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Total posts: [88]
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Real-life implications of "Humans Are Bastards":

So I was recently reading some of that trope's JBM page and noticed this in a response to the top entry:

"We're also the only animal we know that gives a damn about the well-being of any other species at all..."

... is that even true? I guess it depends on whether or not one means "gives a damn about the survival of the other species as a whole" or "gives a damn about the well-being of an individual of another species" because if it's the latter, sometimes non-human animals DO show concern for a non-human of a separate species; I recall seeing a case of this cited in the real-life example section of Cats Are Mean.

 2 KCK, Fri, 25th Feb '11 9:41:36 AM from In your closet
Can I KCK it?
In response to that quote, that's only because humans are the only species capable of doing so; it's not as if the other species can care but just aren't choosing to do do.
There's no justice in the world and there never was~
[up]Exactly! And that's why this one thinks that humans are bastards, by the way. Actions of other animals cannot be held against them because they simply cannot behave in any other way.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 4 Bobby G, Fri, 25th Feb '11 10:06:50 AM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
It's an absolute statement about the nature of an entire, massively complex and diverse species. It's an absurd claim to make.

But yes, that IJBM quote only makes sense if you're talking about concern for entire species, "species" being a concept invented by humanity to categorise organisms, and presumably isn't something of any concern to an animal which isn't capable of higher thought.
 5 Nimitz, Fri, 25th Feb '11 10:07:21 AM from Netherlands Antilles
Oh, come on. It's not like we're incapable of being altruistic towards other humans.
 6 Chagen 46, Fri, 25th Feb '11 10:13:42 AM from I don't really know
KCK: I heard of a book called Animal Justice, which apprently talked about how some animals can feel empathy for other animals, even ones of other species. I haven't read it, but I want to one day.
"Who wants to hear about good stuff when the bottom of the abyss of human failure that you know doesn't exist is so much greater?"-Wraith
"We're also the only animal we know that gives a damn about the well-being of any other species at all..."

Does this person not have pets? Dogs have done some amazing things o___O

It's not like we're incapable of being altruistic towards other humans.
Of course we are capable of that! That's why humans are bastards. Because they have a capability to do better, yet act like bastards anyway. Myself included.
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
I don't know, the majority of people don't act like bastards. I mean, they aren't shining beacons of goodness, but they're not bastards. They're just there. Mostly they do good or neutral actions, sometimes they do bad actions. To me, being a bastard implys doing more bad actions than good or neutral ones, and I just haven't seen that with most people. After all, people report horrible actions in the news because it's unusual, and therefore worth taking note of.
"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left."

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
PARTY HARD!!!!
Humans Are Flawed, stupid, and tend to have evil leanings.

Not quite "bastard", but still pretty bad.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
Flawed, yes, but I don't agree with "tend to have evil leanings". Before someone points out the Milgram Experiment, I categorize that as "flawed", as in physical, brain structure flaws - blind watchmakers don't make very good watches, after all. In fact, I think it's a point in our favor that we're walking around carrying this tremendous potential for evil, and yet most of us don't use it. And some of our number are working on bringing this to our attention so we can work to overcome it. In fact, I'd like to conduct the Milgram Experiment every generation, and I'd bet that we'll see some improvement - it'll still be bad, yes, but we'd see improvement as each new generation is raised to be more independent and forward-thinking than the last.
"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left."

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
 12 KCK, Fri, 25th Feb '11 12:26:22 PM from In your closet
Can I KCK it?
I would disagree that humanity as a whole is leading towards some kind progress as far as goodness is concerned.
There's no justice in the world and there never was~
 13 Bryn, Fri, 25th Feb '11 12:52:15 PM from Cambridge
Might some of them also have read about the experiment and think 'ah, I know what this is, better refuse'?  boring

