Why are ignorant jerks so frustrating?

We all begin with ignorance. In fact, we are so ignorant at first, that we do not even know it!

Without any effort, we can notice sensations like sounds and sights. We can observe things changing- contrasts and variations.

We may even experience repulsion in regard to other things that are stressful, like very bright lights or sudden loud noises. In contrast to repulsion (or simply a sense of caution toward the unfamiliar), we can also experience attraction to some things or interest in those things.  We can even experience both powerful curiosity and a conservative caution, like being very attentive to a surprising or even disturbing sound (very concerned and unable to focus on anything else, totally distracted or obsessed), but also very hesitant to actually act on our attraction, remaining completely still rather than attempting to identify the source of the sound.

We are still too surprised or shocked to know how to respond. At most, we pause for a period of alertness and simply wait to see if the excitement or stress fades.

So, while we are still ignorantly ignorant, we begin to take actions. We notice patterns, like every time we take a certain action, like crying, than there is a certain result. Maybe we learn that crying brings us attention from mother. Maybe every time that we cry, then she provides us milk. Of course, every pattern of cause and effect can change or even end.

So we can form expectations, but those expectations can be violated or disappointed. When expectations are disappointed, there can be a period of disorientation and confusion.

Confusion is quite distinct from merely being surprised. Surprise refers to the absence of expectation. Confusion instead refers to the presence of an expectation plus the violation of the expectation. I confuse one thing for another- I confuse what is actually happening for what I expected to be happening until I realize that what I expected and what is actually happening are not consistent. My expectation appears to have been simply wrong or imprecise. I was not just surprised by the presence of something unfamiliar, but by the absence of something familiar or expected. That can be quite exciting- even terrifying.


That confusion can lead next to a very distinct stage called exploration. Exploration is intentional learning to explore some mystery or curiosity by using a kind of logic called speculation. That is very distinct from a learning process that is accidental or incidental- like when we repeatedly take an instinctive action and then eventually observe a particular pattern of effects or results.

child on bike

Exploration involves a creative speculating. I may identify a series of actions or experiments to take in order to, first of all, confirm that my prior expectation really was violated. Second, I may attempt to identify other patterns of cause and effect that are beyond my previous presumptions about causes and effects.

So, experimentation is just an intentional exploration to identify cause and effect. Further, it may work well or not at all.

Is a particular experiment always valuable? Is it always fast? Is it always reliable? Are there ever inaccurate presumptions or logical speculations that are later determined to be questionable or even clearly imprecise?

The methods for measuring results can change. The attraction to particular results can shift (with the attraction increasing or decreasing, even to the point of repulsion, like the older child who no longer wants to be seen in public riding a tricycle).

Exploration can be frustrating. Why? Because prior experiments may have been generally fast and successful. Maybe an expectation has been formed that exploration would be easy- or should be easy.

I may expect that, supposing that a certain thing happens, or should it ever happen, then a particular effect will arise. “It simply must,” I could say in exasperation or desperation. “What are all of those other people doing ahead of me in this line? This is so unfair! Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?!?!”

Maybe I expect particular other people to be able to guide me. Maybe I expect them to not only have the ability to guide me but further to drop everything whenever I cry or whine so that they can have the great privilege of investing their time in to guiding me and supporting my explorations.


So, let’s review. We’ve covered the original ignorance, then observing sensations and contrasts, then experiencing attractions and repulsions, including very disruptive surprises. Further, we learned to form expectations, which can be disappointed, leading to confusion. We can experiment to resolve confusions, though that can be a source of great frustration or of great relief.

We can even reach a point of such desperation that we lash out at others to repel them or attempt to attract their involvement and assistance and expertise. When people are frustrated, they have been frustrated by violated expectations that are confusing to them.

Frustration is not a type of clarity, but a type of confusion- also mixed with a distinct attraction to a result. When people have had an expectation, then it has been violated leading to confusion, plus they are very attracted to some particular result, then they may experience frustration. Only during frustration, do they get desperate enough to speculate about blaming some alleged source of their repulsive experiences: like what to blame or who to blame for the frustration, confusion, and disappointment.

Someone like that may even be very irritable or highly sensitive about public observation of their confusion or disappointment. Even without any sense of blame, they may tend to be volatile and aggressive to protect themselves from interruption to their process of grieving and relaxing and intentional learning.

They may display behaviors that are unusual for them and be labeled a weirdo or a jerk. Others may ask “why are they so critical about such minor issues?” The simple answer may be that they currently prefer privacy and relaxation to publicity and stress. Maybe they attempt to minimize any interactions that are not very attractive and valuable to them, such as anything that they consider “too predictable” (as well as anything “too unpredictable”).

What is valuable to a person who is being a jerk? Like anyone else, they may value a sense of safety and perhaps also social validation. They may value interacting with people who display clarity and precision and competence- people that they are comfortable trusting.

They may be frustrated with anyone who seems to them to be desperately worshiping unreliable expectations. They may attribute very little value to people who seem to be afraid of any uncertainty or disappointment or frustration or controversy. They may especially value interacting with people who are experiencing a similar kind of exploration to their own.

Those jerks are being critical, being selective, being unusually logical. They have preferences and interests that may be rare or even exclusive. Other people may call them snobs. Oddly enough, these snobby snobs are in fact so snobby that when others criticize them, they do not even erupt in to tantrums of panic like normal people. Why aren’t they paranoid abot pleasing everyone all of the time?

They are total jerks. They are complete snobs.

By the way, I am not jealous of them. I do not wish I was as calm and comfortable as they are. That is crazy.

They suck because I do not understand them at all. How can they be like that? It is wrong. It violates my expectations. I hate them very much because I have no interest in them whatsoever.

In fact, they clearly should be more interested in me! It is a disgrace that they are so confusing and frustrating and disappointing.

I am ashamed of them. I am ashamed of how they act. I am ashamed of… um… I am ashamed… um… of…  oh, yeah… I am ashamed… of other people! And I am very proud of it, too.

Excuse me, but didn’t you just say, “I am ashamed…?”

No, I said that those other people, that they are shameful and horrible and upsetting because they do not behave the way that I expect them to and they owe it to me to fulfill all of my expectations because I am a very sincere person and that is just the way it is. I’m just telling it like it is here, right? Aren’t I? Don’t you agree with me?

I’m only asking you if you agree because I am planning to physically assault anyone who makes jokes about not agreeing with me with the proper enthusiasm like I deserve. In case you did not know, I am going straight to heaven just as soon as God realizes that I have earned being rewarded with eternal paradise… yeah, that’s right, baby- just as soon as God gets off of his snobby butt and starts eternity.





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