Have you ever found yourself thinking that if you know something, everyone else knows it too; or that everyone else is at least on your level in intelligence; or that if you think something is fundamentally wrong, everyone else thinks that way too?
I know. I'm so naive. But seriously, I used to think that everyone else was at least as smart as me, and that if I had realized something profound about life, everyone else was already way ahead of me.
But while I knew that some people do not know what it means to respect other people's life and property, I never dreamed that people like that could be found in my circle of influence.
A specific person, going through a rough patch in life and collecting financial aid from the state until they get over their problems and enter the tax-paying workforce again, showed me a metal spoon with a known cafe chain logo on it.
I asked if it was from that cafe and if they had paid for it. They grinned and shook their head. I asked if they had stolen it. They said they had stealthily slipped it in their bag. I asked if they went back to reimburse it. They said no and that it was okay because "the company would never notice a missing spoon."
I asked how their moral code was coping with this behavior. They told me that "the company had deserved it because the coffee had been watery and too expensive."
Me: Couldn't you go ask the barista to make you a new coffee if it was too watery?
Them: I don't know how the coffee is supposed to taste like.
Me: If you don't like the coffee or the prices in that cafe, you could just not go there and take your money somewhere else with cheaper coffee.
Them: [inconclusive mumble]
This same person also complained how the state financial aid they're getting is too little, and planned to continue collecting it after they would start making money working in the future - while avoiding taxes with strategic moves.
Now, don't get me wrong - taxation is definitely theft - but this person has been getting and will continue to get free money from the state. They have lived off the backbone of hardworking, honest, tax-paying people. And now they're planning on never paying that debt back. Not if they can help it.
I used to think that this person, because they're still young, had a chance of becoming a good and honest person who works for a living. After this, I'm not so sure anymore.
I also don't know if I want to have anything to do with someone like this. I want friends who lift me up instead of risk getting influenced by ideas that go against my integrity.
I just hope that not all people are like this, that there are still good people to befriend. But then again I've been so delusional in the past that who knows how different reality is to my perception.