I am somebody’s asshole and someone’s best friend is mine. Select a large enough group, and some will be assholes.
The problem with assholes isn’t the asshole’s fault. The problem is, like sinking paper boats with pennies, eventually the boat will sink.
The answer to an asshole is not to ignore the asshole, just as we know, deep down, the opposite option, of destroying the asshole, while initially very satisfying, is not the answer either. Gandhi wasn’t known for clobbering fools.
The answer, as far as I see it, is to not lose self-pride in the face of an asshole. And of course, just like anything that is right, it is always the most difficult thing to do. Like bashing in your own head with a shovel.
To face ignorance beyond words. And yet, to not lose one’s cool—to reserve self-respect is the utmost goal. Difficult, yes. Supremely so. At least until respect becomes habitual.
What is the best way to have self-love? It’s not always a bottle of lotion, a box of Kleenex. A good way to gain self-respect is to value what your belief in a subjective good, a subjective truth, subjective justice is.
That’s the easy part.
The hard part’s when those beliefs become inevitably tested. It’s easy to get defensive, not willing mentally to criticize one’s identity structure. This is why beliefs must be constantly examined, like scientific experiments, to ascertain truth. By subjecting beliefs to rigorous doubt, surviving beliefs will come out stronger.
Of course, most assholes don’t submit their views to rigorous doubt. Which is why they are assholes. And why should they? If they can survive without reason, why bother? Pain comes for those reasonable and unreasonable equally. The most impartial judge and unbiased journalist ever. Why shouldn’t assholes be happy, living in their assholish fantasy land?
Because they affect others.
And this offends our sense of justice.
However, the world is not just.
And yet, it is.
Again, what affects us negatively may affect others positively. We don’t usually get to decide.
A Buddhist might say, “The asshole is within.”
The asshole is a creation of the mind, a distinction of personal taste. The asshole does not exist as an entity of an external world. Therefore, avoid anger, avoid annoyance, the asshole disappears. The asshole does not exist.
Now if only I could get it right.