The Reactionary Mindset

“Reactionary” is one of those words that leads towards a certain amount of political heat. This article discusses it in a larger and more elemental context. I use “reactionary” here to describe thoughts and actions that are emotionally – perhaps reflexively – opposed to an initiating event.

In the political realm this can be a long process with a great deal of words and thought. In the day-to-day realms of the road and the office it can be brief or even unconscious. Whatever scale it occurs in, it is a response to the trampling of sacred ground, something tied to one’s space, self, or belonging.

It feels good. Boy does it feel good. Finally whipping ahead of that jerk in the fast lane, giving voice to that perfect comeback when they complain (again) about the coffee, or taking back that little piece of Europe that really belonged to you the whole time, being reactionary feels so very very good. It feeds those lizards and monkeys the psychologists say are lurking just out of sight in the back of our minds.

But it comes at a price.

The Price of Being Reactionary

Being reactive means that one’s self is defined by external factors. If he jumps, I duck. If he moves left, I move right. While the mind perceives this as fighting the good fight, this is an illusion; in reality I become a flailing accessory to the real actor, my opponent.

In the end I will be nothing more than a shadow complement to all the things I react against.

The natural human instinct to band together against opponents results in strong lines of communication between the members of the group that results. This results in feedback loops that reinforce certain ideas while drowning out others. The ideas that resonate will be ones that touch on strong emotions – anger, fear, superiority, schadenfreude – and are easy to transmit; in short, memes. Ideas that resonate less will be less transmitted and will fail to become central to the group consciousness.

Simple but meme-y ideas will have an advantage over fact-based but less resonant ones. This feeds the in-group social economy while drawing attention away from long-term real-world benefits.

Whether one reacts as an individual or as a member of a group, reactions become habitual and therefore thoughtless. When you find a reaction that gives you enough of an anger hit you will tend to return to it day after day.

There is nothing inherently wrong with having reactions to events. Used correctly and in their proper place they are helpful, even essential. If we had to think deeply about every event that ever happened we would all have been eaten a long time ago.

There are relatively few situations that always call for only one reaction. If we always react the same way, sooner or later it will be a mistake. It is difficult and rare enough for a man to scratch his head and evaluate himself. If he is part of a group that culturally reinforces the same set of reactions, how much more rarely will he step out and change when a new situation calls for it?

The man who spends his life responding to events with the same set of reactions will never strengthen the mental skills necessary for higher work. His reactions will be all he knows and the little culture to which he belongs will uphold that as a fine thing. He will vigorously defend himself against mental growth and reward himself for succeeding.

With the affirmation of his peers and the heady rush of his own success, how likely is he to grow beyond such low thinking? The borders in his mind will not be the result of thoughtful choice and deep reflection; they will be little more than the fault lines of whatever conflicts and dichotomies happen to surround him and he will wave his self-limitations as a triumph.

Treating Reactionary Thinking

There is a difference between having a response to a situation and being defined by that response.

The man who has a response is larger than the situation. The man who is defined by his response is smaller.

Neither man chooses to be large or small; it is simply who he is. Each believes himself justified in his position and actions. What a man becomes is determined largely by the choices he makes, and those choices are not independent of the values, beliefs, and perceptions he already has when he makes them.

None-the-less we can choose between differing paths of development as they are presented to us, and knowledge of final consequences can inform those choices. Of two men with the same character and values, the one seeing far and thinking deeply will often come to different conclusions than the one who plunges ahead with bold ignorance.

The difference is reflection.

Question: Do I derive value from engaging in conflict itself, or do I engage in it only when it is a necessary chore in the service of a larger goal?

Both victory and the comradeship of conflict provide reinforcing pleasure. If you serve no higher motive than that is all you are.

Question: Do I take meaningful time to sincerely learn on my own and to derive conclusions?

Peer groups do not only provide company, they provide input and reinforcement. The information and beliefs transmitted by your peer group will always be biased towards the social and emotional energy flows that hold the group together. Acquiring outside data is more difficult and often confusing.

Question: Am a willing to step away from the social structures that support me?

It is easy to say ‘yes,’ but if you have not yet done this you do not truly know who is in charge of your life.

The man who makes space and time for his deeper self will find it easier to avoid the reactive mindset because he trains himself to be regularly introspective and independent.

