Delusions of importance

“Don’t you think that that’s why we ended up here [on TV]? It takes a slight delusion … to believe that what I have to say is worthy of people sitting there and paying money to listen to.”

“That seems natural to me.”

“It does to me too, but I don’t think it seems natural to everybody else.” -Jason Segel and Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, 9-9-14

I’ve always thought it was the height of arrogance to want to write. Who am I to think that what I have to say is so great that people should stop and listen? What gives me the right? Why am I so amazing?

I’m not. I’m nobody. No one gave me the right. It’s ridiculous to expect people to listen to me, and it’s more than a little arrogant. It’s unreasonable.

But it’s the unreasonable man who changes the world.

5 thoughts on “Delusions of importance

  1. I don’t think a realist is necessarily a cynic. A realist is someone who arrives to conclusion using logic. If the conclusion you arrive to is cynical, then you are a cynic who calls himself a realist. Humans like to look at negative side of things. We’re evolved to do so, because it helps us avoid danger.

    What it seems to me you are doing is by ignoring negativity, you are able to focus on doing what you want to do, rather than hesitating and getting no where.

    I consider myself a dreamer, and yet at the same time a realist. Is this contradictory? I don’t think so.

    But well, to quote you, it feels arrogant to expect other people to stop and listen. Who am I that you should listen to me? Maybe I’m just a sheltered Uni student who just don’t have the life experience. Young people are idealist aren’t they. Like me who thinks I can be a dreamer and a realist at the same time. You guys got all your dreams beaten out of you.

    • No dreams have been beaten out of me, not yet! But that’s a conscious decision, and one most people are unable or unwilling (almost always unwilling) to make.

      I reject the realist label is because pretty much everybody is realistic / logical to the extent they’re able. It’s unnecessary to mention. You can be realistic and still be an idealist or optimist or a dreamer, and most people are (more or less). I just find that those who say they’re realists are almost always cynics who won’t admit it, or younger people who haven’t realized it’s understood by anyone who isn’t a cynic. Well, unless you’re calling yourself a “starry-eyed idealist”, but then you’ve got bigger problems.

      • I reject the idea that everyone is a realist– because of inherent perceptive bias, and how many bat-shit crazy people are out there with beyond incomplete ability to think.

        The ‘extent to they’re able’ part matters too much in how it varies and expressses.

        I might be saying there is no true scotsman, but I think actual realism occurs very infrequently, and not really person / character specific but very narrowly topic specific.

        • That’s why I said “to the extent they’re able.” No one sets out to be illogical. We all try. (Well, almost everyone … don’t try to invalidate the argument on account of exceptions, because there are exceptions to every rule.)

          Humans aren’t very good at logic. We’re emotional creatures, and we all approach the world from our own worldviews that don’t necessarily intersect with reality. But within that worldview, nearly everyone tries to act realistic and logical to some degree.

          That’s why it’s pointless to call yourself a realist. It’s just the cynic’s shield. Just say if you bend toward optimism or cynicism and be done with it. There’s no reason to fool ourselves when we can be out doing great work, whether with a jaded eye or not.

          • The arguement is validated when the perceived exceptions are the actual norm.

            “But within that worldview, nearly everyone tries to act realistic and logical to some degree.”

            I disagree here– of course if you want to be so vague that ‘some degree’ means any degree, you’re building that arguement off exceptions too.

            People are broken, and internal logic doesn’t fly– not even within their own world view. Some of it is dynamic responses to a lot of different things, some hypocritical, of it just plain broken in how our brains work when perfectly functional, some broken functions, and most of it just inconsistent without a lot of work.

            Order, Logic and consistency takes effort. . . lots of it. That is not the case for a lot of humans and their interactions.

            I also disagree with this statement:
            “No one sets out to be illogical”

            The Dark Knight’s Alfred makes a nice speech about thieves that couldn’t be reasoned with:

            “Some men just want to watch the world burn”

            You could argue there’s an internal logic to their madness, but between patterned signal and noise… it is more likely noise. The hobo shouting across the streets is no genius. Technically possible? Maybe, but probable? No.

            Sometimes a nut is a nut. Given it takes effort to actually have logic, be consistent, and verify ideas and people more often take the path of least resistence, and don’t fact check, people are not logical nor realistic. Optimist? Pessimist? It doesn’t matter when they don’t measure the cup.

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