Your big brain/big
heart combination will naturally cause you to be confused by the big
heart/small brain people because they will seem - well, small.
Nice enough perhaps,
but pitifully small. Nice enough perhaps, but completely unable to
understand what comes out of your big brain as they try to process
it with their small brains. You will feel misunderstood, frustrated.
The big heart/small
brain people may also accuse you of not having a heart at all as they
instinctively believe that a big brain and a big heart must be mutually
exclusive. They will think, perhaps, that it is in fact their small
brains that made their hearts big. They will think that any increase
in brain size will naturally crowd out room for the heart. They will
think this partly because their brains are small.
They will also
think this partly because there's some truth to it. You stuff a big
brain and a big heart into the same person and things do get crowded.
Even uncomfortable. Sometimes it will feel to you like there is too
much you to fit inside yourself. Too much you to fit inside your small
human-sized life. Sometimes you will think you cannot stand it. Sometimes
you wil think you are going to explode.
What the small
brain/big heart people don't understand is that you have made the
choice (perhaps much against your better judgment) to fit more inside
yourself than they have.
The lack of understanding
big heart/small brain people have for you will be somewhat heartbreaking
to you. You may pretend that it isn't, that you don't care what those
people think, but you do. You do because you have a big heart too
and you relate to them. You want them to like you. But not if it
means giving up your big brain. This is what you meant when you
were whining about becoming a mindless robot -
were talking about the implicit demand to give up your big brain in
order to fit in with your fellow big-hearted people. And you can't
do that. Even though you will try. You will try repeatedly throughout
your life, intermittently and desperately, but it will not work.
and perhaps rejected by the BH/SB combination, you will turn next
to the small heart/big brain people. You will turn your back on the
big clump that is hogging most of the pie, soothing your hurt feelings
by rejecting them before they can reject you anymore. And in the process
you will feel yourself magnetically drawn to the SH/BB people.
They will seem
fascinating to you, those small-hearted smart people. They too reject
the majority. And they are so blunt, so bold, so uncaring, above-it-all,
aggressive, snotty, prone to wear black and argue with other people
just so they can win. Arrogant, wrong, infuriating, self-confident,
mesmerizing. An oasis. An oasis of big brainedness in a vast sea of
small brainedness. 60% of the population is small-brained, a majority
no matter which house of congress you sit in. And so the big-brained
people, small hearts or no, will seem like a way to re-connect with
the very part of you that is under assault by the majority.
You will throw
yourself into an orgy of big-brainedness, getting high on arguments
and alienation and anger. It will feel good for a while, like taking
a good brisk dip in the ocean and letting that salty water just abrade
away all the fucking crap that has stuck to your skin from those sticky
big-hearted people. You want water that stings your eyes, you want
to feel something real and sharp after years of being covered
in marshmallow caramel sticky sweet big-hearted small-brainedness
clogging all the pores of your skin til you can't fucking think straight.
If you come from
an environment where you have been intensively subjected to the big
heart/small brain people, running away to some college where everyone
smokes cigarettes and despises anything conventional can feel
like finally being able to see clearly. It can feel like having the
scales ripped from your eyes and ushered into the bright white light
of freedom. Until....
Until you realize
- and you will realize - these people have no fucking heart. They
are fake. That is partly what you mean when you say you want an
intelligent conversation about something real. Because an intellectual
argument is not real to you. It is narrow. And it doesn't fucking
big-brained people will disappoint you and make you bitter. They
will make you wonder if there is any place for you at all. If you
grew up in a big brain/small heart environment, you will have come
to despise these people as much as you despise the small brain/small
heart people. Because in fact, you despise small-hearted people, whoever
they may be. Smallness in heart doesn't cut it for you any more than
small-brainedness does. The whole fucking world looks ugly seen through
their eyes. And it can make you wonder if maybe they aren't right.
If maybe it isn't an ugly fucking world.
you need is to connect with your like group - the big brain/big heart
folks. But where the fuck are they?
Like the other
groups, they clump. Like the other groups, they hide. Small brain/small
heart people dart around society suspiciously, hanging on the fringes,
daring to reveal their true smallness only around their like kind,
with whom they feel cozy, and accepted, and soothed. Sometimes they
too feel alienated and lonely and the alienation and loneliness comfort
and frighten them. Sometimes they clump in neighborhoods and political
groups. They clump when they find each other in factories, or sports
teams, or talk radio. They huddle like everyone else.
heart people skulk around the edges of society restlessly clumping
in universities or corporations or literary movements or think
tanks, scraping out what companionship they can while clinging
to their contempt and their fiercely guarded opposition to anything
big-hearted people consider worth living for.
