Richard Bergmair's Blog


==> Rod Hilton wrote a blog post: Smart Assholes: A Probing Examination.

To me, the definition of an asshole is slightly different. An asshole is someone who acts out every social interaction on the principle of “dominate or be dominated”. It’s the lack of a middle ground that makes an asshole so that people can’t just go into an interaction being each other’s peers and also finish the interaction with being each other’s peers, having been friendly and respectful towards each other, preserved each other’s individual freedoms, and exchanged some information.

I agree that assholery tends to spread, and the mechanism in my observation is as follows: You can start out not being an asshole. When there is an asshole for you to deal with, you’ll realize, “All of my interactions with this person end up with this person dominating me.” But you don’t like being dominated because that’s natural (psychological reactance), and accepting domination would be bad for your career. So next time you interact with that person, you know you have to act on the principle of “dominate or be dominated”, i.e. the asshole principle. Soon enough, it becomes a habit, and you may inadvertently behave towards non-assholes as an asshole. It’s now, at the latest, that you have become an asshole yourself.

Another corollary: If you perceive a lot of assholes around you, maybe you are the asshole. It also explains why you find more assholes as you go up the corporate ladder: Being higher up means you can exhibit domineering towards your subordinates without repercussions.

#business   |   Jun-05 2019