Do extremely rigid, linear thinkers tend to be more convinced of their own brilliance than normal folk?
This is a legitimate question, not an attempt to troll anyone. I’d like to know if this is a real phenomenon, or if I just keep blundering into it because of my Weirdo-Magnet Powers.
It doesn’t seem to favor one group over another, left, right, rich, poor, black, white, other, gay, straight, other. Maybe it *SLIIIIIIIIIIIGHTLY* favors atheists, but then again maybe they’re just more vocal. I dunno. I’d like to know.
Anecdotal examples: When I was head writer at the Republibot Science Fiction site (An explanation for another day) there was one guy who worked for us who desperately wanted to be artsy. He wasn’t. His stories were all ‘the guy with the hat killed the other guy, the end,’ or knockoffs of Red Dawn (The remake, oddly). I’d point out that this was an SF site, so it needed to have at least SOME SF elements. Maybe just make the tanks into robot tanks, and we’re good.’ He got huffy, said I just didn’t get it, and pulled it from consideration. His music reviews were just “It had a good beat and you could dance to it,” and if you asked him about, you know, the deeper meanings in a song that clearly had deeper meanings, he was clueless as to what you were talking about. Philosophy? Forget about it. He was using the word “Existential” wrong repeatedly. I’d let it slip, but he was doing it a lot, and he seemed to think it meant some kind of hippie-dippie snowflake kind of thing. I politely explained to him the concept of existentialism, and his reaction was simply “That’s stupid. Obviously I exist.” yeah, but what does existence mean? “I exist.” Ok, yeah, given, but does your existence have any meaning “It means I exist. This is stupid.”
Now, I don’t want to give the impression the guy had aspergers or was stupid, he wasn’t. He was just a very linear thinker and very rigid. And very convinced that he was utterly brilliant. Anyone who wasn’t a rigid thinker wasn’t brilliant, they were confused.
Another guy I knew felt that pretty much art ceased to exist in the 1930s, and that everything beyond the Impressionists was bad. Art, he said, was statues of guys on horses and pictures of mountains, and everything else was degenerate and wrong. He also felt that all music after 1980 or so was degenerate and wrong, mostly because he just couldn’t understand it, and kept talking about outrages in modern music that happened 30, 40 years ago as though they were happening today (Ozzy biting the head off a bat, Johnny Rotten’s mere existence, The Divynals. Man oh man oh man, he hated the Divynals) I don’t think he could really tell the difference between these kinds of things, either. It simply wasn’t music to him, and went into the ‘noise’ category. Where the other guy was very conservative, this guy was very liberal.
Then there’s a 1990s friend of mine who couldn’t understand my books (fair enough. I’m not a very good writer), specifically because “It’s science fiction but you keep throwing God into it.” (For the record, God has never turned up in any of my books, though a fair number of my characters are believers in one thing or another) so? “So there will be no religion in the future.” Why? “Because rationalism will drive it out.” Sigh. This one I got into it with over cubism. Now, I don’t *like* cubism, but I understand it, and I’ve found that if you explain something to someone, unlock it, then they might enjoy it, or hate it less, or just view it as an interesting experiment that they don’t enjoy. Nope. “It’s stupid.” once again, art is pictures of mountains and sailboats, period, end of sentence. He also tends to just drop into religious conversations, troll people, and jump out, because he’s utterly convinced that anyone who doesn’t believe as he does is utterly stupid, whereas he is utterly brilliant. Oh, and all philosophy is dumb, he says.
Art might be a good shibboleth, as all of them seem perplexed or limited by it. All of them really like Star Trek, too, which might push them more towards the Aspergers cagetory, excepting that none of them have Aspergers.
To be clear: I am not saying that I am brilliant. I’m not. I’m a 50 year old unemployable loser with no skills. I’m also not a brilliant artist. Everything I do is crap, and is entirely for ego-gratification purposes. (“Look how clever I am!”) Probably as a means of compensating for being a 50 year old unemployable loser with a chipper disposition and deep, deep self loathing.
I’m not trying to make myself feel better by making them look bad, I’m just trying to understand if extreme rigidity and/or linear thought might tend to make people think they’re better than all the mushy-headed halfwits like me in the world?