There’s hardly one of us who hasn’t asked himself the question, “Isn’t it better to be mean?” Almost every one of us has had the feeling that we were a bit soft. We didn’t like flying into the teeth of some human being and making him or her feel bad. We’ve told ourselves, “We ought to be tougher. We ought to put up a better front; we ought to know when to snarl, know when to show the sharpened tooth.” And probably we have walked away occasionally after we’ve loaned somebody five dollars or something of the sort and said, “When am I going to learn to be tough? When am I going to learn to be hard-boiled and just stand right up to that little kid and say ‘No!’ When am I going to learn this?”
The motto behind this is “Isn’t it better to be mean occasionally? When am I going to stop being soft and be a hard, forthright, capable-of-saying-no person? I would be a much better manager. I would be a much better person if I know when to come down with a slight slam. If I could just know, occasionally, when I should be mean, and if I was just willing to be mean, wouldn’t that be right? I should be able to just take people out there and just sweep them aside. Isn’t there some rightness in being tough?”
One can spot times when he knows he should have been tougher — he’s sure of it. But a highly informative series of Scientology spiritual counseling procedures demonstrates that the person who is willing to confront other things doesn’t every have to say no, he doesn’t ever have to be mean, he doesn’t ever have to be tough at all. (And by confront things, we mean face things without flinching or avoiding.) It is perfectly alright to be nice to people. It isn’t a weakness at all. As a matter of fact, if you aren’t, you’re in the soup.
You could say that the only times for which you are suffering are those times when you weren’t nice enough, when you weren’t kind enough and when you weren’t unmean enough. Those are the only times from which you are suffering.
It is not true that being mean gets anybody ahead anyplace. That’s really factual.
When you deny your fellow man — you say “no”; you say “be mean,” you say “be very positive” — the truth of the matter is that you are denying him communication, one way or the other.
The only thing you should ever be tough about is insisting that the other fellow ought to stand on his own two feet, too. And the only way you will ever communicate that to him is to communicate it to him in a very nice way. Then he’s liable to receive it.
Being mean is simply going out of communication with things.
The individual who is kind, who is decent and who does communicate and who is nice and who isn’t averse to conversation and saying this and doing that, who is tolerant, we find gets along beautifully.
But the fellow who’s mean and who’s ornery and who’s cutting communications all the way along the line, we find he’s in the soup.
Therefore, a standard of optimum human performance would be measured on the basis of human kindness as a high and human meanness as a low.
So we know the answer at last to whether you should have been mean those times or whether you should have been more kind: You should have been more kind.
Excerpt from the Scientology Background and Ceremonies book