Kay and I were watching Suits, where it was said that character Harvey Specter was hated by many of the other attorneys in the law firm because “he’s always right”.
Who in is right mind would hate another human for being consistently right in his opinions and statements?
This is insanity!
In my experience, what people like this hate is primarily not that Harvey is right, but that they are wrong. And rather than to emulate Harvey’s good cognitive work, so as to fix themselves, they decide simply to blame it all on Harvey.
How utterly stupid and useless a mindset this is! And sadly, how very common.
I’ve seen people in both political and religious discussion turn hateful like this on account of having someone else present a better case, or correct the cases they have made. It happens again and again.
Don’t they want to mature?
One might think that a maturing adult could learn to decouple from hubris in order to be a learner and a self-correcting person. But that’s just it! I think that this world is for us a test of whether we want to mature
Nobody’s right all the time, of course. And I can testify to this myself, because I have reached the point of maturity at which I want to be always right—at which I do not want to believe anything that’s false, and don’t want to have an inflated sense of certainty on any point that exceeds what I really know and understand. But even so, I make mistakes frequently.
If I knew somebody who was always right, I would be quite drawn to that person, and would want to learn from them. I would ask questions. I would comment on what they say and do. I would process it internally in my own mind. It would become fodder for my own consideration and for my own growth. And then I would talk about it and write about it.
“Is this going to be on the test?”
But our culture is not very much like this, I observe. I notice they do not ask many questions with a view toward processing new information. They do not seem to want to know. And when that one student who’s always raising his hand to ask questions raises his hand yet again, they roll their eyes. They may even complain, “Is this going to be on the test?”—as if there could not possibly be a good reason for discussing any fact not on the test—as if passing the test is the reason for being in the class, and not the learning. And it is—for them.
And that’s what I suppose people were hating Harvey about. That is, that every time they disagreed, and Harvey’s view panned out to be right, they thought they had failed a test (a competition), and they resented it. They didn’t care to learn what was right, and to improve themselves. No, they simply wanted not to fail tests. They couldn’t accept the facts of their failure honestly, rationally, and responsibly. Nope. All they could manage to do was to get mad about it.
People like this can’t go to Harvey and say, “Gee, Harvey, you were right and I was wrong.” They can’t say, “Thank you, Harvey, for setting me straight yet once again.” They can’t say, “I’m trying to emulate your track record with being right about things, Harvey.”
They would rather Harvey shut up than to keep correcting them. Some some of them will try to shut him up to make it stop.
Cain and Abel
Think about that, and how stupid it is that anybody would not be interested in improving himself if it comes at the cost of seeing that someone else has made the improvement first. It’s as if everything’s a competition, and if you can’t finish first, then there’s no point in playing.
What did Cain do when God was not pleased with his sacrifice, but was pleased with his brother Abel’s sacrifice? Did Cain correct himself before God? Did he humble himself before Abel, and emulate his good example? No. He set out to destroy Abel, as if that would fix everything. And he did nothing to improve his own self.
I figured out about 35 years ago that life is not a competition. And since then, I do notice regularly that when I try to share about what I’m learning, so many take it as if from a competitor who wants to win at their expense, rather than as a non-competitor who wants a rising tide to life all boats.
When somebody else wins by improving himself, that is not a loss to me. When someone else corrects me, it is not a loss to me—even if it might sting the ego a bit.
But when I see so many people being silent in the face of new and useful information, I have to wonder whether they still think life is a competition, and are resenting the new information because they think they lost some match in not knowing it first. And I have to wonder at what terrible school or parent taught them that the proper use of knowledge is competition.
If not competition, then what?
And lest I assume the wrong cause for their silence in the face of new information: If their silence (or hatred, even) is not from that competitive and resentful spirit, then what other tragic cause must be behind it?
Indeed, can there be any good cause for people failing to correct themselves when they get new fact, logic, or sourcing?
If someone doesn’t correct himself when his error is demonstrated, the truth is simply not his priority, and he has missed the mark of what a human is supposed to be like. If they hate Harvey for being “always right”, then do they not also hate the truth when they aren’t the ones who get a trophy for knowing it?
I don’t think they understand how life really works.