The ones you are better than

(Previously posted to Patreon)

Firefly“. Episode: Shindig:

 Mal and Jayne; in a coerced meeting with Badger, who is trying to hire them for a new job.

Mal: You backed out of a deal last time. Left us hanging. 

Jayne: Hurt our feelings. 

Mal: You recall why that took place?  

Badger: I had a problem with your attitude is why. I felt you was… what’s the word?  

Jayne: Pretentious?  

Badger: Exactly! You think you’re better than other people!  

Mal: Just the ones I’m better than.

Recognizing you are better than some other people. It happens. In the world of Firefly it can cause problems, and it can do the same in the real world.

 How can it be wrong to feel superior to people you are superior to? It might not be “politically correct”, but you really are better than some people. In at least some ways, and probably in lots of ways.

 You may be smarter, or kinder. You may be more generous. Or, you might be more ethical because you abide by the Zero Aggression Principle. But I guarantee you, in some way you are better than me, and in some way (I hope) I am better than you. And it’s the same when any two people are compared. I am not superior or inferior in every way to anyone, and neither are you.

 This oddity of not being happy about, or even acknowledging, the ways in which you are “better than” seems harmful to me. If there is nothing better to see and aspire to, then everyone may as well wallow in mediocrity. Never strive to improve.

 Personally, I want to be around people who are better than me. I want to learn from them those things where they put me to shame. I hunger for that, and can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want the same.

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