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are most people angry and irrational?

paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

If 90% of the human population can be labeled at "angry and irrational" then the world makes sense.

There are many people in the world that wish to learn and grow and share by openly interacting with others. And, it is my impression, there are far more people that are willing to learn and grow and share only by their own terms and if you forgot to read their mind about it, there will be hell to pay.

There was a time in my life that I felt certain that the angry people were like 10% or 20%. As I got older, it seemed more like 40% .... a few months ago I would have said 70%. Now, I'm thinking 90% and that I'm fortunate that my life is usually keeping it at less than 70%. Usually.

Some people seem to travel the path of life trying to help things be smooth between everybody. Everybody else is itching for an excuse to be pissed.

Or .... maybe it's just me.

What do you think? What percentage of the world is seeking smooth and what percentage likes to harsh your smooth?


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Sue Meng
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Joined: Nov 21, 2005
Posts: 137
If 90% of the human population can be labeled at "angry and irrational" then the world makes sense.

agree


Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself the most comforting words of all: This, too, shall pass." --Ann Landers
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11356
    
  16

I disagree with the 90%. I think you are falling for the "gambler's fallicy". You are only REMEMBERING the angry, icky people. They stick out in your mind more, so they SEEM to be more common.

I can remember almost every good roll i've had at the craps table, but not a single bad one. That doesn't mean that every time i shoot, i make my point 15 times beforing 7ing out. or is it 7-outing?

Anyway, my point is that you have performed, unconsiously, a very biased survey.


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

So, what are your numbers Fred?

And I think there are going to be two sets of numbers. One for the general public and one for software engineers.
Bert Bates
author
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
Hey Paul,

I don't know about angry, it doesn't feel that high, but...I do agree with "irrational". "Blink" is a pretty good book to read about this. In summary, we all think we're rational and logical, but the reality is that we're almost all driven by emotions. Even us software types


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paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

I suppose, as with most things, there is a spectrum. Some people have a lot more anger than others. Some people are far less rational than others. And, yes, there can be some folks that have a lot of one and little of the other.

And then, yes, there are times when anger may be the right thing. Not sure when that is, but I suppose it happens.

So maybe when I say "angry and irrational", I should modify that to "irrational or innapropriately angry".
Maureen Augustus
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Joined: Aug 18, 2006
Posts: 72
I guess that depends on your definition of "irrational". A rational person is one who is "endowed with reason or understanding" (thank you, World Wide Webster!). I submit that most people act rationally, i.e. with reason, but we may perceive them to act irrationally because their reasons are different from our own.

As for "inappropriately angry", I feel unqualified to judge what's appropriate unless I know what led the person to that point. Perhaps they feel that their anger is perfectly appropriate, given the circumstances.

"Don't judge someone until you walk a mile in their shoes...Then you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes." I can't remember who posted that here, but it cracks me up every time.
[ October 27, 2006: Message edited by: Maureen Augustus ]

"Sex and drugs and women being set on fire! I've never heard of such a Christmas!" - Christine Baranski in "The Ref"
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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Joined: Oct 02, 2003
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  16

Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
So, what are your numbers Fred?

And I think there are going to be two sets of numbers. One for the general public and one for software engineers.


i don't have numbers. that's my point. you're 90% may be totally accurate, but without an un-biased, double blind study, we'll never know.

And, i'm not sure that is possible. What is "irrational" to you may be PERFECTLY LOGICAL to someone else. So, who's definition do you use?

I agree that there are, to use one of your terms, "icky" people in the world - many more than i wish there were.

I'm also curious as to why you single out software engineers. is it just because that is who you tend to work/spend time with? Do you think maybe we should also separate out lawyers, clergymen/women, teenagers, veterans, Repulicans and Democrats - to name a few?

One could argue that software engineers are PART of the general public. You should therefore have MANY sets of numbers, for each group you want to subset out (yeah, i'm not sure i can really use the term like that, but English is a living language, afterall).

In some ways, taking a subset out like this seems wrong. "yeah, we did a survey and got a million data points, but this set of 200 proves/disproves the theory, so lets just focus on those".

I'm not trying to tell you you're wrong, i'm just trying to engage in a healthy discussion.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

I think that rational people generally don't get angry.

Two rational people can work together and there will probably never be anger.

A rational person working with an irrational person will probably eventually lead to the irrational person becoming innapropriately angry.

As for judging: It seems to be a step in trying to get to the truth and get to resolution of concerns, issues, etc. You must analyze the situation and if there is some less than helpful information (fallacy, anger spew, irrational ranting), it must be identified and set aside.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
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  16

I think that rational people generally don't get angry.


maybe people whoe are rational 100% of the time. But (not to get all Star Treky) humans are emotional creatures. it's part of what make us what we are. the ability to supress those emotions for a time is a wonderful power, but i don't believe anybody can do that all the time (i have no evidence to support this).

two rational people working together will probably SELDOM get angry. but if one day person A is having a craptacular day, some of those emotions might sneak in. i think it's just how we are.

and then, you're going to remember that one day when they freaked out, and from then on label them as an angry, irrational person.
Eric Pascarello
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Joined: Nov 08, 2001
Posts: 15376
    
    6
I just think they are Constipated.

Eric
marc weber
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Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

My impression (nothing more) is that much of this "anger" results from people having unrealistic expectations of entitlement. For a variety of reasons, they believe they simply should have large homes, expensive cars, etc. And when they realize they can't afford all of this -- when they're overwhelmed in debt without owning (or at least having) half the things they think they need -- they get frustrated and blame someone else. Often, there's not even a remotely rational connection. They're just venting inappropriately. And this reveals an even deeper layer of the problem: They believe they're entitled to that reaction as well.

But as prevalent as this seems, I have to agree with fred about the "gambler's fallacy." I couldn't even guess at a percentage. Besides, classifying people as "angry" or "not angry" seems awfully subjective, so I'm not sure we could even agree on what this number represents. But whether we're talking 10% or 90%, it's a disturbing trend.


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Eric Pascarello
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Posts: 15376
    
    6
Time to go get angry - Sit in the washington beltway with friday traffic. 29 miles = 2 hours! And I am not allowed to work from home on Fridays! GRRR

Eric
A. Levi
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Joined: Jul 26, 2003
Posts: 97
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
I think that rational people generally don't get angry.

Two rational people can work together and there will probably never be anger.

A rational person working with an irrational person will probably eventually lead to the irrational person becoming innapropriately angry.

As for judging: It seems to be a step in trying to get to the truth and get to resolution of concerns, issues, etc. You must analyze the situation and if there is some less than helpful information (fallacy, anger spew, irrational ranting), it must be identified and set aside.


I agree. Over a period of time two different personalities could clash.

As we live in a society governed by law, people keep their emotions in check. Having thoughts and acting upon them are two different things. My 2 cents.
Jayesh Lalwani
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Joined: Nov 05, 2004
Posts: 502
95% of people are angry and irrational atleast 5% of the time

5% of people are angry and irrational atleast 95% of the time
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Most people behave rationally to the extent of their intelligence. But you cannot expect sophisticated reasoning from people who were, say, unable to learn algebra.

Even among people with the ability to reason, there is also a trade-off between short-term versus long-term rewards and punishments; the length of one's outlook is a personality trait.

Anger is also a personality trait, though one's moral outlook can serve either to suppress or encourage it. Much of what passes for "consciousness raising" is actually the cultivation of anger.
ankur rathi
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Joined: Oct 11, 2004
Posts: 3830
There is an old saying in Hindi, jaisa bovoge, vaisa paoge. Translation is, the plant you get always belong to seed.

The intention is, people behave exactly how you behave with them unless he/she is some psycho.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Originally posted by rathi ji:
There is an old saying in Hindi, jaisa bovoge, vaisa paoge. Translation is, the plant you get always belong to seed.

The intention is, people behave exactly how you behave with them unless he/she is some psycho.
I think it's true that our behavior influences the behaviors of those with whom we interact. But I would have thought that saying referred to the effects of breeding and ancestry.
Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
It seems to me as if a lot of people act irrationally a lot of the time. They like to pretend that their actions are rational, but often the justification doesn't stand up to rational consideration.

As an example, over the weekend I lost my wedding ring. Despite only getting married six weeks ago, I've grown quite emotionally attached to the thing, and am now very upset that I can't find it.

This is not rational though - a purely rational argument would say that I could buy a replacement which would be pretty much identical to the original. I haven't even had it long enough for it to acquire many scratches which could distinguish it from the original. So why am I upset?

I'm upset because I'm not rational. Being irrational I know that a new ring would somehow not be the same as the original. It wouldn't be the ring that I got married with, and I wouldn't feel the same emotional attachment to it. I know that this point of view is irrational, but it didn't stop me spending last night turning my flat upside down trying to find the thing.

There are countless other examples. I've never met anyone who has ever been entirely rational, and (somewhat irrationally) I'd feel sad for them if they were. While it is great to be mostly rational, it is the irrational part of us which makes us human.


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

I think that wanting the first ring is rational. I would even go so far as to say that the first ring could have 20 times more value to you than an exact duplicate.
Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
If I work on the assumption that the ring has much more value then a replica (and I feel it does), then wanting to spend quite a bit of time looking for it is indeed rational. However, the initial assumption itself is not rational.

If someone was to compare the initial ring to a replica, they would notice little difference. There is nothing in the physical make up of the original ring which makes it more valuable. How can I justify giving the original more value? Only because I happened to be wearing it at a particular point in time. This means that the value I give to the original ring is entirely because of a memory I have in my head, not anything to do with the actual ring itself. Looking at it that way, valuing the original so highly does appear irrational.

Of course I'm not totally rational, and I do very much want the original back. Unfortunately I've run out of ideas of where to look, and may have to buy a replacement at the weekend
paul wheaton
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Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

You having 20 times more value for the first ring than for the second makes sense to me. There is a reason why that ring has more value to you. That is rational.

If you tried to sell me the first ring for 10 times the value of the second ring, and added that you were pained to part with it at half price, that would be irrational.
Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
You having 20 times more value for the first ring than for the second makes sense to me. There is a reason why that ring has more value to you. That is rational.
Ah! But it makes sense to you because you are (I assume anyway) a fellow irrational human being with a dash of sentimentality! The action of giving something additional value for purely emotional reasons isn't really rational - an emotionless alien from outer space would consider it highly illogical.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't do this though. Perceiving a higher value for emotional reasons is part of what makes life worth living - it turns the most mundane of objects into riches, and makes ordinary people special.
Frank Silbermann
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Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1387
Chacun � son go�t -- there is no accounting for taste. I guess that means taste is irrational.

All humans are affected by irrational instincts but, to a greater or lesser extent, are able to discipline them with a super-ego veneer of rationality.

There are many religious metaphors for this duality.
 
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