Today I saw a quote mistakenly attributed to Meryl Streep that has gotten a ton of traction for some reason on social media. It actually comes from (apparently) some relatively unknown Portuguese writer who is now attempting to have the quote correctly attributed to him for some reason:
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.
I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
Ok, starts off sort of ok, then quickly turns to choosing not to coexist with certain aspects of humanity, not tolerating certain aspects of humanity (hating comparisons? really, hate?), avoiding people who are rigid and inflexible (are you rigid and inflexible in saying these things?), bored by exaggerations (which is probably the most pretentious things that I've read today, but I haven't read too much), and having difficulty accepting people who don't happen to find as much joy in animals as this guy seems to. Really? You're not going to struggle "accepting" someone who is not a fan of animals?
To me this on its face, and as evidenced by all of the "likes" and "shares" it has garnered, seems to be clearly celebrating intolerance. When I first read it and thought it might have been Meryl Streep, I thought, ok, you are maybe just a little like all of the other kind of racist/intolerant/bigoted old people I know who have gradually seemed to be less tolerant of difference, either in people, viewpoints, or activities -- things and people that may or may not directly affect you, yet you are still "displeased" with the very thought of them.
You can't handily write off huge swaths of human behavior as being beyond tolerance, patience, or even coexistence and be seen as a lover of mankind. No one has to tolerate people who are easy to get along with or things that you already like. Tolerating only comes into play with things that are hard for you to deal with, displease you, or hurt you. And what does it mean to deserve someone else's patience? It really makes you wonder, who would be worthy of this guy's patience? It reminds me of another quote that I have seen in the feeds of my not immediate family "if you're helping someone and expecting something in return, you're doing business not kindness". Similarly, if you are being patient with someone who you kind of think is great or tolerating someone that is really pretty similar to you, you're not actually being patient or tolerant, are you? I'm not necessarily saying this guy is wrong for thinking or saying these things, I'm just saying that this is exactly the sort of thing that sociopaths get castigated for -- seeing and valuing other people merely for what effect they have on you rather than allowing them to be their own individual expression of humanity that deserves equal shrift to your own.
See, as I type this I indicate to you that I clearly have a distaste for certain types of things. This type of attitude, for instance. But I don't think it's abhorrent or repulsive, or not deserving of my tolerance or patience, and I don't think that I can just choose not to coexist with people like this. Because everyone in the world is different from me. I'm sure there is no one who shares exactly my tastes and opinions on every single issue. The arrogance is not in assuming he is right to think these things, because of course when we form opinions that's a form of thinking we're right, that's what it means to form an opinion and we do it hundreds if not thousands of times a day. The arrogance comes from dismissing or punishing or otherwise treating people more poorly for having certain opinions dissimilar to yours, at least or perhaps particularly when those opinions don't affect you at all (how is this guy offended by whether I like animals or not?).
But people love this quote for some reason. Why?