Aholes Among Us
Humans have not changed, except for the little changes that we have wrought on our own environment, usually called technological progress, which then affects us in a feedback loop. But basically, humans are the same as they have always been.
We want to stay alive, we like fat and sweets, we prefer our tribe, and we share values, even if subconsciously. I’m not talking here about naked apes/gorillas in the mist who supposedly preceded what we call humans, I’m talking about humans-the same humans you see milling about the mall. They have not changed much since ‘modern’ humans began.
We desire to stay alive and from that perfectly legitimate desire comes everything we call good about humans: empathy, compassion, sharing, cooperation, loyalty, love, healthy self-image, the desire to act, the tools to obtain resources to maintain life. If we did not desire, above all, to stay alive on this planet we call home, we would have disappeared long ago, perished in the loins of our great-great (x 300) grandparents.
But twist, inflate and push the same good desire to the far end of the spectrum and thence comes everything we consider bad about humans: selfishness, cruelty, status-seeking, the will to dominate and resource-hoarding. Both the good and the bad tendencies have existed from the beginning and still exist today. The cause of man’s inhumanity to man is not religion, communism, capitalism, or any other ism. What all these isms have in common throughout the millennia is that they have been invented by human beings.
The consistently bad humans I will call Aholes: totally selfish individuals who want what they want when they want it no matter who gets hurt. They alone matter, no one and nothing else. Not nature, not others, not even their family members (unless they view them as an extension of their own superior selves.)
I call this Je’s Law of Inevitable Aholes: for every 100 humans, about 4 are inevitably Aholes. This applies to New Guinea natives, Bedouins herding sheep, residents of New York City or dairy farmers in the Swiss Alps-everybody, always. Think about it, you know it’s true.
Some tell me the 4 out of 100 figure is too low, because everyone on their job or Air Force base is an Ahole (except, of course, themselves.) But I’m saying TOTALLY selfish, consistently Aholes. Face it, we can all exhibit Aholish behavior now and then, as well as noble behavior. The Ahole is stuck always behaving as an Ahole. Aholes inevitably crop up among Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, the illiterate, professors, men, women-any and all humans. No group has a monopoly on Aholes, nor is any group Ahole-free. I admit the percentage among the OOTS (Oligarchs On Top) like CEOs, Senators, Mafia dons and such may be higher in Aholes because selfish people who wish to dominate others relentlessly gravitate to positions of power like tadpoles to algae.
One difference between today and our ancient ancestors may be that we tolerate the extreme, twisted humans, label them “sick” with mental health diagnoses (malignant narcissists, sociopaths) and make excuses for them: They had a bad childhood, they were bullied, they were poor, etc. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors banished it’s Aholes to the wilderness, virtually a death sentence. But today the Ahole, even if pursued by police, can cross a border, get fake papers and carry on with a new pool of prey.
Look at an extended family of hunter-gatherers. They are loyal to their tribe, they care about the members of their tribe, they want the members of their tribe to stay alive. Understandable, and still the case. We just construct our own tribes now, like Yuppies, redneck gator hunters, or Yacht Club members.
Since people are social beings, tribe members care for each other, share, cooperate, seek to be important to the group, and hunt and gather resources to maintain life. Should one selfish Ahole crop up among ancient hunter-gatherers, and I’m sure that happened, they threw that one out of the tribe, usually after warnings. Today we elect them president.