And even the big
happy clump of small brained, big hearted folks hide both their big
tender hearts and their small uneasy brains in an attempt to get along
with the small-hearted, or the big-brained. They clump in their
families and their churches, and their youth groups and their
community activities and their PTAs and their bowling leagues and
their garden clubs. Everybody hides, everybody clumps.
Your group does
too. You will hide your big brain for fear of not seeming nice,
and you will hide your big heart for fear of not seeming smart.
You will dodge and weave through society like a pedestrian on a crowded
New York sidewalk, trying to find some space and someone who is not
a stranger. Your group clumps in each other's homes, in restaurants
and coffee shops, your group clumps around conversation. Just
like you said.
resistance in a totalitarian regime, you guys get together in secret
meetings to hatch your plans and dreams of overthrowing evil and making
the world safe for big brains and big hearts. You'll need to know
the secret handshake of alienation to get into the underground movement.
You'll need to drift around, looking for the tell-tale signs of hidden
resistance. You won't find them on the internet in the regular chat
rooms or boards or wherever you've been looking. The big-brained and
the big-hearted disperse themselves throughout society, the better
to escape detection before their plans are hatched. The big-brained
and the big-hearted often disguise themselves as normal, adopting
a quiet facade to avoid scaring the uninitiated.
So what secret
signs should you be looking for? Here's a tip: negative
Big hearted people
go into social work. Big-brained, big-hearted people go into social
work to fuck up social workers and overturn the way social work is
done. Because the way it's normally done is stupid and useless, any
big-brained person can see that. So look for the social worker who
is toiling diligently within the system but has 80 pages of opinions
on what's wrong with social work.
Look for the teacher
who has a million fucking improvements of the teaching system that
no one will listen to because it will fuck up all the teachers. Look
for the apparent corporate drone who has extensively analyzed how
fucking up their corporation would improve things for everybody, not
to mention screw up the cozy system the greedy and the mean have for
sucking the dollars out of those eternally dazed and confused BH/SB
sucker sheep. The Sierra club hiker who is cynical about the Sierra
club. The rocker who won't pose as an outsider but won't play anything
but what they want either. The grumpy idealist. The disaffected bleeding
heart. These are your soul mates!
You knew this
all along. This is exactly what you stated. You want cynical optimism
and alienated hope. So keep your fucking ears perked in every single
fucking conversation in every single environment for that trace of
edge, that after-aroma of cynicism, that hint of discontent, that
snarl of negativity, that clue to idealism, the subtle signs of big
dreams and big restlessness, the furtive kindness, the tell-tale lack
of reconciliation lurking behind the facade of niceness. Big-brained,
big-hearted people practice furtive kindness and accidental subversion
everywhere they go. Keep your eyes peeled for it. The world isn't
good enough for BB/BH people the way it is, but they love it anyway.
Listen for those tell-tale signs of tortured love and a sick, dysfunctional
relationship with humanity in which it abuses them repeatedly and
yet they go back for more every time. In which they hate everybody
but wouldn't want to hurt anybody.
BB/BH people pass for normal. You must be aware of this to effectively
seek them out. They thread their way through a society they do not
accept while not being rude about it. They blend, they assimilate.
You must throw out the secret code words of subtle negativity, cynicism,
despair, self-deprecation, alienation and so on, into ordinary conversations,
waiting for the initiated to pick up on them and let you know where
the clubhouse is. Make jokes! Your cynical bitter sense of
humor will zing right pass the 80% whose groups you don't belong to.
But the 20% will zip over to your side immediately and start trying
to make plans for secret meetings.
Now that you understand
the situation - steer clear of the big-brained/small hearted people.
They were just a distraction. Dismiss your attention from the big-hearted
and small brained. Stop looking at them! You are mesmerized
by their sheer numbers and they are preventing you from seeing who
you need to see. They are fascinating in their ability to be both
misguided and self-sustaining, but you cannot spend the rest of your
life looking at cows while thinking - 'Why are you a cow?'
Not if you ever want to see anything in your life but cows. And ignore
the small-brained and small-hearted, you'll fix them later, when you
start ruling the world. Look only at your objective.
You're a pedestrian
on the sidewalk of New York - steer clear of the crowds, focus on
your destination. If the wrong kind of people are clumping all around
you at your school or work - skirt around them. Don't join their clumps
hoping to change them. Not when you are looking for connection. You
will do plenty of that anyway. You will constantly find yourself in
clumps you want to change. But don't let that deter you from your
mission of finding the underground resistance.
