How do you feel about vengeance?

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Post by Scott » April 14th, 2008, 1:04 am

Pheasant, I think you are right that vengeance leads to an unending cycle of mindless violence. It becomes a cycle of revenge, followed by re-revenge, followed by re-re-revenge, etc.

shadowyxgold, why do you disagree that vengeance is petty?
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Post by shadowyxgold » April 15th, 2008, 7:36 pm

I'm not sure why, exactly. It just feels justified- and somehow I don't think such a strong, influential act can be petty. I was just kinda throwing that out there. =)

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Post by Daniel Owen » April 18th, 2008, 3:25 pm

Scott wrote:You say that individuals and society would be better off if they did not bottle up their emotions. Generally speaking, I agree. However, people can find other outlets for their emotions than by violently attacking other people against those other people's will.
As opposed to...? :lol: I think outlawry should be re-instated so that people can choose by themselves whether or not to take vengeance on criminals.
Scott wrote:For example, consider the man who catches his wife cheating; he goes home, cries and pains over it, and then goes back and kills her; Do you think he is going to feel better or do you think indulging in his vengeful desires will just make it worse? He might unsurprisingly shoot himself after he realizes how counter-productive shooting his wife was.
Interesting example. I wouldn't judge one way or another if he shot his wife for cheating. It's an interesting moral conundrum.
Scott wrote:If anything, I think society is more disrupted when people go around attacking others, not out of defense or to rectify damage, but out of a desire for vengeance. In fact, I believe most acts of offensive interpersonal victimization (e.g. rape, murder, battery, vandalism, etc.) are done out of vengeance.
Interesting idea. I'm certainly not saying people should randomly take revenge, but revenge is behind the concept of justice. "An eye for an eye" etc.
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Post by anarchyisbliss » April 18th, 2008, 5:41 pm

I think vengeance, no matter how spiritually destructive, would be the backbone for an anarchic society. people wouldn't commit crimes out of fear of someone striking revenge on them. For example, if I kill a man's wife, he would have the right to kill me, and that fear alone of him being able to kill me would coerce me from killing his wife.
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Post by Thoughtless » April 22nd, 2008, 6:54 pm

Daniel Owen wrote:I'm certainly not saying people should randomly take revenge, but revenge is behind the concept of justice. "An eye for an eye" etc
Should revenge be behind the concept of justice? If we can have justice without revenge, we might not have to lose so many eyes (which is, essentially, the inverse of the adage, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind").

Put another way, what is the real goal of justice? Presumably, it is to prevent as much crime as possible. If we can prevent more crime by implementing non-vengeful policies of justice, why shouldn't we? The only advantage of a vengeance-based justice is that it makes people feel a little better. There are other types of things which harm people but make other people feel a bit better: rape, murder, assault, et cetera, et cetera. ;)

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Post by mike » May 7th, 2008, 12:02 am

I've only read the first reply holy sh*t. All I have to say is ohhhh yes, people like mark e make up a portion our brother hood of man! So be careful and try not to step on their toes.

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Post by Celebration2000 » July 4th, 2008, 11:23 pm

I find some of those revenge quotes quite interesting, and convincing.
"Revenge is a confession to pain" must be my favourite : if you act (and yes ACT, it might have actually harmed you) like it didn't harm you, you are showing the "offender"'s efforts are futile, and that he might lack intelligence for making a useless attempt.

I think i might be perverting the whole idea of the proverb...but it's how i interpretted it.

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Post by nameless » July 5th, 2008, 6:55 am

Vengence is an anachronistic attavism. Perhaps an attavistic anachronism. Suffer not an enemy to live as he'll be back..
'Vengence' doesn't exist in 'my' worlds as I don't 'believe' in 'free-will' or 'choice' or 'cause and effect', hence there can be no personal 'responsibility' for one's behavior. I am more inclined to determine and offer 'healing' rather than 'retribution/punishment'. The 'win/win' concept is growing and the win/lose is dying. Good riddance.
'Compassion' vs 'vengence'? I find that 'vengence' falls into the same 'base and low' behavior as any other predatory and victimizing criminal. More of the same.
I find myself moved to 'compassion' the more that I get to know the 'perp'. One cannot hate someone that one gets to know beyond the superficial.
'Vengance' is already obsolete.

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Post by Belinda » July 22nd, 2008, 11:55 am

I understand that the vendetta system of social control, a form of vengeance, was useful in Arabia before Muhammad got the tribes to co-operate under Islam.Didn't the ancient Jewish tribes do vendetta? I seem to remember some violent revenges going onas reported in ' Kings '.Presumably this too was a primitive form of social control

The trouble with an eye for an eye is that it is literally impossible to make retribution equitable.What retribution can equal the murder of one's child? None.

