Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's true.

This is the result of many months of therapy. Well, okay, that's not quite accurate. It just so happens that when you undergo intense psychotherapy, there comes a time when you feel secure enough to explore your "shadow" aspects (to borrow a Jungian term). I mean, I think that I've been well aware of my faults for quite a long time, but these are things that people tend to hold at arm's length. They aren't really things we want to get all close and comfy with. When my sister got cancer, it was pretty obvious who was sticking around for the long haul and who wasn't. Cancer is confronting. It's frightening. It makes you vulnerable. Makes you cry. Makes you love too much. Everything is passion. It hurts. But god you feel alive.

So anyway, one of the things I've recently come to realize is that there is a conflict between my feelings of compassion for people and impatience for their stupidity. The two don't really go together. I mean, on the one hand, I like people, I want to be around other people, I care about people. On the other hand, people often say things so inane that I can't possibly respect them. And when I can't respect someone, it makes it hard to be compassionate.

Some people have no internal quarrel over this issue. They just shrug and say, "I hate people. End of story." But I have no interest in being a misanthrope. I have no interest in alienating people with what I think and say and with the way I act. I'm not so desperate for approval that I try to fit into a mold, but neither do I want to drive people away. Does that make sense?

Like I hate my landlord. I have to pay a lease where on top of the bloody rent, I pay all expenses that have anything to do with a property. I would rather not have a triple net lease and have been negotiating with him so we can both mutually agree to something and he won't even listen to me! Nevertheless I do not want him to hate me. I do not want him to think badly of me yet I cannot help the way I feel.

I guess that I'm convinced that there *must* be a way to retain compassion for my fellow humans even if they seem doorknob stupid to me. I mean really, what gives me the right to feel superior, anyway? In certain ways, I'm doorknob stupid too. I recently read an article about the latest proposals for measuring intelligence: there isn't some raw score that encompasses all of our brain power. There should be instead a number of areas of human knowledge measured. This seems logical to me; why should intelligence be any simpler than anything else? We should look at it in a whole-istic way.

For example, the person who is pushing this theory suggests that spatial intelligence and mathematical intelligence could be separately measured. And that artistic intelligence and lingual intelligence could be separately measured. There was something in there about social intelligence and intelligence of the "natural world" too, where a person could have an uncanny ability to see patterns and subtleties in nature that the rest of us don't notice. Anyway, the point is that while I may have a great capacity for assimilating trivia, it doesn't make me fucking Einstein. I'm horrible in the social department, and have a difficult time striking up conversations. So who am I to judge anybody else? Paleeze.

The thing is that I've spent a lot of time with people who act superior to everyone else. It bothers me, this fact. And it seems that these kind of people always make a show of deferring to the wisdom of people who are sharper than they are, perhaps for ego points, perhaps to compensate for a guilty conscience, perhaps to fill in the gaps in their own knowledge. Who knows. It's a game I learned to play, and it pisses me off. Once upon a time I wrote an article called "the ignorance quotient," where I suggested that intelligence should be measured by our awareness of how little we know. *shrug* We can know something and still behave as if we don't. More's the pity.