I think of myself as an easy-going guy, for the most part. But if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s having conversations with simpletons.
It’s one of those tasks that wasn’t very fun to begin with, but over the years has become painstaking.
Either I just value my time way more than I used to or this aging thing is degrading my tolerance for bullshit.
Probably a combination of both.
So I think it’s overdue that I write this post. We all have to deal with simpletons and sheeple on a regular basis, so let’s talk about it.
I actually published an article several months back that completely bashed reality TV and discussed how pathetic it is to watch.
Then I deleted it. I’ve only deleted 2 articles ever.
I deleted it because it had more profanity than usual and I felt the message wasn’t positive. I don’t censor myself in my writing here. Sometimes I swear and sometimes I don’t. That’s how I talk, so that’s how I write. But negativity is a toxic energy and I won’t let anyone infect this community with it, including myself.
If you study psychology enough and apply that knowledge to your observations of people you will come to the sad realization that humans, as complex as we are, can all be separated and organized into specific categories. Or subgroups.
These categories make it easy to predict the behavior of people, consistently and accurately.
Every person will fall into multiple categories based on different aspects of their personality, their DNA, their beliefs, their mindset, and everything else that shapes who we are.
You would think being a critical thinker would make you an exception. But then again, being a critical thinker is a category in itself.
So even us critical thinkers are predictable. After all, aren’t we the people who most often use terms like sheeple and refer to the masses as the herd lining up for slaughter? Every subculture has its own slang.
We may be small as a percentage of the population, but let’s face it – there’s a lot of us.
I believe this categorization theory to be true for 95% of people or more.
I know, you think you’re the exception. I felt the same way when I was first discussing this with a friend several years ago. Our hearts have a natural desire for us to be unique snowflakes. But our brains desire habitual behavior. And while our hearts might influence our decisions, our brains are running the show.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, or a good thing, that we are this way. It’s just part of human nature.
The problem is when people allow themselves to be placed into dumb categories. Then they willingly make that category a defining characteristic of their life.
Or even worse, they seek it out to begin with.
The result = simpleton.
Allow me to paint the picture more vividly for you.
Common Simpleton Types
You won’t find this in your psychology textbook, because you are getting it straight from the source.
That’s right, these are only a few examples of some of my findings after years of research.
Let’s take a look at some of these specimens.
The Informed Political Snob
You know this person. They value “being informed” over all other qualities.
They think that the world would be a better place if everyone spent as much time watching/reading the news as they do.
If only people were informed…
These people love to get in political debates, or “intelligent discussions”, about whatever the hot topic is at the time.
Come election season they will work tirelessly, day and night, on Facebook to keep you updated on the issues that matter.
They genuinely believe that watching the news and debating other idiots on Facebook actually counts as a contribution to society.
While they might think they are making a difference, the only thing they are doing is repeating the information that Fox/CNN/MSNBC told them to say and annoying everyone around them.
Their personal identity, along with self-worth, is completely tied to a political party. And each political party only believes in what it’s paid to believe in by its lobbyists.
So, in a way, it makes sense for politicians to say and believe the ridiculous crap that they do – since they are being paid to do so.
Everyone else who simply chooses to follow along, on the other hand, are not being paid and are doing so by choice.
Both sides of the aisle have lost touch with reality and are so off base that it’s comical. Anyone who completely agrees with either party lacks sanity or they simply don’t care to think for themselves.
How much value can a person bring to the table if they don’t even form their own thoughts and opinions?
I’ve found a strong correlation between removing these people from your life and achieving high levels of happiness.
Sport Stats Bro
This guy is a walking example of why we can’t have nice things.
In general, sports are great. They’re fun to play and provide quality exercise. They build work ethic and discipline.
Sports are fun to watch, even if you’ve never played the sport you enjoy watching. There’s just something exciting about watching people push themselves to their limits in competition.
But in reality we all know it’s just a game being sold by a business.
It’s not that serious.
Not this guy, though.
No, Sport Stats Bro decided to take one for the team (I had to) and sacrifice his life for the greater good of all sports.
Rather than live a life with meaning, he decided to dedicate his life to ESPN.
Everyday he wakes up, tunes in, and memorizes his script for the day. With a databank of stats to reference and his latest talking points memorized, he is prepared to elevate small talk to medium talk with anyone who makes eye contact.
But again, what value does that add to society? What does that do for your family?
And I’m not talking about the athletes themselves or sports analysts/journalists who provide a living for their family with their sports knowledge.
Men fall into this trap too often. We’re told that sports are manly and that all men just want to sit around watching sports all day – but that simply isn’t true.
There’s nothing manly about sitting around watching anything for hours on end.
The other side of this trap is that most guys have the impression that sports are a safe go-to small talk starter. That may be true, but what happens when someone wants to have a real conversation?
Having a conversation with Sport Stats Bro is so repetitive and boring. Unless the person is a competing athlete, coach, trainer, or somehow has control over the outcome of the game – no one cares about their theory for how that team could’ve won.
I’ve gathered enough in-field evidence to conclude that avoiding this simpleton at social functions not only makes the time pass by quicker, but it allows you to meet people who have something interesting to say.
