Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

The Man with No Guile

In my last entry I described how I concluded that two individuals are just assholes. This got me thinking about my father. Those of you who know my father probably find this connection bizarre -- if you ever hear my father say something intentionally mean that would be a major clue that you have slipped through a dimensional nexus into an alternate universe. But that's sort of the point.

By temperament, my father is far less judgmental than I am. He seems to hold the default assumption that everybody is well meaning, and that everybody tries their best to do the right thing at all times. This is certainly true of him, after all, why wouldn't it be true of everybody else? So with my father there's never a need to say something like, "I think he meant well here" -- since that would be a given.

Of course sometimes circumstances make it clear that somebody does not mean well, or that they are certainly not trying to do the right thing. How does my father respond to the cognitive dissonance that results? I have seen him say, with a certain sort of clarity, "That person's just an ass." There is none of the high-dudgeon "How could he? How dare she?" that might characterize my response -- those questions are answered before they are even asked.

Sometimes it's helpful for me to remember that it can be that simple.
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