Pondering Human Nature: Assuming Away Inhumanity [1/2] 

Thinking this morning about how people often invent stories and assume the worst of people in dire situations, and how those stories resolve feelings of internalized guilt and shame and tend to reinforce themselves because they feel better than accepting reality for what it is.

I feel like these might be the very roots of a fascist movement: the willingness to cast aside reality for a favorable fantasy that explains away inhumanity.

Assuming Away Inhumanity [2/2] 

Like when you look at the housing crisis and the unhoused epidemic going on, you can find thousands of real and tragic causes, but very few real solutions.

My theory: it's so much to sit with that most people just… convince themselves that the unhoused are to blame for their situations, because the reality is too hard to accept, especially in such a wealthy country.

From there, it's easy to take an "us vs them" mentality and ignore the reality of the situation.


Assuming Away Inhumanity [2/2] 

@mawr I think people are driven to assume people who are unhoused (or sick or disabled) did something to "deserve it" because otherwise it could happen to them. If they accepted how random the world is and how broken systems and governments are, their hope in the future would break.

So in order to accept the cognitive dissonance, they have to make up stories about why the person is in the situation, or nitpick all the things the person didn't do. These stories are a mental buffer to distance themselves from "the other" and create an illusion of control.

And that's why people get angry when you try to point out the systemic causes of homelessness. Their brain can't handle people pointing out the cognative dissonance.

Assuming Away Inhumanity [2/2] 

@sphakos 💯💯💯💯!!!

@sphakos @mawr

Neoliberals/Calvinists love the just world fallacy. Which is why society treats disabled, poor, and otherwise disadvantaged people like shit.

"The first is the desire to believe that all the good things one has are attributable primarily or solely to one's self, hard work, and superior character and morality."

"The second is a refusal to accept that bad things can happen to one's self and one's loved ones due to circumstances beyond control."

@meganeko @mawr Yes, agreed! (I couldn't remember the name for Calvinists, thanks for reminding me.)

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