Continuing from my Helmet Nazi post, I’m focusing today on the notion of Don’t Be A Dick (DBAD for short).
What does this mean?
Well, before we even define it, I have a suggestion. I think it’s pretty obvious that we know what a dick is, and when we see one, and that, like pornography, we know it when we see it. What’s more, I think that it’s also pretty obvious that from time to time, each of us acts like a dick.
And with that out of the way, we don’t need to define the term further. It’s a “meta” term.
That’s the beauty of it.
If someone acts in a way that bugs you, that, right there, is all you need to know not to be a dick. Just don’t act that way.
This, of course, is also known as the Golden Rule. It’s interesting that it’s a touchstone of so many cultures.
You didn’t really need to be reminded of it, did you?
I didn’t think so.
But here’s the hard part: when someone acts like a dick toward you, the automatic, almost thought-free, human way to respond is to act like a dick right back at them. And it accelerates, because they might think you acted like a dick first, and they were reacting to you. And so on, and so forth.
So, Part II of DBAD? DBAD even when someone else IBAD (Is being a dick).
DBAD defeats IBAD because it stops the cycle. Some people might think that DBAD under these conditions is “giving in.” I disagree. Because if you can stop the other person from IBAD, you’ve fundamentally changed the dynamic of the situation. And they might remember that later, so your DBAD action can have far-reaching effects.
And if DBAD > IBAD (quantitatively, in terms of your interactions with other people), wouldn’t that be a good thing?
Or, as the Roches put it: