Social Question

Hibernate's avatar

Why does the world regress to being mean ?

Asked by Hibernate (9063points) July 12th, 2011

Most people take offense at everything nowadays. Most people do not like to share other people’s views. They either “brand” them as not suited to be heard or less likely to say something of value. Most people are so frustrated that they only hang around people who are like them (they know what they think or what they will say AND they know 100% they will get support for anything they do.) Now… why does one have to be mean toward the others they do not like / understand / accept, etc.? A few centuries ago being mean was something people respected…Does one get the proper respect now for doing the same? I may not have pointed out the exact ideas of what I was thinking though I’d like you people to discuss around it a bit. Thanks.

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22 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I think you’re generalizing too much about “most” people.

Or it could be that people are reacting badly specifically to you, and you need to take some responsibility for that.

Personally, I don’t find that “most” people I meet take offense at very much. And no one I know or have met takes offense at “everything”, so that’s a huge over-generalization.

Same with “sharing other people’s views”. I may not agree with many other views (take it from me: I don’t), but I’m happy to hear others out, generally without interruption.

I’m not in the least offended by your perceptions. But I think you may want to look deeper into the reason why you seem to be seeing ‘only this’.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @CWOTUS

If you go looking for negativity you will find it, and same goes for noticing the good and positive. The mind always wants to glom onto the bad while ignoring the good. You need to reprogram your mind to look for and EXPECT to find the good side of humanity.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Some people are rigid thinkers @Hibernate. If their opinion doesn’t match yours, they’ll tell you “you’re wrong”. What you need to remind yourself is that what they say is not a fact it’s their personal opinion.

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Hibernate's avatar

@SpatzieLover I feel you . But I wonder a lot why after repeating several time [ for just a person ] one still uses the ” was that sarcasm ? ”

@Coloma believe me I see a lot more good in humans than others but when someone constantly points bad aspects they cannot be unnoticed [ or is it not noticeable ] .

@CWOTUS I hear most till the end and then say I either support their views or tell them they have a view which is a lot different than mine . I generalized because I wanted to ask a particular one but got my question moderated a while ago so I understood I had to be general and not use names .
It’s like this .. I know that I’m not an easy person to be understood not to say liked . But when I see people reacting negative to all my comments [ without having to much contact with them prior to those situations ] then I have to wonder what’s wrong… I may be the most hated by some but at least they explain WHY . I toked the responsibility and I ended with no reply or explanation so I can’t understand it .

Coloma's avatar


Who is this someone? If it’s a super negative person you know then just keep your distance.

Hibernate's avatar

Actually it’s not but just like to be rude .
In any case someone else gave the advice to stay away and that’s what I did .

I just wanted to understand it better [ I might miss something ] .

Berserker's avatar

If I have to speak on a grand scale, I don’t think that our nature has changed all that much. I wasn’t around anytime before the eighties, but I’ll just make a guess.
In any case, I’d rather someone not agree with me and call me a Nazi, rather than get tortured for being branded a witch. :/

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Whenever people tell me that things are worse today, I try and explain that people really did use to own slaves. I hope that they understand that we are far kinder to each other now than ever before. It is a tremendous mistake to think that things used to be better than they are today. It is also the most common mistake in the world. The oldest graffiti ever found says “The younger generation is going to hell”.

People who are mean are sick inside. Pity them.

raven860's avatar

People do not grow up with all we have learned as mankind over the centuries. Unless educated through parenting or other sources, they start from scratch or with very little information.

repeater75's avatar

If everything is relative and we are all just animals evolved from rearranged pond scum, there isn’t much reason to NOT be selfish and mean. However, if there is an author of goodness and truth who sets the standard, we have ample reasons to be concerned about how we treat others. I believe that the presuppositions of your worldview (the lens through which you interpret reality) dictate your behavior in large part. So, with the secularization of society as a whole has come callousness and rational self interest in the place of servant leadership and other qualities expected of a mature Christian, for example.

repeater75's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought – we are all sick inside by nature. (Romans 3:10–18)

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@repeater75 I agree, however, I am far less conventionally religious than I was in my youth.

