I laugh and sleep
I roll in thunder
I steal and plunder
I twitch, I grow, uh-huh
Sometimes I wonder
My mind so slow
I gotta hold on
To my disgust"
KMFDM - Disgust
"He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool - shun him;
He who knows not and knows he knows not, he is simple - teach him;
He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep - wake him;
He who knows and knows he knows, he is wise - follow him!"
Cited by Isabel Burton in The Life of Sir Richard F. Burton as "Arab proverb"
- attributed alternately as an Arabian proverb, a Sanskrit proverb, a Persian proverb or to Omar Khayyam or to Confucius or to hell knows how many other sources
"For the pusillanimous person is worthy of goods, but deprives himself of the goods he is worthy of, and would seem to have something bad in him because he does not think he is worthy of the goods. Indeed he would seem not to know himself; for if he did, he would aim at the things he is worthy of, since they are goods. For all that, such people seem hesitant rather than foolish. But this belief of theirs actually seems to make them worse. For each sort of person seeks what [he thinks] he is worth; and these people hold back from fine actions and practices, and equally from external goods, because they think they are unworthy of them.
Vain people, by contrast, are foolish and do not know themselves, and they make this obvious. For they undertake commonly honored exploits, but are not worthy of them, and then they are found out. They adorn themselves with clothes and ostentatious style and that sort of thing; and since they want everyone to know how fortunate they are, they talk about it, thinking it will bring them honor."
Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics
"For today the petty people have become lord and master: they all preach submission and acquiescence and prudence and diligence and consideration and the long et cetera of petty virtues. What is womanish, what stems from slavishness and especially from the mob hotchpotch, that now wants to become master of mankind's entire destiny. Oh, disgust, disgust, disgust!"
Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"'Pusillanimous' captures the opposition to 'magnanimous' suggested by the Greek [...] 'Magnanimity' is the traditional Latinized form of megalopsuchia (lit. 'having a great soul') [...] Aristotle's virtue of magnanimity is often taken to be opposed to the Christian virtue of humility. But it is not clearly correct to oppose the two virtues. Aristotle certainly opposes lying about one's own merits or other people's, if one acts from a desire to ingratiate oneself with others"
Terence Irwin, translator's notes to Nicomachean ethics
"He continued to congratulate the citizens of Earth on their successful contact with another planet, another race. He managed to imply that the exploit was the personal accomplishment of every citizen, that any one of them could have led the expedition had he not been busy with serious work - and that he, Secretary Douglas, had been their humble instrument to work their will. The notions were never stated baldly, the assumption being that the common man was the equal of anyone and better than most - and that good old Joe Douglas embodied the common man. Even his mussed cravat and cowlicked hair had a 'just folks' quality."
Robert A. Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land
"That immortal ass 'the average man' sees with nothing but his eyes. To him a planet or a star is only a point of light - a bright dot, a golden fly-speck on 'the sky.' [...] Let us leave him snoring pigly in his blankets and turn to other themes, not forgetting that he is our lawful ruler, nor permitted to forget the insupportable effects of his ferocious rule."
Ambrose Bierce - The Moon in Letters
"Your fellow players reported you for abusive language multiple times."
Thus Blizzard Entertainment's form letter chooses to inform me of my latest suspension from Heroes of the Storm. I've also been permanently banned from League of Legends, Smite, Paragon (in the less than a year it was actually up) and Sins of a Dark Age. Yup, I got banned from vaporware.
I confess special pride in that one. Not many people can extract paid programmer worktime to get personally banned from something never to be.
The lack of a permaban from Prime World likely stems from a lack of English-speaking Russkie game masters who could actually read my insults to their ambiguously noble heritage. I've also been sanctioned in The Secret World, The Lord of the Rings Online and other online games and been kicked out of more guilds than I care to remember for my intolerance of human stupidity. According to the three Secret World cabals who booted me in the span of two weeks last year, I'm "totally negative" and "super pompous" and "such a candy ass" - and if I'm not mistaken, that combination of traits qualifies me as a philosopher. Or at the very least "Mr. Perspective" as a lone sympathetic ear dubbed me on a guild forum. That bunch not only kicked me out but took the time to hunt down my character and backstabbed me while I was still in their guild.
Online games provide a tidy microcosm for human behavior. First off, they used to be at least partly about worthy exploits, about challenging oneself and out-doing others. Not since 2005. Vanity's the name of the game. Easy "achievements" and plenty of status symbols obscure any hints of worthwhile gameplay to make competition safe for those unworthy of commonly honored exploits.
Second, online games are filled with griefers openly sabotaging their teams. It's an effortless process: just sit back and refuse to cooperate. Yet the only people who will reliably get punished are the victims who use "abusive language" against those who are, in context, causing actual material harm.
Third, companies make a big show of engaging in the slacktivism of letting automated algorithms ban players based on chat transcripts. Or better yet, on sheer unpopularity as represented by the number of reports one receives. Pontius Pilate can always claim it was the people ("your fellow players" a.k.a. that immortal ass "the average man") who chose Barabbas.