The man who inspects and prunes his relationships has better control over his life than the man who does not. A relationship is an open gate in the wall of your mind. Be careful who gets the keys and don’t be afraid to confiscate them based on bad behavior.

Author: Ransom

Ransom is the proud head of a young family. Raised by parents who remembered the old ways, Ransom is committed to passing down the lessons he learned to the next generation of hungry men both at church and online.

293 thoughts on “The Reactionary Mindset”

  1. “Question: Do I take meaningful time to sincerely learn on my own and to derive conclusions?”
    This is the opposite of the Serial Advice Seeker. The latter is a quicker, more seductive path but it robs you of that all-important Ownership Of Failure (“OOF”) which is where real growth and progress begins.

            1. Saphyra the pig snorted loudly. The horses stamped in appreciation.

              The commotion died down and for a moment the barnyard was silent.

              Then a small voice arose from the back of the pen.

              “That’s duckist,” Clyde said peevishly.

              “Shut up, Clyde,” Saphyra grunted.

  2. “In the end I will be nothing more than a shadow complement to all the things I react against.” Essentially a troll’s puppet.

    I shall remember this on my next commute..

        1. yeah, that’s gettin closer. Just narrow the eyes, add the angry little V between the eyebrows, and draw a stream of constant irrational mockery coming out of her mouth.

  3. I’ve always said that a reactionary never wants to be first in anything. He’ll even make other people go in front of him in line.

    There’s a time for that. But there’s also a time for action.

    Don’t be a reactionary. Be an actionary.

    1. Yeah, be an actionary. Like if your bitch gives you lip, punch her in the mouth, just like Michael Avenatti, noted feminist champion and fascism fighter.

      1. A time to be born, a time to die
        A time to plant, a time to reap
        A time to kill, a time to heal
        A time to laugh, a time to weep

        1. No particular order:
          Mike tysons mysteries
          Aqua teen hunger force
          Beavis and butthead
          Family guy

                  1. The fictional Arlen, Tx was based on Garland, a suburb of Dallas. Supposedly, Mike Judge lived there a while. While often goofy, that show nailed a perfect caricature of Dallas suburban culture. Even Garland’s large Asian population got representation. Funny shite.

                    1. So are ya japanese pr chinese?

                      I Laotian.
                      I know ya come from across the ocean, but are ya Chinese or Japanese?

                1. A shame. Aside from classics like El Seed….a villainous flower….Chairface Chippendale who is a bad guy with a chair for a head who wants to write his name in the moon and a vicious clown resulting from scientists messing with the science of clowning you should watch it, if for nothing else, for the bad guy The Human Ton who is a 1 ton idiot who is accompanied by his sidekick/sock puppet…a hyper literate hand puppet named Handy who is constantly criticizing the human ton and other villains (such as Joseph Stalin, Octo Paganini and the such) for not getting literary references.

                  also worthy of note is when Multiple Santa pulls the multiplicity move and floods the city with santas the tick calls it a Yule Tide

              1. Ok, I can accept claymation not counting but need to have second category….best claymation

                Celebrity Death Match and my favorite Halloween movie which if i didn’t have on DVD i would think i just imagined because no one has ever freaking seen it but me…Mad Monster Party.

                    1. Thinks “California Grapes” vs “Rudolph”

                      (actually THAT would make a solid celebrity death match…)

          1. None of those are actually “cartoons”. Cartoons are Saturday morning animated shows for kids. Just because its animated and funny, that doesn’t make it a cartoon.

  4. I don’t think this new “bem” is actually the real bem. I’m pretty sure its a fake bem, just reposting old bem comments from RoK.

    1. I sense things are getting tense around here. We need consistent, posters who can formulate coherent bullshit like GOJ to get us back on track.

      1. I did enjoy the american dad episode where the family gets put into the game and dies thousands of times.

    1. Oregon, isnt Portland in Oregon? ground zero for mentally unstable people in the USA?

      or is that Cali?

    2. I have no plans to offer you asylum. We can’t have every illegal Utahan joining a caravan and coming up and pouring in across the Idaho border.


      Proud Boys are explicitly multiracial and gay friendly.

      They just…attack buildings from time to time. Because “optics” has two whole syllables in it.

      Do these turbolefties /want/ a war? I can understand the existence of fringe douche groups but don’t any normal lefties still exist out there?!?

