Class or prosperity levels broken out by psychological effect of most common dilemmas

Uber-rich: Never have to choose between two good options, the answer is always “both”. “I want to go to Harvard, but the Oxford library is so rich with tradition. I’ll just fly back and forth.” If the uber-rich are ever faced with a situation where the answer logically can’t be both, the uber-rich’s servants will end up moving moving heaven and earth to make it appear as if they were able to choose both, either to forestall narcissistic rage or to get a pittance from that sweet Vanguard money. After repeatedly choosing both, the psychological effect is to convince the uber-rich that they can have their cake and eat it too. This is how Greek tragedy levels of hubris are born.

Rich: Never have to choose between two bad options and follow the decision through to the end. For example, a person without health insurance is often faced with a choice between financial devastation and going without medical treatment. In modern America this applies to the middle class and up: not only do they never/rarely have to make such choices, they come to believe that no one ever has to make hard choices and they have contempt for the poor people who do. This gives rise to such beliefs as “Everything will work itself out/God will provide/We’ll find a way/Never sacrifice X for Y.” If you’re poor, a common experience is for a rich person to offer to help, get discouraged by the facts after hitting the first obstacle, and lose interest for lack of comprehension. For example, my sister in law once made a budgeting spreadsheet for me for all possible futures (which was very charitable of her, how many people do you know who will spontaneously put in half an hour to do your budget?). When we put in the actual numbers, all possible futures turned red. She wandered off in a daze because she wasn’t able to comprehend that a person could be in a financially hopeless situation.

(NB: There ended up being a solution, but it required some lateral thinking, a decade of financial support by family members, a course through the weirder corners of the internet, a lot of time, and a lot of good luck.)

The Messy Middle: This is an area where the most common choices are between good and bad options (“Should I have a beer with lunch before doing electrical work?”), but they also have exposure to good-good dilemmas and bad-bad dilemmas so it produces people who are psychologically normal. In current-day America, this is the lower middle class.

Poor: Always choosing between two bad options, like between payday loans and delinquency. This is usually due to an incapacity to follow through on the good options that are available to others, and most often due to mental retardation (or other forms of disability). Making choices of this sort repeatedly produces learned helplessness, pessimism, and fatalism. Behaviorally, it produces the tendency to procrastinate on hard decisions in the unrealistic hope that something will change to make the dilemma go away, which is rationalized with a combination of dark humor and copes: “Maybe I’ll be dead then/I’ma hit it big/All rap lyrics/Q is calling all patriots to the January 6 protest!/Obama he gave us a phone, he gonna do more”. But procrastinating on hard decisions is usually the worst choice in a double-bind, so it’s a vicious spiral. There’s also the issue of not following through on one of these decisions, e.g. “Art history at a private college was a bad financial decision but dropping out is worse…” then dropping out anyway.

Uber-poor: Never get to choose between bad options, you just get to watch in horror as other people make the worst choices possible every time, with very few exceptions. Untouchables. In America, this would be the profoundly disabled, such as locked-in syndrome (see: Ghost Boy), kids in the foster system, and sexually trafficked people. This intensity of emotional experience over a long period produces a very emotionally labile person, similar to a neurotic person except also capable of great joy and profound empathy. They will tend to have strong religious beliefs one way or the other, but they’re also at risk of falling into the learned helplessness spiral of the poor group above if they escape their captivity.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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3 Responses to Class or prosperity levels broken out by psychological effect of most common dilemmas

  1. Boneflour says:

    Joke for aiaslives:

    “You constructed a custom keyboard for your 12-layer typing system to write your boutique code more efficiently.

    My keyboard has three buttons because my entire codebase is from Stack Overflow. We are not the same.”

    • aiaslives says:

      You have a keyboard with three buttons because you copy-paste from stack overflow.

      I have a keyboard with one button that inserts github copilot suggestions.

      We are not the same.

  2. aiaslives says:

    Rich -> Upper-middle
    Uber Rich -> Rich

    9 digits are basically the end-all, you’ll likely have anything you want. Isn’t covered here.

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