Failure Cults

When someone buys a product they don’t believe in, what do they do? They evangelize it. This is not hypocrisy; this is rational behavior. Selling you on it validates their own purchase, and quells their mental storm of cognitive dissonance.

When someone fails at an endeavor, what do they do? They preach that success would be impossible, or undesirable. This is the same psychological self-defense mechanism.


Tasks that are objectively difficult, generate large bodies of failures. They assure each other that failure was “the right move”, and agglomerate into failure cults.

Failure cultists criticize those who succeeded, as a signal to identify each other. Note the tinge of jealously.

Failure cultists deserve pity, not hatred. They are victims of an upbringing and education by failure cultists before them.

Failure cultists can be saved. Not through logical argument, but through example. Failure cultism exploits a vulnerability in the human reliance on social proof; that is its weakness, too.

Be successful, and vocal when your success is criticized. They don’t hate you, they’ve just given up believing it is possible to be like you. Show them they’re wrong. Rekindle their hope.


Fat Shaming is Compassionate

Every fat person would become more physically attractive by slimming down.

Being more attractive leads to greater romantic success.

Stigmatizing excessive fatness encourages fat people to reach a more attractive body fat level; it pre-empts others from becoming excessively fat.

Suppressing fat shaming—through widespread “fat acceptance”—removes this social cue. That’s unhelpful.

When someone needs advice, a coward tells them what they want to hear; a true friend tells them what they need to hear.