I always have a laugh when people say that they are “good.” As if they have they don’t have a shred of selfishness in them. And of course, when someone says this, I don’t believe a word they say. Whenever someone convinces me that they are a “good person” I immediately start thinking of things they do to use people. I think of things that they say and do to win people over (especially people they are attracted to).
I think of things they would do to feel good at the expense of others. And most of the time, I need to resist the temptation to be a devil’s advocate towards these people.
Fortunately, most of the people I interact with and am connected to are not like this. They are aware of the selfish things they do, and know that they are good AND bad, depending on circumstances. That’s how most people are. Yet the real stupid ones will continue to convince themselves, and others, that they are still good, despite the fact that they just did something selfish.
To provide a clear example, I intend to make these articles perfect, compile them into a book, and then sell the book to people. Yes, the day is fast approaching where you’ll need to pay for some of my really good content, rendering almost everything on this blog draft writing of sorts. Is this something a good person would do? A good person would just give everything away for free, right?
So, the person who is never bad is running from something. We are all good and bad, whether we like it or not. As the great George Carlin said: “Pacifism is a nice idea, but it can get you killed. We aren’t there yet folks: Evolution is slow, smallpox is fast.”
Recently, I came across this article that kind of inspired me to finally draw some separations between the actions we take. Now the guy who wrote that article admits that he is a walking macho man stereotype. He’s an overgrown fraternity guy who bleeds testosterone and he doesn’t care. He preaches about being “the bad guy” all the time, yet for all the things he admits to, he hasn’t broken any laws or done anything that we think is truly “bad.” In fact, judging from all the books he has written to help people, I’d say he’s done a lot of good things.
There is clearly a major difference between good, bad, evil, and a concept I call “open malice.” I think it is time to explore this dichotomy and finally expose these “good people” for what they really are.
First of all, good and bad are completely subjective terms. This is part of a concept called moral relativism. Something is only bad if the consensus says it is bad. Say I witness the girl I’m going out with being groped and grabbed. She is clearly uncomfortable. Seeing as she is a kindred spirit of mine (I protect anyone important to me, not just lovers), I walk up to the guy and beat him up. Seeing this, someone calls the authorities.
The authorities come, and both of us get arrested for assault. We both did things that, according to the law, are bad. But because I was protecting someone, I did something good. So to complicated this even further, most people would also agree that because I helped someone who was in trouble, I did something good.
This is why I also laugh when someone says that they are bad. Being bad just means you are selfish. We all have to be selfish at some point in our lives. If you are never selfish, you simply are not alive. There’s a big difference between what we call bad and evil.
Doing something bad for a good cause is not evil. Being selfish is not as evil as we all like to think it is. When you purposely do something bad and are selfish all the time, which is also not possible, that is when you are evil. Why is it not possible to be selfish all the time? Our culture, full of good people who do bad things and bad people who do good things, simply won’t allow it. If you tried to help one person, even with the expectation of them doing something for you in the future, it means you have divorced yourself from being selfish even for just one moment.
Now let’s take this even deeper. There are some people who inconvenience others, and even themselves just for the sake of inconveniencing someone. These are people who ignore rules, ignore laws, and wish to create their own nihilistic monolith. Collectivist professor Cornel West calls this “Lived Nihilism.” I call it something a little more accurate: “Open Maliciousness.”
It is not easy to be openly malicious. To be openly malicious, you need to choose actions that you know will be to everyone’s detriment, including yourself. Then you must carry out those actions without any remorse. Lastly, you must resist the temptation to let others celebrate your actions and, in fact, aim to inconvenience them as well. Its that “including yourself” part that is difficult. On an individual level, the closest person I have seen do this is shock rocker GG Allin, who would openly beat up his fans at shows.
The “evil” people we read about? Who are they inconveniencing? They are making life bad for someone, yes, but nearly all the time they do this to make life good for themselves (or a person or group who they believe they are protecting). This is what nobody understands about criminals. Criminals are bad, yes. They are evil, sure. But they are not as malicious as many believe. They do a lot of selfish things but that’s all they do. They aren’t destructive.
In order to be truly destructive, you must be able to inconvenience everyone around you, including yourself. That is what it means to be openly malicious. This is not easy to do, and the only real life examples of this that I have seen are suicide bombers and other mass murderers–who end their own lives after ending the lives of others.
Can you be openly malicious?
Not many people have the capacity to answer this question. And even fewer have the ability to be openly malicious. They think they can be, so they do stupid things like breaking the law. Or “trolling” people on the internet. Those things may be bad, it could possibly be evil, but is it openly malicious? Not really.
For example, when you break the law you usually break the rules of society so you can get something out of it. I once went 9 months without car insurance, meaning I was breaking the law when driving. I got something out of that–I went 9 months without having to pay for insurance. When I mess with collectivists on the internet, I get a rise out of them and it makes me laugh. Neither act is openly malicious; I’m acting at the expense of others…somewhat, but not acting at the expense of others as well as myself.
Again, to be openly malicious, you must do things at the expense of others and yourself. It is easy to have fun at the expense of others and if we’re being really honest, it is a rite of passage to do this. If innocent selfishness is what is considered “bad” or “evil,” then everyone should be “bad.” Selfishness is what makes the world go around. “Bad” creates progress. If you think you can be unselfish all the time, go ahead and try. You won’t be able to do it. At least not for a few days. And the reverse is true: you simply will not be able to be selfish all the time. You’ll stop yourself eventually.
If you actually put forth an effort to be selfish without regard for anything except yourself, and you consistently do this, then congratulations, you’re evil, I guess. Maybe it will lead to a cool phase in your life, maybe not. Just doing bad things consistently does not automatically lead to success or failure. Let’s go back to that article about being bad. The author of it, Victor Pride, claims he’s bad. He is not. Sometimes he is bad, sometimes he is not. If he was truly a bad person, he wouldn’t have written all those books to try to help people.
A truly bad or evil person generally does not create or destroy. The truly openly malicious person is a parasite. He or she consumes, spectates, sometimes destroys, but always makes life difficult for everyone including them. Because of this, there are no truly “bad” people in the world. Perhaps one comes around every once in a blue moon, and because their actions are so profound, they become spectacles.
So let’s get back to being openly malicious. If a bad or evil person consumes, spectates, and makes life difficult for everyone except themselves, then the openly malicious person makes life difficult for everyone and seeks only to destroy everything around them, themselves included. Watch for this to become a disturbing trend, as we are on the cusp of entering a culture where the constant high school mentality brought on by social networking will corner people into becoming openly malicious.
Being openly malicious, at the moment, is rare. In the coming decades, it will be commonplace. Because although social media is (kind of) avoidable now, it will not be in the future. Prepare.
So now let’s use this theory to reveal the malicious nature of people who claim that they are good all the time. A nice person’s angle is to make their own life difficult with the expectation that whoever they made their life difficult for will do something for them. Unless they do not have those kinds of expectations (which is rare), that is truly malicious, although they are not open about it.
Am I arguing that anyone who does anything good has some kind of secret evil plan? Not really. I’m not arguing that bad people are nothing but a ball of malice either. There is always a gray area. The sharpest individuals explore this gray area and embrace it.
Those who seek openly malicious behavior? Those are the ones who see in black and white. We are slowly approaching a narrative where thinking in gray areas and treating things on a case-by-case basis will be seen as malicious by the masses.
Openly malicious behavior is becoming a great temptation. Sometime next year, I intend to write a book specifically why it is becoming a temptation, and how you can resist it. You’ll want to be on the lookout for that.