Mac vs PC Nerd
A great marketing strategy is the “us vs them” technique.
This is a long-proven strategy to build brand loyalty, and companies like Apple have used it very successfully.
What’s sad is that the average person simply doesn’t see the big picture. They take everything so personally and start exhibiting cult-like behavior.
Again, the company’s brand (Mac, PC, Android, etc) is an anchor for their self-worth.
Apple gets me. I’m an artist and I’m unique, that’s why I’m a Mac…
Have you ever seen a Mac person and a PC person get into a heated debate over weird technical features of consumer products?
Of course you have, these idiots are everywhere.
Isn’t it odd that they become so enraged as they defend a company that they didn’t create and don’t even work for?
And why do they think any rational person is ever going to take the advice from someone who speaks more passionately about their computer than they do their god?
Fan-boys are great for providing free marketing, if you’re a business. Otherwise, they’re just another brainwashed simpleton that make conversations unpleasant for normal people.
I could go on with more examples, but I think you get the idea.
The Simple Life
No one wants to grow up to be a brainwashed simpleton, so why does it happen so often?
I have a few ideas:
- They lack critical thinking
- It’s so common that it seems normal
- They aren’t living for themselves, so they live for something else to find purpose
Above all else, they fell for the trap.
The system is designed to control our thoughts, and especially, our actions.
I’m not talking about some stupid conspiracy theory of a new world order or anything like that.
The system wants to control us for way more obvious reasons, but it really comes down to money.
Who we vote into office, what laws we fight for/against, the brands we are loyal to, where we spend our time, what we buy – it all puts money in someone’s pocket.
It’s a trap we’re all susceptible to and some people get caught up worse than others.
Being a simpleton is the opposite of being an individual.
To illustrate this, you can reverse-engineer the process of becoming brainwashed.
How to become a simpleton in 5 easy steps:
- Pick a category or subculture of people
- Find their top source for
- Learn the language and behavior required to fit in
- Watch/read the top sources daily, so you have your script for the day
RecruitHelp others by sharing the message as much as possible
Working backwards, let’s look at how you can avoid this trap.
I think we can agree that listening is a key communication skill. One thing simpletons are not known for is their ability to listen.
Quite the opposite actually, they typically don’t even hear their own bullshit.
Simpletons receive an updated script daily.
Want to know what’s got republicans riled up today? Turn on Fox news and you’ll know what they’re mad at and why they’re mad.
Curious about what all the sports fanatics are going to be gossiping about at lunch? Tune into ESPN for any 30 minute segment (which they repeat all day long until some sort of breaking news happens, if it does) and you’ll find the exact word-for-word script that you can expect to hear from Joe at lunch.
Speaking of the script that simpletons receive. You should note that for every hot topic, there are two sides of the argument conveniently planned out.
Imagine that, only two, every time…
For politics, the media teaches viewers to either be for or against every topic. Even in sports, you have to either agree or disagree with a controversial play call or whatever the case may be.
“Pick a side, we’re at war.”
There’s no room for individualism or critical thinking.
The worst part of all is that they want you to identify yourself as part of their subgroup. Because that transfers power away from individuals and towards cult leaders.
We are more likely to support a group that we feel a strong connection to, even if we don’t necessarily agree with everything about it.
Once you’ve invested your time, money, and energy into something, you’re looking for the ROI. The trap is thinking that investing more will increase the ROI, despite the fact that these groups never had an interest in providing value in return from the start.
So, why did I take the time to write about simpletons?
Because we’ve all been a brainwashed simpleton at one point or another in life.
And that’s not good for personal development.
Improving yourself is a very personal endeavor and forces you to focus on yourself as an individual. The more you get caught up as a member of a group, the more you focus on the group and lose sight of yourself.
In general, being a brainwashed simpleton causes you to lose your individuality and become another replaceable, boring person. It trains you to be a sheep.
Personally, I’d rather be a wolf.
Wolves work well in packs, but if things aren’t working out, the wolf has no problem being alone until they find a better pack to roll with. Or being alone forever if that’s what it takes.
It’s not that I think being part of a group is a bad thing. I’m suggesting that we all be more selective about which groups we associate with.
Society has enough sheep, but wolves are an endangered species.
How to Be an Individual
All you have to do to preserve your individuality is the opposite of what brainwashed simpletons do.
- Don’t accept a label for yourself that someone else has created. You have a name, use it. You are not a Mac or a PC, you are you and that’s already good enough.
- Ignore the major propaganda sources. Not only will this undo the brainwashing of groupthink, but you’ll be much happier too. The news is designed to control your emotions by inducing fear and panic. Every day they act like the world is coming to an end. Yet when I turn the TV off, the world keeps on spinning.
- Think your own thoughts. Speak your own words. Ignore the rhetoric.
- Cut out social media. The exceptions would be using social media for work purposes, to connect with like-minded individuals (emphasis on individuals) and to follow resources that provide value instead or propoganda.
- Listen to others as much, or more, than you speak. Conversations should be two-way and shouldn’t sound like one person recruiting the other to their way of thinking.
I’ve said it before, and I still believe it – you’ll never be better at anything than being yourself.
To finish this post, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies:
“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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