A simple Syllogism

New work places mean new colleagues. Figuring these people out is always a minefield. but sometimes a fun one to do. But it is also a treacherous road to walk, because one the sun sets on your initial opinion of some of these people, you can quickly become very disheartened indeed.

I’ve had a lot of this with my new job. This was specifically because I spent the first month sharing a house with many of my coworkers. The job provides a volunteer house for employees to live in. The positive is that this gives you a lot of opportunities to get to know the people you are working with. The negative, of course, is that this gives you a lot of opportunities to get to know the people you are working with.

So while I was interned at this house, busily looking for a better place to live, I got to know many of my colleagues. The good know is I like working with them. The other good knows is that, being volunteers, many of them will only be in my life for a short term.

Maybe I just don’t give people enough chances.

One night I found myself chatting with one such colleague. I was already annoyed at her for what I considered childish household behavior1. But into our conversation, she said one of those things that I am quickly coming to hate hearing.

“People are stupid.”

I’ve got a great follow up question for that. By great, I mean that it is great at helping you figure out what kind of person you have in front of you. That question is:

“So does that mean you are stupid?”

She scoffed and said “of course not”

Wrong answer.

Here at Locus Horribilis, we believe that philosophy is fun and useful, so we have provided a handy syllogism to help people sort this out.

Major Premise: People are stupid.

Minor Premise: I am a person.

Conclusion: I am stupid.

Q.E.D.

Ok, let me be fair. I get why people say the major premise, and I also get why people deny the conclusion. I, however, don’t. It relates to often joked about “80% of people think they are above average” stat we all know and love. But the truth of the matter is that we all are stupid. Massively so. Knowledge, as far as I can tell, is infinite. We humans are not. No matter how hard you try and cut that pie, no matter how hard you work at knowing, you will only have a small slice of it. What’s strange is that the more I have learned, the more ignorant I have felt. This is repeated frequently enough to be a cliche, but for some reason people seem to have overwhelming confidence in their knowledge.

I don’t know. Maybe I never will.

But one more anecdote about the very smart person I work with. And to be clear, she does her job well, and I do like aspects of her. But she is on fire with arrogance.

We work in ESL, as long time readers of this blog know. There is not always a consensus on how things should be done, teaching methods and learning strategies are often mostly old wives tales, or things that have been grandfathered into the curriculum from back when Jefferson was president. I don’t know which of these things I should be doing, and which I shouldn’t. I haven’t got a degree in second language acquisition (yet), nor have I done any PhD level research that can give me much expertise on the subject. What I can do, and what I try to do, is defer myself to the people who have done the research. This is something we should all be doing.

Not my colleague. For her, the people doing the researcher are “just making it up”, and her way is better. I’d confirm this, but she still hasn’t let me observe her classes (which is my job) despite my insisting. Science denial seems to be a thing with her, and I have no way of knowing what rabid corner of the internet she is getting her knowledge from. Not that I do want to know.

Fuck you. You are no better than a climate change denier.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

1Specifically, I was upstairs minding my own business and to ask me a question she screamed from a floor below. Hey look, asshole, you’re not my mother, and even my mother doesn’t fucking speak to me like that. Come up here and knock, or fuck right off.

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