Don’t be Naive — Unearned Wisdom

Sud Alogu
4 min readFeb 19, 2020

The Courage to Trust Others

Don’t trust others because you’re naïve, trust them because you’re courageous. You should expect them to have the capacity to hurt you, but you should be willing to take a chance anyway. That is the foundation of society.

Some people are too disagreeable, they refuse to be naïve about anything. They may be reading a great philosopher like Nietzsche, and if they find a sentence they don’t agree with, then they’ll throw out the book. But Nietzsche is one in a billion, so you can’t just throw him out, you need to learn to separate the wheat from chaff when you read. That is how you read well.

Some people, who have been burned, become cynical. They blame their problems on the structure of society, the oppressive patriarchy, but Peterson’s message is, while you may not be able to change things in a large way at first, you can do so in a small way. And incrementally, over time, you will be able to make a difference. That is the whole point of democracy.

“it’s not gonna be easy. But if you hide from your truth, then you hide from yourself. Then what are you? You’re a puppet. You’re the puppet of some coward, some dictator, or some second rate philosopher, or some idiotic idea. But it’s not you living your life, and then you lose your life, and you lose your soul too. So, that’s what I’m afraid of.” Jordan Peterson

Don’t Just Follow Rules

To be good, you can’t just follow rules. You must understand malevolence so that you can withstand it, you must understand that part of you that is malevolent. Part of personality development is your shadow, those parts about you that you don’t admit to. You can learn about it by reading history, ex: Auschwitz, imagine yourself as a guard. When you do, then you understand something about yourself. Something Jung taught is that you cannot respect yourself unless you know you are a monster.

If you regard yourself as nice and harmless, then you have no reason to be careful. But that is not what human beings are like. This is part of the motif in Harry Potter.

To women, the man who is attractive is the one who has the capacity to be aggressive, to confront chaos and wreak havoc. In movies, the beta male, who is usually the friend she confides in, is never attractive to women — it’s the man who has an edge who is.

People who haven’t integrated their shadow are naïve, and you can tell that just by looking at them. And because they’re naïve, they’re also resentful because they’re taken advantage of. Someone who has integrated their shadow is dangerous, but they don’t have to use their strength in the same way a martial artist doesn’t. And this gives them self-respect.

Recognizing yourself as the locus of evil gives you self-respect.

Encountering Malevolence

If you encounter someone who is psychopathic and you are naïve, they will take you apart, and you won’t believe that something like that could happen. What traumatizes people is malevolence, far more than tragedy. Some people are okay with hurting someone even if it means hurting themselves. This is what we see with school shootings. If you encounter this in others or yourself, it will be a deeply unsettling experience.

If you ask a disagreeable people what they want, they will instantly tell you, and will tell you how they plan on getting it. But if you ask an agreeable person, they won’t have a clue, because they’re so accustomed to living for other people.

Agreeable people need to be careful not to be exploited. In psychoanalysis, agreeable people get assertiveness training, they are taught how to negotiate. They are taught to speak honestly. Agreeable people don’t like conflict, and that is probably because they are wired to maintain the peace around infants.

A well socialized disagreeable person does not let things get in their way. And they can be very useful to others. But if they are not socialized, then they become criminals. That’s why as a parent, you should discipline your children. If their aggression is not tamed successfully, they will be rejected by their peers. Therefore, as a parent, your job is to socialize your child before the age of four, before their personalities take full shape.

Originally published at on February 19, 2020.