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Beware of the ‘callonoid’!

Apr 11,2019 - Last updated at Apr 11,2019

In our society, like in any society the world over, there are positive people, negative people and people in between.

Emile Habibi refers to the last as the “pessoptimists”, i.e. those who reflect the dual, oppositional traits or states of mind, of both pessimism and optimism.

Clearly, negative people pose a challenge to other individuals and to society at large, but the pessoptimists pose a challenge to both that is no less worrisome.

There is, however, another interesting type of people in our society which we have started to see more of, especially with the rise and spread of social media.

These are the simultaneously callous and paranoid: the “callonoid”, if one were to coin a term following Habibi’s strategy.

Who are they? What are they?

They are, simply, people who reflect the oppositional traits or reactions of extreme rudeness or extreme sensitivity depending on whether they are the subject or object of an action.

If they are the subject, i.e. speaking to or writing about others or what others say and do, they are cold-bloodedly aggressive, overtly cynical and satirical, instantly dismissive and are prone to sweeping generalisations and strong opinions that border on insult.

They are noticeably vocal about their own viewpoints, many of which are sheer impressions and assumptions; speak or write abundantly about anything and everything; care nothing about how others might feel or react, and are always judgmental.

If they are the object, on the other hand, they take offense at the slightest hint of a criticism, are always on the defensive, very sensitive about anything that belongs to or is associated with them, easy to provoke and anger and feel hurt, victimised and even distraught when others disagree with them, even if they do so politely and subtly, or when they say or do something they do not like.

They constantly put others under the microscope and derive great pleasure from dissecting them.

At the same time, they are pathologically protective of themselves, and dissociate themselves from any assessment or judgment.

They are a problem when they speak and a problem when they listen; when they speak they prohibit; when they listen, they inhibit.

This category of people is a problem to deal with at the personal level, but they are also a problem to society.

To our society at this point in time, they are, in fact, a huge problem. While negative people are, obviously, pulling us back, the callonoid are inhibiting and crippling us in equally crucial, perhaps even worse, ways.

Beware of the callonoid!

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