always tell you this. But that, in itself, is a twisted lie. It actually took me years, of being honest with people who claimed that’s what they desire, and then being labeled an Asshole for my comments, to figure this mess out. What most people mean, when they ask for honesty, is that they don’t want to discover they’ve been lied to. “Make sure you always tell me that I am wonderful and that everything around me is wonderful, and if your feelings are to the contrary, make sure that I never find out” is what they are actually saying. The “good” wish to be lied to. If we all agree on a lie then it becomes the truth. That’s essentially the idea here.
So what’s wrong with living a lie, you might ask. What’s so important about honesty anyways? The problem, my friends, is that if everyone is positive all the time, their compliments and praise mean NOTHING. Knowing that my Asshole friends will tell me if they disapprove of what I am doing means that it holds so much more weight when they do express approval. Translating this idea into the bigger picture of the world we live in, if everything is perfect all the time, it makes every accomplishment, every moment of joy, every fight won completely mundane. Who cares that you finally reached your goal? You were going to be told that you did great either way.
Now, I already know the silly argument that the “good” are going to make in defense of their delusion. It actually has nothing, directly, to do with what I’m writing, but it will get made anyways, so i might as well address it now. Somebody is going to tell me that every person’s perception of reality is different so you can’t make judgements about another person’s understanding of the world, because you are unable to see things through their eyes. My response will be that they are absolutely correct. That’s why we have Science, and logic, educational institutions, conversations, discussions, and debates, to determine, and then share our common wealth of knowledge about what we know to be universally true of our surroundings, and of ourselves. Such information must be always taken with a grain of salt, because it can be wrong, and can also be manipulated. It’s up to each individual to fact check all of the information he/she receives which, for the avid Asshole, becomes a constant and exciting journey of discovery, made largely through interactions with the people and the world around us. It also requires a great deal of MUTUAL RESPECT, to be open to consideration when somebody expresses views that oppose your own. You will learn so much more, and become quite wise, simply by allowing people to disagree with you.
I know I am in the severe minority in feeling this way, but I prefer to live in reality. It may be imperfect. It may, in fact, be quite harsh and unfair, but it is real. I appreciate the challenge that this world presents. It’s the crushing lows that make the soaring highs so worth while. As Satan puts it, in SOUTH PARK, THE MOVIE, “Without evil there could be no good so it must be good to be evil sometimes”. In this simple lyric, our big red lord of darkness has expressed the great duality of the human experience. To live without conflict is not to live at all. It’s pain that makes pleasure so overwhelmingly satisfying. It’s hunger that makes sustenance so rewarding. It’s loneliness that…. Well, I’m sure you get the picture, and by now I hope that you get my point. Yes, my friends are all assholes, but you’ll find that they are actually quite an accepting bunch. The next time you are met with an opposing view, instead of dismissing it, try having the respect to explore the reasons behind that view. If you discover you are comfortable with doing so, then you are welcome to join us. We sure do have a lot of fun, and we help raise each other up too. As for the “good”, you can keep your phony existence. I’d rather be living life to the fullest and learning as much as I can during my short time here.
I’d rather be one of THE ASSHOLES.
If you’ve made it all the way down to the bottom of this article, it probably means that we are like-minded individuals. Congratulations! You’re an asshole. Be prideful of your honest nature, and connection with reality and the natural world. Let’s celebrate with a song. I hope you won’t find it too painfully obvious.
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Thank you for reading.