I don’t like Dragon Ball
Or Dragon Quest
Why? Well, my friend, it is because Akira Toryama‘s character designs make me angry. And you know why they make me angry? Everybody else in the world loves Toryama and everything he does.
In fact, nothing makes me more angry than when other people like stuff that I don’t like. And I’m not alone. Try praising something online. You will immediately get swarmed by random people insulting that very thing.
Why do they care? Who are they, anyway? Can’t they just let you like what you like in peace?
Yes. Yes they can. And I’m here to tell them how.
The key, as with all things, is to understand the real reason(s) why we respond the way we do. But I don’t know you, so I’ll just talk about myself and assume everyone else is like me. I’m pretty normal, right?
After being baffled by myself for a while, I have finally determined that the reasons I get angry when people like stuff that I don’t are as follows:
Reason 1: FOMO
When everyone else likes something I don’t, I experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I see how much fun everyone else is having, and start to panic that I can’t join in. I wish I could like what they like so I could be having that much fun too!
However, as everyone knows, FOMO leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate . . . leads to suffering. After all, if I can just prove to you and myself that the thing you like isn’t worth liking — or if I can get you to stop by shaming you — I won’t feel left out anymore.
Reason 2: FOHTGTF
To understand this sentence, you have to put yourself in my shoes and ask, “What would I have meant if I had used those words?” This is a lesson I learned from my dissertation director during a lecture on Edmund Husserl. #philosophy
But imagine trying to get inside the head of someone who likes something you don’t. The leap will either be too far; you’ll be afraid of falling into a bottomless pit. Or the task will be too repulsive; you’ll feel like you’re being asked to vividly imagine eating something disgusting.
But what happens when you think you’re going to fall or puke? That’s right: you get scared. Let’s call this the Fear Of Having to Go Too Far. And as everyone knows, FOHTGTF (pronounced “Fought Guh Tough”) leads to anger, which leads to hate, which leads to suffering.
How Knowing This Helps
If you’re the one getting angry — as I so often am — knowing that you’re angry because you’re afraid (of missing out, or of having to go too far) can help you keep your mouth shut.
What if you’re the one other people are attacking? Well, your haters only hate you because (a) they wish they could be having fun alongside you or (b) because you are awful, in the original, etymological sense of that word. Either way, you’re pretty cool.