Another bad thing about vengeance is that it is not rational. The more one rationally knows about the causes of the person's crime, the more one can forgive it.

True, to wreak violent vengeance on someone who is currently doing wilfull harm can be tempting. However, other sorts of vengeance besides violent retribution which will not harm man or beast may be available.For instance sanctions within the law.



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Post by mark black » July 22nd, 2008, 1:59 pm

On the subject of Logic Games from

'A strategy is a plan of action that cannot be upset by an opponent or nature. The purpose of strategies is to secure the most favorable game value in the long run. A common strategy is tit-for-tat, in which the player responds to a given game move with a mirroring move.'

Tit-for-tat is essentially vengence written small - where one cooperates until the other defects, then defect in revenge, before returining to cooperation. It's an extremely sucessful strategy - related to evolutionary biology.

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Post by Dreamshift » July 22nd, 2008, 2:30 pm

I'll put my answer in the context of a society, as we are social creatures and must utilize this form of oragnization to better our productivity, and in essence, our survivability.

Vengeance is undue force in retirubtion of a wrong caused by the party inflicting such said retribution.

Undue it is because our societies are the ones hurt by the Vengeance. An example!

Our petty Vandal breaks a window, not a nice thing to do. Our vandalized person goes out and breaks our Vandal's window. They both only see their own window, but society now has two broken windows instead of one. Now society has to repair two windows instead of forcing the vandal to repair the first. What's the harm? twice the damage as before, had we not become vengful. Let's make this more extreme:
Our angry boy friend has discovered his girlfriend is cheating on him with another man. Boy that's terrible, better get out my gun and shoot her. Well, now society has lost its wonderfuly productive (if rather seductive as well) person because of vengeance. Had they just have broken up, we would still have our productive person still toiling away for the machine, not dead as a doorknob. Say that woman was a social worker for orphans, who cares about her dating ethics--We now have more children in danger! save your vengance for your video games, WE need those people, that money, and the time invested in vengeance to better ourselves.
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Post by mark black » July 22nd, 2008, 2:40 pm

Okay, but this is your window, and you have to live in the street opposite the guy who threw the brick through your window. Are you going to let him get away with it?
He'll only do it again, or worse, until you have to retaliate, perhaps as disproportionately as when your girlfriend cheats on you.
Alternatively, it might be argued that an eye for an eye, rather than an eye an arm and a leg for an eye, is a call for proportionality of vengence. Tit-for-tat.

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Post by Dreamshift » July 22nd, 2008, 3:12 pm

But at societies loss? The liberties of the group and the individual should be balanced, and Vengeance is not found in that violence. If my neighbor decides he must continually break my windows, then I elect to call the authorities and have him pay for each window he's broke. Should he do it a third time, he should be removed from society for a pre-deterimined amount of time because he obviously can't function in a society in the condition he is in, just randomly vanalizing my home. That's not vengeance, that's justice.
Better to argue and discuss disenting opinions, than to all agree and never know the truth.

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Post by mark black » July 22nd, 2008, 6:30 pm

I had assumed, given that we were talking about vengence, that for philosophical purposes we had forgone leagl restitution. Of course, if someone throws a brick through your window, call the police. But justice, in the leagl sense, is a different matter entirely. The justice system punishes transgressions of a code of conduct, as opposed to seeking revenge for your broken windows. The system may seek to restore to you the loss you've suffered, but in the interests of a just society, not in service to your vengeful feelings against the vandal.
Having read Scott's blog, and given Belinda's contrubution, I'd supposed we were trying to get at the difference between an eye for an eye and turn the other cheek - which in turn can be reduced to tit-for-tat and always cooperate. Logically, the former is the better strategy - but i would have entertained (and dismissed) arguments about the emotional appeal of forgiveness, the tendency to disproportionality in real human relations as opposed to logic games, and/or an endless cycle of revenge and counter revenge.

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Post by Dreamshift » July 22nd, 2008, 7:16 pm

That's my point, Vengeance is beyond the effect of one on one causality. Vengeance causes sufferage beyond the parties involved. Better to substitute Vengeance with Justice. I've pretty much extended the arguement, I guess that's not a good thing in the thread itself, but it opens up others and expands the limits of our conversation. I say, vengeance is less effecient at both the local and naional level than justice. Forego your petty anger and look at the big picture. Yes, this takes a degree of both selfcontrol and wisdom, but I think most of us can do so. As is such in our current society.
Better to argue and discuss disenting opinions, than to all agree and never know the truth.

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