Recoil in disgust

Posted by – April 14, 2010

One downside of living near nature again (see previous episode of this blog in which we moved back to my creaking childhood château) is the nature. Ants… fucking EVERYWHERE. They discovered the pre-compost bucket we keep in the kitchen and went crazy about pear peelings. Moving the bucket around doesn’t fool them for very long. I guess I’d have to kill all the bucket-outbound ants to accomplish anything.

But I can deal with ants. They’re not really disgusting.

One thing I hear people disgustedly complain a lot about is stupid opinions. Sometimes they’ll even lament in their Facebook statuses that they’ve been reading the reader comments in web-newspaper (eh?) stories: the comments are like soooo ignorant and they totally shouldn’t have done it because now their head hurts and they feel bad.

I reckon this is because people like to cheat themselves about the world. They like to think that their social reference class is normal and everyone who’s different is either evil or ignorant. I get that, everybody hates diversity. But this convenient psychological defence can really blind you from what’s coming. If you find other people’s opinions so offensive that you have to protect yourself from them, you’re not going to have a very clear view of the world.

This phenomenon has been rather poignantly replayed in about every European country in recent decades with regards to immigration and multiculturalism. For a long time politicians and newspaper columnist took it as given that on this topic, 99% of everyone agrees and 1% are loser racists who nobody cares about. As time passed and the world kept changing, the loser racists became more and more relevant and suddenly it’s more like 40% – 60%, the politicians are scrambling to change their opinions and the columnists just can’t believe what happened because everyone they know is still right-thinking.

By the way, something similar is happening with anthropogenic global warming, although of course that’s not just a matter of opinion.

Anecdote: when I was a kid, I had to turn away from the tv when there was kissing because I found it to be extremely disgusting and unsanitary. I had to be told when it was over so I could look back. My mother was the same way about violence. Now both seem about as silly to me, although I guess the kissing aversion is really worse. Opinion aversion is probably even worse than that.

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