If you enter a
field packed and teeming with the wrong kind of clump - say a job,
or a certain geographical area of Texas, make immediate plans for
escape, observe quietly until you can enact them, say nothing, learn
much. You are a stealth warrior, a practitioner of the martial arts
of social survival where the smartest strategy is the most graceful.
Practice Zen and the art of the cynical idealism. Do not lurk around
the wrong clumps, hoping for acceptance where none is to be had. Seek
your own clump.
And finally, to
answer the question you didn't ask - is your cynicism and idealism
and big brain and big heart a sign of superiority? Or is it instead
a sign that you are forever doomed to the fringes of society - crowded
out of the good spots by the contented cows, by the small-brained,
by the small-hearted? Are you better than everyone else - or are
The answer of
course, is an incredibly disappointing neither. You're not
particularly superior in spite of your bigness. And you know this,
because even though your big brain tells you that you are, your big
heart attacks you with doubts and humility and compassion and a general
desire for love and all that other shit that every big-hearted person
wants. Meanwhile, your big brain is cynical even about you - while
your big heart jolts you with disconcerting hopes of winning the Nobel
Peace Prize while discovering the cure for all disease.
Big hopes like
that can push you right over into a sharp sense that you are in fact
nothing but a whining loser, all talk and no action. Or meaningless
action and no talk. Maybe everyone else is right. But you can't
automatically claim a loser spot for yourself just because you're
in the minority. It's not that easy. Evolution has made people like
you a part of the mix of society and you have a job to do.
Your job is to
make things better for other people even when they are going worse
for yourself. You may not be in the mood for this job, but that's
the way it is.
Your job is to
make people feel better by pointing out what's wrong with the world
they live in and how it could be better. So that their own misery
makes a little more sense and feels a little less lonely. Your job
is to whine and complain. Not just on your own behalf but everyone
else's. Your job is to get all pissed off. Not just on everyone else's
behalf but your own as well. Your job is to be nice to people and
kind to them when they don't deserve it, don't want it, didn't
ask for it, and won't appreciate it. Your job is to fuck things
up in ways that make all the other clumps mad. Your job is to make
compassion more effective by showing the other 40% of the people who
are compassionate how stupid and small-minded they are.
You may be politically
liberal. You may be politically conservative. You may be both at the
same time while hewing in a disciplined way to the core platform of
anger and disaffection.
If you are a writer,
you might be Mark Twain or Charles Dickens. Entertaining a shitload
of people while relentlessly cutting away at everything your loyal
readers believe in. You might be a local talk show host. You might
be a TV producer. You might be a dog-breeder. Whatever you are, your
dreams will always be big and your group will always be small. It
will consist of you. Your fellow-clump mates will be your friends
but they won't be your sycophants. You won't really be able to follow
anyone and you won't really be able to lead. If you are good at what
you do, no one will really understand it. If you are a psychologist,
you will fuck up psychology. If you are the president of the United
States, you will be Bill Clinton, and you will improve everything
but your own reputation.
If you are a suffragette,
you will be Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whom no one remembers, and not
Susan B. Anthony, who gets a quarter with her picture on it even if
nobody wants it. You won't get to be sentimental and you won't get
to be a firebrand. You may get rich, but you won't get comfortable.
You may be successful in society's eyes, but society will never be
exactly successful in yours. Sometimes your heart will break and your
brain will fry. You will forever be discontented and yet you will
stubbornly cling to a belief in something absolutely fucking wonderful
that no one can really see but you. You will experience happiness
and peace of mind at times, but happiness and peace of mind were not
meant for you.
Which is exactly
what you always wanted anyway. You never wanted to be happy, you
wanted to be you.
This is what the
big-hearted/small-brained will never understand about you. They don't
understand why you don't toss away that big brain and make yourself
happy. They don't understand that you don't want to. You're
unhappy on purpose. It's your job. You've always known that. I've
just validated for you what was always true anyway. You are secretly
thrilled with everything I'm saying and flattered too. You are relieved
to be told that you do not have to be happy - but that you are incredibly
important anyway. You never wanted anything else. You are too cynical
believe this - but too optimistic not to want to.
So somewhere deep
inside, you know this shit is true - so get off your ass, go out there
right now and find something to be very very discontented about. It
will do you a world a good - and it's not a bad deal for everyone