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FF Sparks (Casual)

Musing thoughts

I've been seeing part of an ongoing dispute/feud between a friend of mine and one of their ex-roommates for quite some time now. Now, admittedly, I don't know the ex-roommate in question at all; my only contact with them was in passing once, when she and my friend were out of money and their phone was being shut off during job-hunting; I wired them money as a gift, enough to pay the phone bill. So I really know very little about this dispute, and have stayed out of it.

But recently, I've seen a little of the dispute start again. The person in question apparently posted a gloat to their journal about how they were reading locked, private friends-only posts in my friend's journal or something...I'm not really sure, since I'm just seeing people's reactions in their own journals. But aside from the sheer juvenile nature of this apparent behavior, it got me to thinking.

WHY do people act this way? It's hardly unique to this situation; look at MU*ing as a whole. You'll always find people who want to show ways to show up the wizzes, or to exploit code, or whatever. These are the same people who would happily find and exploit a bug to read staff-only bboards without reporting it, gloating to their friends about it and how they can 'get around security' and 'find out private information'. Yet if they happened to RP in a room with a dark staffer who they didn't know was there, they'll whine and moan about how their privacy was violated, etc.

On any sort of structured RP MU* (as opposed to just a social/casual RP setting), you'll have people who want to 'fight the power'. They have an 'us versus them' mentality, and if you're not with 'us', then you must be with 'them', and 'they' are the bad-guys. Any blow against 'them' is justified, regardless of how it's made. Violating secrecy, violating privacy, etc. Yet even the smallest similar infraction against 'us' is met with snarls and loud protests of the horrible abuses.

Even on LiveJournal I've seen it; people who will happily try to find ways to bypass security and read private posts, but then whine bitterly about how it's a 'violation of their territory' if someone posts anything negative in their journal, which should be inviolate.

What on earth produces this 'us/them' mentality, this double-standard? So many people fall prey to it, and I honestly don't understand it. I tend to believe that if I expect a courtesy to be extended to me, then I should also extend the same courtesy in return to others. Why is this such a hard concept? Is it just part of human nature? Is this just the only way to get by in the 'real world', and I am being pathetically naive for holding onto ideals like this?



@set *Laura=WIGGY

But lots of people have pretty bizarre ideas about what is "fair". In general they are the same people that have pretty bizarre ideas period.

Oh! oh!

Oh! Oh! I can see your private thoughts. Yay. ^.~

Is it so difficult to believe that, as people, we want to separate ourselves into clearly delineated groups of "good" and "evil", "good" and "bad", "us" and "them", "right" and "wrong"? We all do it. It's a human way of coping and understanding with conflict, especially conflict with grey areas between those very extremes. In your own way, and I don't blame you or castigate you for it, you're doing it right now.

Humans are inherently selfish as a survival instinct, I guess. I'm a very selfish person. But I think (or like to think) I look between the black and white and try to understand each situation on its own merits. So hopefully in my case it balances out. Maybe not.

In any event, I think what you're seeing is people acting in their own determined self-interest and ignoring how it affects others. It's just selfish, and it's selfishness untempered by consideration. It's endemic to humanity, I think. It just behooves those of us who don't do it to be exemplars all the more.

I guess that's not a very satisfying answer, is it? My mother always says "the only person who you control is you". In the end, that's what's important.