Thursday, May 29, 2014

Aggressive passion

The new X-men movie came out last Friday and I am excited about it. Not so much for what it is but what it promises for a sequel - Apocalypse - one of my favorite comic villains this side of Darkseid. He is simple enough to sum up - immortal, all-powerful, violent and intellectual to a fault, with an obsession with the survival of the fittest. You know, evil god material. Like all evil gods he has scary henchmen on horsebacks too. Four of them, the four horsemen of Apocalypse - War, famine, pestilence and death. Inspired by that here are some recent thoughts on passive aggressives.

Actions do speak louder than words but inaction speaks volumes of its own. Especially pseudo-inaction where I do all but act. I pull the trigger and let you release it. Passive aggressiveness is a whole lot worse than actual encounters simply because it is hard to counter and contend with. The deal is simple, I bait you into action, you carry the weight of it and I simply watch it unravel and play my cards in slow retaliation. Except that is only good as a board game strategy; dealing with people in real life like that makes you a major dick.

There are several common examples of passive aggressives. I have four specific horsemen here.

War - There is not to much to understand about how a team works. Do your part and share the spoils. The essence is to always keep the focus on the team and not your personal share in the spoils. Unfortunately a team is viewed differently by one set of individuals - it is a bunch of people independently performing for a common leader. The cause isn't the team's cause, it is what your personal share is going to be. While it is not wrong to want your effort to be productive, it is a choice that needs to be made before you pick the team. A team, like in individual situations does not always guarantee spoils for every piece of effort, it only promises support, that is if everyone buys in. Unfortunately the horsemen of war cannot swallow that. They are not going to be the ones that take one for the team. They will draw the others to bite the bullet, take their share and eat it alone in their rotten holdings.

Pestilence - The next time you feel sympathy for the melancholy "nice guy" that just can't seem to catch a break for all the niceness he his doling out, slap yourself. Maybe twice. Good. Now slap Mr. Nice guy. And what is a nice guy anyway? Nice is what you call the weather outside and even that could change in a matter of minutes. Nice is most everyone when you are in a good mood. The ideal to work towards is kindness - where you do a good turn because good. These individuals instead will dole out a series of unrequited good turns and never let you forget about it. Of course they will do it passively, with easy heartbreaks, sad faces and guilt water splashed on your face. If you are doing a good turn expecting tangible returns in a very near future, you are doing it wrong; it breaks the concept of doing good. You are not kind, just entitled. And yes that makes you a bad person. I used to be one.

Famine - Some of these horsemen are summed up as fauxminists. There exists a related group of individuals that use odd terms to define themselves. The have faults but those apparently exist for a good cause. Like that serial killer who only kills the bad guys. Except that was fiction as is their defining term. Fiercely independent for example. I guess one could be independent. And fierce. But fiercely independent is where you are making the wrong mocktail. We are social animals that depend on each other by design. The closest someone could get to being completely independent is when they not only mange their living independently but also have extremely high emotional stability. Basically, you shouldn't be fierce about it if you want to be independent. Unless you are being assaulted in an alleyway. Where you should keep calm and pepper spray. 

Death - Here is my quick test for decency. Do you see race? No? Indecent. 
A lot of civilized society banks on the idea that they do not want to be part of the problem. And they ensure that by fitting the world design to easy boxes they could tick in quick time. It is easier to not see race at all. Or gender, or disability, or pain. Since empathy requires too much effort, they choose ignorance instead. But we are all defined by not just our choices but also our stories and backgrounds. It is all part of an identity and to ignore that is to take away our identity. It is invoking a convenient recess where false equivalences is established to keep their minds small while your defining factors are ignored. 

"What was your name again? OK, I'll just call you Bill"