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During my corporate years, an executive of the company once pulled me aside and told me his philosophy that there are two types of people. He called them "good bears" and "bad bears." He thought I would be delighted to know I was a good bear. My first reaction, which I kept inside my head where it would be safe was "Thanks for the nothing, you simplistic bastard." But in the fullness of time I have come to embrace his philosophy.

I allow for some slop in my designations. Everyone is nice sometimes, and everyone has their selfish or evil moments. But at a person's core you will find either a good bear or a bad bear.

Case in point, a reader sent me this observation from his workplace.

"Extra food from company events is often put in the break room areas for those who weren't involved in the meeting.  I have a co-worker who, when happening upon the food, will pack it up and take it home.  He rarely leaves anything behind.  One time he was seen taking the bag the food was delivered in out of the trash so he could repack it.  He's been seen packing up the left over plastic silverware, napkins and plates, but leaving behind the Italian dressing.  He must not like that kind."

While I can't rule out the possibility that this person was taking the food to a homeless shelter, something tells me that isn't the case. The homeless often like Italian dressing. In any case, this is just an example.

Do you buy into the philosophy that people are either good bears or bad bears at their core?
 
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Jan 7, 2009
There are too many "there are two kinds of people, x and y", for any of them to be true.

I can't tell from the story that the food vulture is really a bad guy. We had a similar guy back in better economic times that endured endless ridicule from co-workers from taking home leftovers from corporate events. He would even ask when out to lunch (individually paid for), "Are you going to take that home?" If he/she wasn't, he'd either finish it or bring it home himself. But he generally didn't take food before everyone else had rejected it. I saw him as just insanely frugal, and admired that he didn't care it made him a pariah. Now, though, the company has much less cash to spend on buying its employees lunch, and the vulture got fired for an inappropriate remark about a co-worker's breasts, so everybody has had to find something else to complain about. Like the lack of free lunches.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
Technically you can always divide people into 2 camps, so long as you can provide some sort of defining separation. Some semi-witty examples are already floating around in the comments.

Here's how I would divide the "good" and the "bad"

"good" people are (one or more of these)...
- naive and don't know any better, so they blindly follow the rules of decency.
- cashing in on karma, which they believe to be a real force.
- forward thinking, and know that karma is only an approximation, but it's still best to play the odds.
- get a sense of personal pleasure and/or satisfaction when they are civil and decent and kind.
- believe they are fulfilling a biological imperative (or instincts) - humans are advanced social animals, and social animals synergize best when they cooperate.
- some other explanation (X).

"bad" people are (one or more of these)...
- borderline insane people enslaved by their own short-sighted, selfish impulses.
- lazy-brained people who can't be bothered to properly think through the consequences of their actions.
- believe they are fulfilling a biological imperative (or instincts) - humans are animals and predators, and animals don't follow rules. These dummies ignore or neglect the social aspects of the human species.
- self-deluded folks who think they're being good, but are above the human condition somehow, and have the right to manipulate others or control them against their will.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
Yes, but I also think that everyone considers themselves a "Good Bear". Every person's actions seem reasonable to themselves, no matter how inexplicable or offensive they may be to others.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
No Scott, there are THREE kinds of people, those who understand math and those who don't.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 7, 2009
I know a cop who says there are two types of people: felons and people who haven't been caught yet. Scary when you think about it.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 7, 2009
The guy who collects the leftovers is just a cheap and poor person. It's not a big crime.
There are other types of the TWO -kinds- of-people system in the corporate world:
-those who play politics, and those who don't. The first group do not produce , and they hurt the second group badly.
-those who work (5% do 95% of the work), and those who only talk.
-those who gossip, and those who don't.
-those who kiss-butt of the boss, and those who don't.
-those who love their work, and those who hate their work.
-those who have ambition, and those who do just enough to pass the time.
etc.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 7, 2009
aww I cant use say ass and hole?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 7, 2009
Personally I just use the !$%*!$% theory.

We're all !$%*!$%s. Some of us are just bigger !$%*!$%s then others
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
Mr. Adams,
I am neither a good bear nor a bad bear, I'm more of an intermediate primate. Your comments, as well as much of your work illustrates a true concern for lifting society to a higher place, while keeping a sense of humor. I often appropriate from sources around the world that have great value and your work is part of those sources.

I can visualize your feelings about the person you use to work with clearly. Using that logic. I will begin a dialogue with you where you are the ‘good bear’ and I am the intermediate primate. The material I am drawing from is a direct appropriation of yesterday's blog entry by yourself.