      Where are the adults?

      1. My initial objection was with Comcast placing a leftist mob in the position of a source of righteousness and guidance.

        Proud Boys could be engaged in all manner of antisocial behavior. I’d suggest that shouldn’t matter nearly as much as what this particular guy did himself. There were no allegations of him actually having committed any unsavory activity.

        1. He made the ok sign with his hand. What other evidence dobyou need that he is a deplorable wayciiisss klan member neo nazi who want to kill six millions joos

      1. It’s led by Gavin McInnes. It’s kind of like a faggy fraternity for “lite” right bros. They let in people of all colors, gays, whatever. But since they are vaguely right-leaning, they are cast as Nazis

        1. gotcha.

          Why don’t nobody have nuthin to do better than this stuff

          also, for chrissakes listen, they recruit golors, they recruit fags, they do violence in their, in their grandmothers neihgborhoods. And eveyrhting with them is trump, trump…LA MAGA….incels. ANd they leave going out and having an actual life to last.

          Also, also…anyone named Gavin is a ‘mo

            1. There was some english comedian who had said that the goal of every great englishman is to make it from birth to death without attracting any attention. I think this is a noble goal.

    1. J&J said he’d solve all our problems and answer all our questions. Thats all he could tell us for then.

    1. No, I think he should continue to hold press conferences, and only call on Jim Acosta and no one else. Let Acosta ask all his dumb questions, and just give short, meaningless answers. If Acosta asks him to elaborate, he just says “No.” Then, end the briefing without calling on any other reporters. They want Acosta? Give them Acosta, and only Acosta.

      1. 100%

        Remember in class when you’d speak out of turn or make a stupid remark? The teacher would say something like “well why don’t YOU come up here and teach the class?” to embarrass you?
        I suggest Trump do the same for this nimrod. Let him just blather on and on with all his innuendo and loaded questions until he makes such a complete ass of himself he has to leave. Then invite the questions of any REAL journalists in the room

        1. “Remember in class when you’d speak out of turn or make a stupid remark?
          The teacher would say something like “well why don’t YOU come up here
          and teach the class?” to embarrass you?”

          That is a trap. Some teacher tries to embarrass you like that and next thing you know you are 15 years older, 6 figures in debt, teaching the class and staring at the CC machine in the liquor store praying your card doesn’t get declined on the pint of dewers you are trying to buy

        2. No, don’t ever accept a question from any reporter other than Acosta. All those other news organizations stood behind Acosta and went to bat for him. So give them all Acosta, all the time. Let him get up there and make himself the center of the story, so all the other reporters have to write about is the dumb shit Acosta said and how the President ignored him.

      2. What is the constitutional theory behind why a particular person, solely due to the nature of his employment in an unrelated private entity, is REQUIRED to be provided with access to the President?

        1. At this point, the court has just granted temporary relief. It has not fully decided the issue. Essentially, it is saying that Acosta should have the press pass while the case goes forward and the actual legal issues are determined. Since it is a 1st Amendment issue, this isn’t too surprising.

          1. I don’t see a 1st amendment issue at all. I’d argue that access to the WH and the president is clearly at the pleasure of the president.

            1. A 1st Amendment issue is being alleged. Whether there really is one or not is still to be decided.

              1. is still to be decided

                No, I’m telling you I’ve already decided. There isn’t, and everyone that thinks there is can suck my balls.


    Going off this single teaser trailer for Toy Story 4 I’m gonna assume that the movie is centered around the gang helping a transtoy learn to accept him/her/sporkself.

    At this point I will declare my childhood entirely ruined and bring this up every single day for a month because outrage is fun.

    Where my angermobile at?

      1. You care enough to post food memes, I care enough to pretend to gripe about a stupid kids’ movie. We both care.

    1. If your childhood was toy story be glad that you are young enough not to have had to deal with too much pussy bush as your coming of age and the proliferation of shaved and waxed cooch coincided

      1. Nah, wasn’t my childhood. Enjoyed TS2 though. Mostly irritated that Pixar has decided to milk the poor franchise for more than it’s worth.

        That’s not milk, that’s blood.

  6. It’s time we face it… J&J lied. There was never any Friday article. He made the whole thing up.

        1. If that crowd with the pitchforks was all hookers it would be like my worst nightmare come to life.

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