The question of kindness. by arbitration

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· @arbitration ·
The question of kindness.

It took me a long time to accept that some people really don't have any interest in being kind to others. I just refused to believe such people existed, and figured failures in kindness were mostly the product of circumstances, bias, unmet needs, etc.

What scares me a bit more is realizing many of those people have a blind spot that is the inverse of mine - they really don't think *anyone* is *actually* kind. They'll always read any attempt at kindness as an attempt at manipulation because someone being kind without ulterior motives really is unthinkable to them.

The problem is often, well...they see the utilitarian purpose of kindness. Many of them have been extremely kind, giving people - on the surface. Because it gets them something.

For many of them, I only really realize it when I hear them talk about *other* people - that's where they let their guard down and you see behind the mask how they really think the only reason *anyone* would ever be kind is as a manipulation tactic.

That's often the "oh fuck" moment when I realize what kind of person I'm dealing with.

I think the key here is they'll expect your kindness and help because they think they've got you trapped in a web of obligation and expectation. You'll help because there are witnesses, because you don't want to damage your reputation, etc. They fully expect if you were alone on a deserted island you'd leave them to die.

Because the same is true for them. They often can be *extremely* helpful because they want to be seen as a good person. They want people to look at them and say "Oh, look at that guy! He's such a charitable person! He's and outstanding feminist! He stands up for the oppressed! He'll help you move or give you a ride 'cause he's just such a good guy!" Because that image is *useful* to them.

And they'll never, ever believe some people will just do some of that stuff because they want to do good, instead of because they want status and reputation.

We all tend to think of ourselves as the “good guy” right? Like, maybe you don’t always do the right thing, but by and large we all tend to think we are good people.

Except, there are people out there who regularly do terrible things. For example the Waltons. Owners of Walmart. Starvation wages, part time hours, the works. They have to know that Walmart’s trash local economies and that when they’re left as the only game in town, people have to get jobs there, and that they don’t pay enough to survive. And that leads me to believe that certain people are aware that they aren’t the “good guy”.

Which means that those people go through life knowing that, and they’re ok with it. It’s pretty chilling if you really think that through, how prevalent those people must be.
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