I have admired the lilies of the field, and know myself now to be arrayed.

CWOTUS's avatar

By the way: in the expression “regress to the mean”, the word “mean” does not mean “impolite, un-civil and nasty”. In this sense the word “mean” means “average, most common and ‘central tendency’”.

I hope that clears any lingering confusion over the wording you chose. “Regress to the mean” does not mean “revert back to wild and un-civil behavior”; it means “return to the way things usually are.”

blueiiznh's avatar

@CWOTUS but the question states “regress to being mean”. That is very different than “regress to the mean”. Maybe I missed something.

On the OP, Being rigid and firm about an opinion is not being mean. But someone forcing their opinion and not being open minded to your opinion is rather frustrating. At the end of it all just try to realize how it fits into everything because we all walk in different shoes.
This does not mean that a person should be “mean” or disrespectful. I see many acts of people not respecting others and that is what worries me most.

~ Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. ~ Helen Keller

incendiary_dan's avatar

Part of the general mindset of civilized societies is that their way is right. Not everyone ascribes to it, but it’s sort of programmed into us. On top of that, I’m one of those people who feels that our increasing mechanization has further fragmented our communities, and a huge effect of that is the loss of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. Emotional intelligences and such. As a result, I think a lot of people aren’t equipped to interpret what others are actually saying, and increasing egocentrism often causes people to not consider that someone else might be saying something other than what they think they’re saying, since we all use language slightly differently.

CWOTUS's avatar


I only pointed out what I did because of the word choice used by the OP. “Regress to being mean” is an unusual combination of words that ‘resembles’ “regress to the mean” and could have been in the OP’s head when the question was written.

One doesn’t always know what a questioner means when the language use is as imprecise as it can be here… and seemed to be in this case.


I’m not really sure what it is that you’re saying here. Some of your word choices have me scratching my head. “Intrapersonal” skills? This would be “skills in dealing with myself”? The only way we can be equipped “to interpret what others are actually saying” is to be precise in our language, in forums such as this, or to be intuitive or psychic or very experienced with the particular ways in which non-standard speakers use the language.

As far as ethnocentrism, which is what I think you started to allude to, I don’t believe that “the American way” is right for anyone but Americans – and not all of them, apparently. I know that “it works here,” though, and it probably could work elsewhere, too. But people who don’t ascribe to “the American way” aren’t necessarily wrong – and not even in America.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@CWOTUS Yea, that’s exactly what intrapersonal skills are. Maybe it’s because I’m working on writing a piece about various related topics, but I think it’s important in terms of how we relate to each other. As for the ethnocentrism, I wasn’t thinking specifically that, but sure, that’s a part of it. I was thinking more personally, though. Like I said, not everyone ends up internalizing it, but it’s presented to us and a lot of us do. Your own opinions about the “rightness” and appropriateness of Americanism to Americans is a smart one, just not one many thinks in terms of, sadly.

roundsquare's avatar

There will always be people tho take insult very easily… that’s just life. In addition, online forums present a new challenge for being polite. People type of a particular tone of voice in their head but that doesn’t come across online. Online forums would improve drastically if everyone took a few minutes to search for the various ways to interpret someone else’s comments and chose the least insulting reasonable interpretative.

@CWOTUS Precision doesn’t always help. Often times, people ignore the added precision in a statement because they already “know” what you want to say.

@incendiary_dan If we are losing intrapersonal skills (which I’m not sure if we are) I wonder if its connected, in part, to the deluge of information things like the internet provide. So much information being thrown at us leaves less time for introspection.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@roundsquare That’s the best theory I’ve heard so far. But in addition to the information, it’s the constancy of interconnection with others through technological media, like people who are always on Facebook with their iPhone or somesuch.

roundsquare's avatar

@incendiary_dan Or fluther…

Very true. But I wonder if its just a “phase.” Right now we’re trying to apply face-to-face standards to online forums The square peg fits in the round hole if you hammer it in but you end up damaging both peg and hole. I suspect that as online forums evolve people will develop new standards for what is polite, impolite and downright mean.

Hibernate's avatar

Thanks for replies ^^

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