As posted on an online philosophy forum in response to an accusation of overgeneralization about Americans. In keeping with my new found specificity I will write about Bob, a specific American living in Chicago.
I wouldn’t want to generalize about Americans.
I only say, that any assumptions made about the general entity known as Bob do not hold true for all his parts.
There are molecular exceptions to the general idea of Bob.
Bob lives in Chicago.
Bob is moral in that he has never personally killed or intentionally stolen anything. Of course Bob also votes and flag waves when his nation’s armed forces go off to kill in his name, but Bob’s sense of morality is limited to a 50 mile radius of his physical being and so he isn’t troubled by it; out of sight out of mind.
Bob secretly thinks that any death is worth his comfort but he preaches compassion and love in social get-together’s.
Bob hates haters.
Bob is religious.
Bob reads books frequently. In fact he can quote passages from various sources, and this, Bob takes as evidence of his intellectual fortitude. Of course Bob cannot come to any personal realization unless they are dictated to him from external sources.
Bob’s bookshelves are full of books he’s never read or hasn’t fully understood – ornaments.
Like many things that he owes they are symbols of his persona.
Bob inherits beliefs he does not earn them.
Bob can quote and he frequently displays his knowledge by using large words and by mentioning famous people.
Bob regurgitates ideas like a cow does fodder.
Bob does not know the difference between knowledge and intelligence.
Bob does not question his world. He does not challenge his perceptions and beliefs, as they were passed down to him.
Bob is loyal to his traditions.
Bob only displays skepticism at the corner grocery store where he is, often, doubtful if this is the best price he can get.
Bob’s skepticism begins and ends in his wallet.
Bob has ethics.
When Bob wants to form an opinion he does not open his eyes to the world and to his own experiences but he opens a book to another’s eyes and experiences - besides, Bob’s awareness of his own experiences is superficial.
Bob adopts critical thoughts because he is not confident in his own mind.
Bob is astute.
Bob secretly knows his own qualities, even when he pretends their opposite.
Bob is married and he has kids. He thinks his genes are so precious that they need to be preserved for future generations.
Bob’s genetic “quality” will be propagated into eternity.
Bob teaches his children to be just like Bob. They will become one of the many, parts to a greater whole, and this is his most comforting ideal.
Bob does not like to stand apart. He likes conforming and fitting in. He feels safe within uniformity….
Bob claims individuality as his highest value.
Bob contradicts himself a lot, because Bob hasn’t thought out his own thoughts….he’s been taught them.
Bob hates violence, especially when it is directed towards him and his precious offspring.
Bob believes in altruism and compassion mainly because he wants assurances that they will be offered to him in his time of need.
Bob thinks empathy automatically results in compassion.
Bob worships love…an a sacred idea.
Bob’s love comes cheap, because it isn’t his to give.
Bob is selfish but he believes that he is “good”.
Bob is egotistical, but vehemently despises arrogance.
Bob, hates himself….but don’t tell Bob that.
Bob has plenty.
Bob is fat on the products of his work. His very definition of happiness entails plentiful resources. It is therefore impossible for Bob to ignore his instincts.
Bob is rewarded handsomely for being Bob.
He eats often, even if it will eventually kill him.
Bob cannot keep his mouth closed. This is what he considers as evidence that he is successful and worthy of praise and imitation. A large frig is a good enough substitute for an empty head for Bob.
Bob has a nice car and a large home.
Bob believes in conservation, recycling and hates anyone that exploits others.
Bob’s world is founded on exploitation and excess and throw-away consumerism….but Bob will be offended if you tell him so.
Bob will think you are ill or envious of his lifestyle.
Bob will imagine clever little motives behind your disrespect for his delusions.
Bob just wants to be left alone.
Bob believes the things he owns are examples of his value.
Bob adorns his life with trinkets and wears labels of praise to hide the hollow interior.
Bob lives life in fear that people will discover his inner secret.
Bob fears people like me.
Bob depends on equalitarianism. He may be fat, stupid and ugly but that does not make him less than anybody else; so he says.
Bob believes just being born makes him worthy of respect and dignity.
Bob is a humanitarian.
Bob mocks all those that are his intellectual superiors. He finds ways to slander them.
Bob thinks thinking too much is anti-social and unhealthy.
Bob values stupidity. His own, most of all.
Bob needs this to remain sane.
Bob thinks he is lovable and sexually desirable, no matter how many layers of fat he is surrounded by.
Bob believes beauty is only skin deep, and that inner beauty counts for more.
Bob bullshits, a lot.
Bob lives in delusion.
Bob does not like being reminded of who and what he really is. He accuses all that do so of cynicism or reductionism. Sometimes he accuses them of over-generalizing.
Bob hates prejudice.
Bob believes everyone deserves respect even those that haven’t earned it. This because he wants assurances that others will respect him when uttering stupidities in public places.
Bob supports Democracy.
Bob reads the paper and is well-misinformed.
Bob thinks being published automatically makes you a dependable source.
Bob does not question the institutions of his society, of his culture, of his nation, of his religion.
He fears being alone; he is unable to stand in solitude.
Bob pretends like he cares.
Bob therefore finds it hard to swallow when someone shows disdain towards him. He thinks they must be suffering from some kind of disease.
Bob believes he deserves eternity, in paradise.
Bob thinks his existence is so important to the universe that it needs to be preserved forever.
Bob believes in God.
Bob is willing to allow others to kill on his behalf to save this part of his belief system.
Bob is a “good Christian” and a good citizen.
Bob wants his streets clean, access to health care, internal plumbing and the criminals in jail, but he just doesn’t want to pay taxes for it.
Bob is careful with his money. He lives on credit.
Bob regularly spends more than he earns, and so taxes become a burden upon his consumerism.
Bob believes in loving his neighbor and being his brother’s keeper.
Bob doesn’t understand what that means. He just believes in it.
Bob likes to posture and pretend, especially to himself.
But in the night in the deepest recesses of his being Bob senses intuitively his real self, his real worth, his real value and he grows desperate and ashamed.
He hates all that remind him of this undisclosed truth. He despises all those that bring into his consciousness all the things he hides even from himself.
Bob is a blind automaton destined to serve and die in complete subjugation and ignorance.
Bob will live but never know life; he will exist but never be aware of existence.
Bob will follow the rules, be respectful, politically-correct and compassionate; Bob is a hypocrite.
Bob is necessary.
How else would dirty deeds be made possible?
How else would great men make their ideals reality?
Bob is a nobody, but don’t tell Bob that. He’ll hate you for it. If you try to tell Bob what he is in a runabout way he will accuse you of generalizing to maintain his delusion and keep on pretending he is a “good” man.
Bob finds solace in numbers.
It is his participation in majorities that he sees as his 'truth'.
Bob is pathetic.