Scott, as a simple man, I extract information from sources, much like biblical scholars, and biblical celebrities. I have pulled out some important and relative highlights that have a high degree of merit. I also addessed flaws in three of your arguments. I call these the no cigar points, [class room - please refer to my notes on Dan Piraro]



http://dilbert.com/blog/

Blog Jan. 06, 2009 by Scott Adams

[Sign of the End Time]

we're on the cusp of a change as fundamental as the industrial revolution

the change will be on the consumption

an economic necessity

The Internet will make this revolution possible.

we're facing a severe budget deficit

**** [ cuts in education ] --------NO SCOTT THIS WOULD BE SUICIDE. Good free education at all levels and for all people will pull us up. [OVER TIME, a lot of time I’m afraid.]


**** Poor kids don't have computers and Internet connections. But subsidizing them would be far cheaper in taxes than sending them to school. And suddenly everyone would get the same quality of education. --------SCOTT, SCOTT, SCOTT. Remember the golden rule “he who has the gold rules” Poor people always lose and kids have it the worst. HERE Scott is the seeds for a real meaningful and complete revolution.

**** disadvantage of having no school in the summer… American kids lose ground to the Japanese kids--------NOT IN imagination and innovation.!!!!. A proper summer {out time} helps develop this.

unthinkable options become thinkable. The good news is that the unthinkable options will have lots of advantages.


------

Keep up the good work and although I would like to meet you, I wouldn't want to in the woods, if you catch my drift.

Peace!
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 7, 2009
Love the Dog People/Cat People and the Win the Argument/Find the Answer divisions...

While not as eloquent, I make the division of people who see things in black or white or people who see gray shades (figuratively speaking, of course).
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
my division is:

there are people who want to win the argument and there are people who want to figure out the right answer (even if it's not theirs).

unfortunately the world is run by the former...
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
Maybe it's true that the middle term isn't too populated, however I'll give that a twist. I find a fairly usual type to be the kind of people who think of themselves as good at their core but in their own illogical and somewhat moronic way, whereas they don't realize how really evil they can get with their idiotic way of thinking and acting. You know, the worse thing about stupidity is its randomness (i'm borrowing here, not sure who said something along this lines). But, well, once you are aware of this I suppose you can find solace in the share of goodness of most people.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 7, 2009
A wise person once observed that there are two kinds of people:
Those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
During my corporate years I ran to the exact same person. She would not only clean out the leftovers, she would empty the "take a penny leave a penny" tray, come to work 10 minutes late and leave 15 minutes early, and complain about getting lousy raises.

But, relative to the good bear/bad bear concept, I have a different classification system: Do they answer the phone or rely on voicemail. Good bears always answer (if possible), always give you an answer, and are generally enjoyable to talk with. Bad bears never answer (even if they are not particularly busy), if they call back they don't have answer, and they act like they doing a great favor by merely picking up the phone.

The person mentioned in the first was a bad bear, and she actually had the gall to complain to a higher-up that I answered the phone.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
We have the same kind of food hoarder at my place of employment. If there is free food of any sort, she is stampeding to get it. Cookies, sandwiches, whatever. If you want it to last, you hide it from her. When group lunches are brought in, she has been known to pack entire pizzas out while people are still going through the lines! I am not sure that food hoarding automatically makes you a bad bear, but the insensitivity of taking way more than your fair share and potentially leaving others without baffles me.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
I totally agree with the two camp model, but I would characterize it as either dog people or cat people. This is different from liking dogs and liking cats.

Dog people (generally "good bear " people) - like to help, friendly, some smarter than others, and occaisionally knock everything off your coffee table because they are wagging their butts too hard.

Cat people (generally "bad bear" people) - aloof, can appear to be nice but turn nasty at the drop of a hat.

 
 
Jan 7, 2009
Yes, but that executive can't tell them apart. It's only what you do when (you believe that) nobody is looking that puts you in one camp or the other.
 
 
Jan 7, 2009
I suppose that if you could mathematically define what would be exactly morally neutral then by definition noone would fall on that line, so you could rank everyone as either a good bear or a bad bear.
My take on things is a bit different. We all have infinite capacity for idiocy, but only a finite capacity for brilliance. Some have more than others, and many lump that capacity into things that aren't very useful, such as the ability to recite sports facts and figures. I'm sure the food stealer was brilliant at something: probably programming the legacy systems.
 
 
 
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