Readers' Submissions

An Exceptional Mind

  • Written by Robert
  • December 29th, 2008
  • 7 min read


I read the quote, “The human mind, except when guided by extraordinary genius, cannot surmount the established conclusions amid which it has been reared.” These are very profound words. What it means is that we believe what we have been taught by our parents and our culture to believe, we believe what our experience tells us to believe, we believe what our gut instinct tells us to believe. And it is only the exceptional mind that can surmount that. The rest of the information we discount or disbelieve.

So when we come to Thailand, many of us have heard the stories of the Thai bargirls. That you will fall in love with them, do things that you would never consider doing in your home country. It happens over and over again but…the farang always deludes himself because “it will never happen to me” and / or “my girl is different”. He may tell his friends that she worked in a restaurant, hotel, or the like, but most often he met her in a bar. It is the first step in the delusion. He picks her up in the bar and takes her back to his apartment and has sex on the first “date”, convincing himself that she really likes him (it’s her job, stupid). He believes that she has been in Pattaya, Patpong, or Patong only a short time. Why? Because she told him so (In reasonably good English that perhaps she only learned in a bar). He knows that she does not like the bar and is only doing it to help her family (and perhaps her 2 babies). Why? Because she told him so.

And so now his male (I’ll be the savior) ego steps in. He offers her money because he is only “helping her out because she is poor”… And since she does not like working the bar, he will send her money when he returns back to Farangland so she does not have to work the bar and go with those old, fat, ugly farangs. And he believes that he will rescue her from her life of misery, take her to his home country and they will live happily ever after. He believes that because why would anyone actually like working the bar? Why would anyone not like coming to America, Australia, England, Germany? The society is orderly, people stop for stop signs, there is the rule of law, you can return inferior products to stores and get you money back, the people accept you, you can get a decent job and through hard work you can advance, you can get a good education, and more. It is not perfect but it seems much better than the scams, pollution, crime, prostitution, working in the rice fields, etc of Thailand..

But, what does this have to do with the exceptional mind? Well, it means that many of the things we Westerners think are reasonable are just not so in Thailand. Our Western minds just cannot fathom that someone or an entire society would think so drastically different than us. After all, don’t we come from a developed country? Isn’t our thinking correct? And after they see how we live in Farangland won’t they want to live like we live?

Fact is many, perhaps most of the Thai girls like working the bar. Many a farang has offered a good life (in Western terms) to a Thai girl only to have his money, the house he built in Thailand and sometimes his life, taken away. We just cannot believe that the sweet young thing we married is only after our money. We cannot believe that Thai society is racist. It is beyond our mind to believe that. Other girls do that, many other girls do that, but not my girl…my girl is different.

Many / most of the Thai girls like living in Thailand. I have seen few societies that are more nationalistic.

Our Western upbringing is that when we farangs fall in love, our wife is number one in our life. We cannot imagine that we might be 5, 6, 7, or 8 depending on the number of people in her family. (Or if the foreigner believes it, he does not understand what the effects on his marriage are of being 5, 6, 7, or 8). It is beyond our realm of thinking. We think that if we love her, treat her good, do not butterfly, give her a good life, that she will love us forever just like a faithful dog. Most of us do not have the “exceptional mind”. We cannot see beyond the boundaries into which we have been bred.

And then the dirty dopamine steps in. The chemical changes in our brains cause us to think in an irrational way. Another writer, Korski wrote about this subject. Interesting article in the Washington Post also.

Now Stickman seems to be somewhat of a cynical sort. He sees the dangers, the dirt, the downside of Thailand and he reports it. But, he is a long term farang. He and many other long term farangs have seen the downside of Thailand and are cynical. But they are correct. To live in Thailand and not be cynical is naïve. To be cynical in Thailand is also to be a realist.

For example I have heard people say that Thailand is safe, or that there are murders and bad people everywhere. Their thinking is constricted by the boundaries of their brain. The fact is that Thailand has one of the highest murder rates in the world (Nationmaster website). And bad people everywhere? Sure, that is true, but there just seems to be more of them in Thailand, just like there are more per capita murders South Central, Los Angeles then Augusta, Maine. And can anyone say the Thai police are not some of the most corrupt that they have ever seen?

So living in Thailand is part of the educational process, the way in which we have been reared. And for every one that leaves Thailand (whether it be in a vertical or a horizontal position) broken-hearted and broken financially, there are others entering with the same naïve outlook that most of us had when we came to Thailand.

Of those who come to Thailand some may have an exceptional mind. Some may think beyond the boundaries in which they have been bred. Some may come, have sex with the girls, and leave, taking their hearts (and wallets) with them. But most will not because our minds are not exceptional.

The point of all this is that most of us are not exceptional. We need to understand that. We must listen and learn from others' mistakes. We must learn that it simply does not make sense to put all your money on a horse that has only a 5% chance of winning. It does not make sense to walk alone down a dark street full of thugs in a dangerous part of town even if there is a beautiful girl at the end of the street. Therefore what you see happening in Thailand with the farangs and the bargirls and the scams, etc will happen over and over again because we cannot think outside the boundaries in which we have been bred.

So I will leave with one story. A man I knew met a Thai girl in a bar (it was her first night out after years of taking care of a paraplegic Thai boyfriend—do you believe it?) and was seeing her when he came for visits to Thailand 2-3 times a year. One day she claimed she was pregnant (do you believe it?) and that he was the father (?). What should he do? I talked to him and tried to hint in the politest way possible that perhaps this was a scam and he should check it out carefully. He did not even want to consider that possibility. He could not even think that this beautiful girl would lie to him. He promptly paid her for the abortion plus “pain and suffering”. It was beyond the boundaries of his mind to think of the possibility of a scam. Later he gave her $10,000 and then he said to me, “Isn’t she sweet? She said she would give it back to me if we broke up.” Readers can analyze others' situations quite clearly but when it comes to their own, the boundaries of their mind step in.

And the beat goes on….

Stickman's thoughts:

Hopefully most of us do not believe everything we hear and actually analyse things. One doesn't have to open their eyes that wide to see what is really going on…but it seems that opening their eyes is not what many like to do!