Nobody Thinks They’re The Bad Guy

Nobody thinks they’re the bad guy. Nobody wakes up in the morning, stretches out the crick in their neck, rubs the gunk out of their eyes, and thinks to themselves “Welp, time to go make the world a worse place than it was before I got here! What a great day to be evil.” It doesn’t happen. Nobody, nowhere, believes they’re the bad guy. There are people who know they are doing bad things, of course. And if you talk with them about it they may not even deny that that what they are doing is bad, but they will tell you at length how it is necessary. They’ll tell you how they have come to be in this terrible position of being forced to do bad in the world, despite the fact that they are, in their hearts, a good person. They may be very convincing. They may even be right. There are people who do not see what they are doing as evil in the first place, no matter how terrible it may seem to an outsider. These people do not see themselves as victims, but rather as warriors. They are fighting the good fight in their own minds, and they surround themselves with people who believe the same, or at least do nothing to challenge that belief. They are operating with a reality-interpreting grid that allows them to see some humans as “less,” or some human behavior as “unacceptable in any circumstances.” They live in a world where the stakes are high and time is short, and they are doing their part to make the world better. They may be wrong and they may be crazy, but they still never think of themselves as the bad guy. And this isn’t to say never fight back, it’s not to say you are required by some law of bipedalism to accept their opinion of themselves. This isn’t a demand that you never give up on anybody, no matter how foul their deeds or ideas. It’s just a reminder, just some information, because you will be more effective in the fight if you accept all of the intelligence available to you, that you will be in a better position if you build a more accurate internal model of your foes. Keep moving. Fight good fights. And pray to whatever gods will listen that the bad guy isn’t you.

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