Playwright George Bernard Shaw famously said “Never fight with a pig. You’ll just get dirty and the pig likes it.” I say “never say never.” Trapped with a pig – a boss, a relative, a dictator, a president – you have to fight. The question is how?
How do you fight someone who has discovered the idiot’s delight, cheap trick, gloataholic’s formula for pretending to be invincible by turning every challenge against the challenger?, someone who automatically deflects or reverses all criticism with variations on “nya nya” and “I know you are but what am I?
I’ve been struggling with this question for 20 years. Even wrote a poem about it:
I try to be a nice guy
But if you show up done,
ready for a fight you're
already sure you've won
I'm gonna do my best
to have you leave here disappointed
with your scheme to dip in quick,
as the one who only tutors,
teaching others what to think
cause it's attitudes like that
that put the whole world on the brink.
Here in a nutshell is what I’ve got so far.
You can’t just keep supplying attacks that they’ll reverse and deflect. Instead, use obverse psychology, obverse meaning the other side of the coin.
See these gloataholic pigs, they’re trying to escape the balancing act no one can escape. There are two sides to every coin but they pretend there aren’t. They keep flipping the coin to their advantage, all “heads I win, tails you lose”, or “tails I win, heads you lose”, whatever side of the coin serves them in the moment.
Simple example: They’ll chew you out for being too sensitive as though sensitivity is always wrong, but next minute they’re chewing you out for not being sensitive.
Obverse psychology is pointing out that we’re all betting when to be sensitive and insensitive. Pretending you’re not is half-witted one-side-blind BS.
So when they say “dude, lighten up, get over it. Don’t be so sensitive,” say “if you mean you’d be less sensitive in this situation, fine. You’re entitled to your opinion. But if you’re half-witted enough to pretend you’re insensitive to everything, you’re only kidding yourself.”
See? Two sides to the coin, when to be sensitive and insensitive.
Now flip it. If someone calls you uncaring, say “if you mean I should care about this, cool, your opinion. If you mean we should all care about everything always. Nah, no one does.”
They call you ignorant, in a bubble, not seeing the whole picture. You say, “You think I’m ignoring the wrong thing? OK, your opinion. But we all ignore stuff, a point you’re ignoring by claiming to have the whole picture.”
Or say they call you a hater. You say, “You’re right, I hate that thing. But if you’re saying you love everything, that’s just nonsense on stilts. Love isn’t the answer, it’s the question. We’re all trying to figure out what to love and hate. Can’t do one without the other. If you love peace, you hate war, right? Only, half-wits pretend they’re all loving."
Obverse psychology, gets pigs off their exceptionalist high horse, forcing them to rejoin humanity where we’re all betting on what to do situation by situation, not coin flips, educated guesses but always with two sides of the coin as possible better bets.
That’s obverse psychology!