I was going to say why I disagree with the use of 'humans are bastards', 'humans are good' and the like but I'm not sure what is always meant by the phrase. If, when we say 'humans are bastards', we...
  • ...are saying that people don't act as we think they should, that's fair, but I don't think that saying 'all or most humans are "bastards"' is an effective way to change that. Expressing disappointment is fair though, so I don't object to this case so much, though I think it could be phrased better.
  • ...trying to somehow judge the quality of all humans, in which case... the standard seems completely arbitrary. If we set the standard of bastardliness this high, then humans qualify as 'bastards', if we set it some other level, we qualify as 'good', or 'flawed', or whatever else - but why set the standard at this point? (I like the trope page's line "And, please, NO REAL LIFE EXAMPLES until another sapient species is discovered to compare humanity to.")
    • If we do think it's worth judging all humans, we should make clear what we're basing it on - "all humans are bastards compared to how I think we should be", "all other humans are bastards compared to my sister", etc.
    • I guess we could attempt to interpret the general use of the word 'bastard' and say 'actually, pretty much all of us qualify for this', but that could easily be an argument against using 'bastard'.
    • If we have a good reason to set the standard of bastard vs. not-bastard at some point, though, it seems silly to attempt a judgement of all humans without an awful lot of investigation.
  • ...attempting to describe how humans generally behave, in which case I don't think 'humans are bastards' is useful.
  • ...talking about a story, to say 'this story portrays us as worse than some other creature, or emphasises our worst behaviours', as in the trope page, that seems to be a useful idea! I don't see how it can be reasonably extended into real life though.

I think my main point is about the standard being arbitrary - what are we 'bastards' in comparison to?
 14 Game Chainsaw, Fri, 25th Feb '11 1:06:01 PM from sunshine and rainbows!
Gunpla is amazing!
Maybe I'm being shortminded but the things going in Libya and everyone's reluctance to do anything about it is not helping Humanity's case

@Bryn: That's a very good point. Religious people would probably say God, but I don't have anything or anyone to compare humanity to but an abstract standard.
"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left."

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
PARTY HARD!!!!
[up]I don't know, with gift of flawless hindsight, it's easy to spot lots and lots of problems. Those problems seem to stark to be ignored.

How about this:

Individual people are nice.

But society as a whole is filled with bastard-ish behavior.

edited 25th Feb '11 1:49:32 PM by TheMightyAnonym

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! ~ GOD
 18 Colonial1. 1, Fri, 25th Feb '11 1:55:29 PM from The Marvelous River City
Crazed Lawrencian
The kindness of strangers can be rather uplifting when reflected on later.
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
 19 Pykrete, Fri, 25th Feb '11 1:55:41 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
I wouldn't say we're bastards — we've made amazing headway over the last few thousand years — but we do have a strong tendency toward shortsightedness, apathy, and substituting instant gratification for thinking ahead.

[up][up] One of my friends has listed as his Facebook political views: "large groups of people are bitch factories." I gotta say he might be onto something [lol]

edited 25th Feb '11 1:56:23 PM by Pykrete

Gunpla is amazing!
[up][up][up]

Thats pretty much how I feel. People are good, society however is sickening.

 21 Nimitz, Fri, 25th Feb '11 2:38:50 PM from Netherlands Antilles
Society may suck at times, but really, I'll stick with it. I'd rather have order than total chaos.
Nihilist Hippie
"I don't know, the majority of people don't act like bastards. I mean, they aren't shining beacons of goodness, but they're not bastards. They're just there. Mostly they do good or neutral actions, sometimes they do bad actions. To me, being a bastard implys doing more bad actions than good or neutral ones, and I just haven't seen that with most people. After all, people report horrible actions in the news because it's unusual, and therefore worth taking note of."

I might have thought that, but this really makes me wonder. [1]

edited 25th Feb '11 2:46:19 PM by LoveHappiness

"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom
"I don't know, the majority of people don't act like bastards. I mean, they aren't shining beacons of goodness, but they're not bastards. They're just there. Mostly they do good or neutral actions, sometimes they do bad actions." - OTOH

That's another thing, by what standards DO we evaluate our own species? While the trope itself implies that other animals are the reference frame, that we are the subject may reflect on our assessment one way or the other. (I suppose you could argue that humans are a self-hating minority... well, in the sense that we're a minority among animals, that is.)

Gunpla is amazing!
I think theres a great way to determine the best standard in how people should live their lives.

1) Have fun 2) Don't hurt people 3) Don't accept defeat 4) Strive to be happy

Eh, humans are pretty good dudes/dudettes on the whole. In this day and age we've made some pretty good progress towards freedom and equality and all that stuff, so we're getting better.

edited 25th Feb '11 3:07:45 PM by Talby

Total posts: 88
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