Fourth, the rabble will reliably choose Barabbas every single time. They love to be led to an easy answer. That's what makes cheap demagoguery so useful a tool of social control. Griefers are a problem, sure, but every single time I try to stand up to a bully and impose fairness I've found all others will bend over backwards to defend the bully from the grim spectre of fair-play. To the point, mind you, of sacrificing their own free choice to appease the bully's capriciousness.
This post began not with online games but with Aristotle. The word "megalopsuchos" reminded me that I had never looked up the context of another famous appellation for "great soul" - maha atma. Wikipedia assures me (albeit with few citations to back it up) that "The spiritual lore of India speaks about the existence of this congruence in great people ("Mahatma") through the expression "Manassekam, Vachassekam, Karmanyekam Mahaatmanam"" Unity of thought, word and deed. Integrity. A concept which crops up with some regularity in every society advanced enough for formal interactions beyond kinship groups - and one which is ignored just as regularly.
Great minds can be wrong. Folklore is replete with the malformed half-thoughts of inferior intellects, further dulled by grinding against the lowest-common-denominator for centuries on end. Religious pablum even more so. However, when finding the same train of thought ambling across time and space, media and cultures, it may very well be either a big lie or a big truth.
Our contemporary culture glorifies pusillanimity. We acknowledge no sin greater than giving the devil his due, except perhaps the devil demanding it himself. We grow up indoctrinated into white guilt, male guilt, hetero guilt, and don't you even dare admit you're not sexually attracted to obesity! Above all we must never acknowledge superior intellect. We're forced to spend every single day pretending to believe in the fundamental equality of retards, cretins, morons, imbeciles, jocks and reality TV fans to thinking beings. We oscillate wildly between pusillanimity and vanity, self-flagellating one minute over our ancestors' sins then beating our chests the next over the self-righteousness of our sexual preferences.
Western society has grown unbearably slavish. It's a culture of over-socialized endorphin addicts constantly begging each other for their next fix of social approval. Sure, it may seem unfair to use online games as an example. Some of those players are sadists, morally opposed to fairness from the start. Some are children, incapable of ethical reasoning. Some may be new to the game and uncertain of correct choices. Yet in every single game lobby there will be at least one other of you who know you're being mistreated but would rather roll over and take it instead of calling it out... because you cannot stand to have others dislike you, even for a half hour, even for a minute, even across cyberspace in a casual activity. If you can't find your spine even on the internet, you've probably misplaced it in real life a long time ago.
You like to be liked. You like it so much that you're willing to downplay your own intelligence and accept any and all abuse so long as it gets you a pat on the head. And every time a feminist bullies you over some imaginary original sin of masculinity, you meekly take the punch. Every time muslims blow up another restaurant, you make excuses for them. Every time christians shut down another abortion clinic, you make excuses for their tyranny. Every time educational standards are lowered in order to give mongoloids diplomas, you pat them on their pinheads and hand Homer Simpson the keys to the nuclear power plant. Every time adolescent attention-whores try to police your speech, making you call "them" "uncle" you do so, for fear of bringing offense. Every time fatcats rip you off, you call it free enterprise and supporting the economy. Every time your coworker is given time off because he chose to saddle himself with a litter of offspring, you meekly shrug and shoulder his workload. Every time your country invades another you wave a flag and join the patriotic circle-jerk. Every time your home town sports team wins a match, you cheer. You've never watched them, but you cheer along with the crowd anyway. You like to be liked, and you've never even thought about it. Not once. Every single fucking time.
"He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep - wake him"
Better yet wake yourself. Instead of making some bullshit New Year's resolution this year that you'll just break by mid-January, resolve instead to give yourself some time alone. Play a single-player game instead of an online one, and take stock of your own ability, preferences and actions. Pass on the next sports game and go watch some documentary about Ancient Greek contests instead, and let yourself think about it. Alone. Listen to some music that you've always wanted to try, instead of just the stuff approved by your wife. Cancel your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Buy yourself a single opera ticket and go without your grousing husband. Or your chattering hen brigade. Buy yourself a theater ticket and challenge yourself not to laugh along with the rest of the audience. Turn off all the electronics and lie down in a quiet room for a few minutes. Don't call it meditation. Don't call it anything. Just let yourself be with yourself for a bit. Grab some inanimate, emotionally neutral object next to you, squeeze it, and think about where your self begins and ends. Look up the Wikipedia entry on the physics or chemistry of [...] and don't discuss it with anyone else. Just think about it. Teach your self to think.
Give yourself time to shed a lifetime's worth of brainwashing. Then, as your thought gains more and more integrity and you spend less time debasing yourself by kow-towing to others' preferences and joining social clubs, you may find that the degenerate vermin who comprise the lower 97.5% of this species' IQ distribution truly don't register as the same species as you at all. Abusive language is the best such disgusting filth deserve, or better yet disinterest.
You may just be one of the few capable of independent thought. As a totally negative, super-pompous candy-ass, you have my admittedly limited sympathy.