The Terribleness Spectrum


I was really going to try and post something light and happy today. But that’s just not what my soul wants to sing right now. I’ll try again tomorrow.

Today I’m going to rehash one of my favorite subjects: humanity is horrible. I’ll start with some of my favorite quotes on the theme:

“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.”

-Agent Smith, The Matrix

“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.”

-Ripley, Aliens

“…nasty, brutish, and short.”


“Hell is other people.”


“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.”

-Stephen Hawking

I’ve always “known” people are terrible. I’ve known it since 2nd grade. It’s a crystal clear memory. When all your peers treat you like shit and you literally have done nothing but exist and be quiet, your view of people gets colored. I guess when I was a kid I just assumed I was at fault and something was obviously wrong with me. I didn’t think anything was wrong with them. And as I grew older and realized that I wasn’t the one at fault, I understood it conceptually And I always gave it lip service. But I never really “felt” like I do now.

I’m not who I was before and I guess I feel things a lot more strongly now. I built up an emotional armor over decades to let nothing in and now that’s crumbled. Things get in now and they have severe, heretofore novel effects. I still have my poker face but things are definitely in tumult now. I prefer this to what was, in no uncertain terms.

It’s actually not a bad thing to really feel the horribleness that is humanity. It’s liberating. This is gonna take a second but bare with me.

I love Howard Stern and his show. He often has guests on his show who are eccentric. He calls them crazy and I don’t really care that he does. But his longtime producer, Gary, has to deal with the logistics of bringing these eccentric people to the show and get them to adhere to a schedule and appointment which isn’t something most of them usually do. He used to get pissed off all the time but then he found peace. I’ll let him explain: “You can’t get mad when crazy people act crazy.”

So what I’m saying is that you should not be surprised when a terrible species does terrible things. Every species has a true nature. Take dogs. If you leave out a juicy steak at a dog’s eye level, a lot of dogs will be justly tempted to wolf it down. You can’t really get mad at the dog for being a dog. Just like you shouldn’t get pissed when a species, whose fundamental core is darkness, does dark things.

I sure wish I didn’t get mad when humans act human. I’m working on it, though

I think once I purge the expectations from my mind, I’ll be pretty much at peace. If someone lets me down I won’t get mad or surprised: they’re just being human. All of them have some amount of terribleness inside and it always escapes at some point.

I think there are studies that show that optimists are happier and healthier. I’m pretty sure, anyway. You know what? Fuck it. I’ll google it real quick.

Here’s the quote at the top of the google search:

“Studies indicate being optimistic is good for your health. Several studies suggest optimists live longer and enjoy better health than pessimists. The real mystery is why. Is it optimism that makes people healthy, or do healthypeople understandably have a brighter outlook?”

Ok so yeah that’s fine. I’m not advising you to be a pessimist or cynic like me. I am certainly very optimistic about many things, much more so now than at any point in my life. But to claim I am anything but a pessimist WRIT LARGE would be disingenuous. If you ask me, you only get one life so be however the fuck you wanna be. It ain’t my goddamn business. (But man do no end of optimists feel the right and need to tell me to be positive. Do I tell them to be negative? I guess they just know they know what I can do and what I should do. I wish they would let me know who told them these things.)

I know what I need to do. I need to recalibrate my expectations. Then I will not be set off course. The biggest mistake I’ve made in life is believing people will always be decent when it matters and that some folks don’t have some venom stored in their souls. I’ve certainly been guilty of both of those things.

That was then. This is now.

““Yeah, well the days of me forgetting are over, and the days of me remembering have just begun.”

So I’ve decided to put forth a terribleness spectrum. It’s a number value between 1-100, 100 being Hitler terrible and 1 being Mr. Rogers. All of humanity falls somewhere on that spectrum. It’s just in our nature.

Oh you’re going to tell me that you’ve never done anything shitty? That’s what I thought.

Everyone ,even those I love most, are on the terrible spectrum, myself definitely included. I’m bitter, angry, undisciplined, prejudiced, pessimistic, cynical and provincial. But I’m good at getting along with people and making friends, which frankly is a fucking miracle and makes no goddamn sense. I’m super lucky that far better people than me have let me be their friends. I’m not religious but that really is a fucking miracle.

Speaking of religion, as some of you may know, I hate Catholicism. I hate pretty much all the religions but I have a special place in my angry black heart for the papal cult. But as I was thinking about the true nature of humanity, the doctrine of original sin popped into my head.

I’m sure most of you know what that is since only my friends really read this blog. But I’ll quickly define it. According to Catholicism, for some bullshit reason, everyone is born with original sin in their soul even if they’ve literally never committed a sin in their lives. Even babies have this dark mark. And the only way you can overcome this stain is to, according to Catholicism, is to believe their particular line of theological horse shit which contains something about (of course) being unworthy, grace, Jesus loves you and some other logical acrobatics mixed with mythological crap. Catholic doctrine states that baptism wipes out original sin but even after that, humanity is still, by its nature, susceptible to the evil.

But maybe they’re right. It would certainly explain my terribleness spectrum.

What’s that? Why don’t I just do the converse and make a goodness spectrum? You’re not really asking ME that, are you?

Anyone can assign any terribleness value to anyone else. Like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. You can even assign your own! I would put myself at a 55. I’m probably being generous but you all TOLD me to be optimistic! I do some good things but I’ve done plenty of terrible things and it’s likely I’ll do more terrible things.

What’s the value of such a spectrum at all? Probably not much. It amuses me so that’s sufficient.

I’ll close with a list of 10 outliers on the terribleness spectrum, on either end, for you to use as a guide in your own taxonomic efforts.

Jesus Christ – 5

Fred Phelps – 99

Atticus Finch – 1

Michael Cohen – 77

George Washington – 15

Donald Trump – 99

Steven Spielberg – 26

Harvey Weinstein – 86

Lou Gehrig – 21

Bobby Fisher – 74

#optimism #evil #good #humanity #nature #nurture #optimism #pessimism #realism #cynic #cynicism #expectations #religion #catholicism #originalsin #spectrum #mythology #dogs #howardstern #hawking #hobbes #jesus #speilberg #lougehrig #georgewashington #atticusfinch

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