I submit that the unifying core, the essence of jerkitude in the moral sense, is this: the jerk culpably fails to appreciate the perspectives of others around him, treating them as tools to be manipulated or idiots to be dealt with rather than as moral and epistemic peers. This failure has both an intellectual dimension and an emotional dimension, and it has these two dimensions on both sides of the relationship. The jerk himself is both intellectually and emotionally defective, and what he defectively fails to appreciate is both the intellectual and emotional perspectives of the people around him. He can’t appreciate how he might be wrong and others right about some matter of fact; and what other people want or value doesn’t register as of interest to him, except derivatively upon his own interests. The bumpkin ignorance captured in the earlier use of ‘jerk’ has changed into a type of moral ignorance.
The opposite of the jerk is the sweetheart. The sweetheart sees others around him, even strangers, as individually distinctive people with valuable perspectives, whose desires and opinions, interests and goals are worthy of attention and respect. The sweetheart yields his place in line to the hurried shopper, stops to help the person who dropped her papers, calls an acquaintance with an embarrassed apology after having been unintentionally rude. In a debate, the sweetheart sees how he might be wrong and the other person right.
New York - Night. Skyline of Lower Manhattan.
New York City is stunning when it is teetering on the brink of midnight without a trace of the day anywhere in sight.
Skyscrapers come to life casting their light over the water like nets; steely-eyed fishermen with gleaming eyes.
And as the wind slow dances across the surface of the water with the city lights, the rest of the world seems to slip away.
This is a 20 second long exposure taken late at night with the Sony NEX-7 overlooking the New York City skyline of lower Manhattan and Pier 17. In this scene: the skyscrapers of the Financial District including the Woolworth Building, 1 WTC (also known as the Freedom Tower), New York by Gehry, and the South Street Seaport.
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