Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness?

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Vijaydevani
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Vijaydevani » August 25th, 2016, 1:19 am

Scott wrote:[The following topic is featured as a leadup to the May philosophy book of the month discussion of Holding Fire.]

Do you think that anger, discompassion and hatred are usually symptoms of weakness? Why or why not?
I would say that anger, discompassion and hatred stem from a lack of introspection more than anything else. Unless one has introspected enough to understand that all humans are basically the same and have the ability to good and evil under certain circumstances, and that under certain circumstance everyone needs other people to help them, one cannot understand where the other person is coming from. It is this lack of understanding of the self that results in anger, discompassion and hatred towards others. Once you understand yourself, you can understand others enough not to judge and that takes care of anger and hatred. Once you understand that everyone needs other people and that we are social animals, discompassion is taken care of.
A little knowledge is a religious thing.

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LuckyR
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by LuckyR » August 26th, 2016, 2:58 pm

Vijaydevani wrote:
Scott wrote:[The following topic is featured as a leadup to the May philosophy book of the month discussion of Holding Fire.]

Do you think that anger, discompassion and hatred are usually symptoms of weakness? Why or why not?
I would say that anger, discompassion and hatred stem from a lack of introspection more than anything else. Unless one has introspected enough to understand that all humans are basically the same and have the ability to good and evil under certain circumstances, and that under certain circumstance everyone needs other people to help them, one cannot understand where the other person is coming from. It is this lack of understanding of the self that results in anger, discompassion and hatred towards others. Once you understand yourself, you can understand others enough not to judge and that takes care of anger and hatred. Once you understand that everyone needs other people and that we are social animals, discompassion is taken care of.
Your post supposes that different individuals who just "introspect" enough will come to similar conclusions. This does not fit with my experience dealing with different folks in similar situations.
"As usual... it depends."

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Lucius
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Lucius » September 5th, 2016, 11:25 am

I must advocate for a perspective that most westerners seem blind to. I think it is unfair to view people's actions in isolation from all of their life and experiences, and it is also unfair to condescend the final outcomes with a term such as "weakness".

And what is the definition of weakness anyway?

I would answer without invoking concepts of strength and weakness, because even if anger and other "negative" characteristics correlate to a person experiencing adversity, we do not know how much of that person's strength was depleted before he began to lose his composure. First we need to know what is the burden he is carrying, how significant is it, how long has he been carrying it, and what are unique factors in his experience that make him more or less able to endure it.

I think it is clear that there are things in life that drain us, and other things that restore us. So even a small drain can wear down the strongest person, if that person is denied what he needs to restore his strength.

In the context of a question like this, it is common to say, "he fell down, so he is weak". But personal strength or weakness is only relevant when compared to the pressures a person faces; if a person is never tested, he believes he is strong. But if a strong person is overwhelmed, he feels weak, even though he may be the strongest.

And reasons for failure are not just about the person's strength. A strong building will collapse if the foundation is undermined...and also in construction, there are different kinds of strength that suit different kinds of soils, environments, and regional problems, like earthquakes and hurricanes. What is strong in one situation will be prone to failure in another, so the definition of an all encompassing concept of "strength" is impossible.



I always thought the point of ethics was to make good choices keeping other people's interests in mind, and also to seek to organize the world in a way that is compatible with human needs, reducing and eliminating unnatural and unbearable pressures on individuals, thus allowing everyone to live in strength, being peaceful and harmonious?

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Snakeeyes
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Snakeeyes » October 5th, 2016, 2:55 pm

I'd say Anger and discompassion are a result of a lack of mindfulness. Without anger how would you be pushed for change.

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Mortran
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Mortran » February 16th, 2017, 10:16 am

Discompassion is not related to anger and hatred.
The latter two are emotions and therefore a lack of self-control.

Discompassion is no emotion, but the lack thereof. It is compassion that leads to weakness, since it creates an incentive to weakness. When weakness is rewarded and strength not encouraged, the result will be an increase in weakness within the society. The lack of compassion removes this incentive and hereby encourages strength.

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Whitedragon
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Whitedragon » February 17th, 2017, 10:32 am

Anger and hatred is not weakness, instead the inability to express or the suppression of emotion causes harm to the individual and that makes him or her weak. Psychologists often tell us we should allow ourselves to feel anger and experience hate, so we can deal with those problems instead of pretending they do not exist or assigning some false notion to them. Hatred on the other had is not healthy, unless we express our feelings without causing too much emotional harm and definitely not physical harm to others.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Spraticus » February 17th, 2017, 4:56 pm

They are not signs of weakness, they are signs of humanity. They are often justified.

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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Greta » February 17th, 2017, 6:25 pm

Spraticus wrote:They are not signs of weakness, they are signs of humanity. They are often justified.
Negative responses like anger, discompassion and hatred are usual enough, just natural mammalian feelings that wash over us, although it takes a human memory to hold on to those emotions. However, experiencing more of the alternative positive emotions - understanding, interest and forgiveness - would seem more likely to bring health, depth and happiness. It's easier said than done, of course, or everyone would be doing it.

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Mortran
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Mortran » February 17th, 2017, 7:27 pm

Emotions like anger, hate, but also compassion are not signs of humanity, since they are not specific for humans. They are instinctive behavior, which is more appropriate for animals.
What distinguishes a human being from an animal is his ability to act rational even if it is against his instincts. This is why the Stoics who aspired to live according to their human (not their animal) nature made an effort to control their emotions, especially the negative ones, and tried to act only according to reason and logic. Unfortunately they were not equally strict when it came to compassion, which is an emotion that they approved. This is a certain inconsistency in their school of thought.

Anger and hatred are never justified for a civilized man, even if their cause may be understandable. An aggressive response can however be justified, but not based on a sudden impulse, only after careful consideration of all options balancing advantages and disadvantages and factoring in the chances of success.

To be in control over one's emotions is a sign of strength. Being controlled by them is a sign of weakness.

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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Spraticus » February 18th, 2017, 5:17 am

It is necessary for a social existence that we learn to moderate the expression of these feelings; that's what all the conventions of manners and law and social activity are for.

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Lucylu
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Lucylu » May 14th, 2017, 6:11 am

I think that anger is often viewed as a negative emotion, and the judgement we pass on our emotions is often more painful than the emotion itself. Some people view softer emotions as weakness, others view the harder, more aggressive emotions as weakness. But so called negative emotions (anger in this instance), are actually positive. Every organism on the planet has to fight for the right to its existence and its physical 'territory' whether that is our homes, property or our very bodies and emotional space. Humans have an inbuilt instinct to dominate to ensure our survival but we also have an instinct to defend our space. Anger is a call to action- it tells us when someone is trying to dominate us, or we have been wounded in some way. It can be misdirected of course, projected and thankfully our emotional intelligence hopefully shows us this in time, but in the mean time, it protects us from seen and unseen foe.

As Spraticus noted, living in a civilised society we need to moderate our emotions, learning to deal with them logically. We can calm ourselves, by asking 'what will be the consequences of me expressing my anger in the form a verbal or physical attack?'. As adults we can learn to express ourselves by being assertive, rather than angry (at least most of the time) and the other times we can forgive ourselves for being human, and indeed forgive the perceived oppressor, or life itself as being imperfect too; learning communication skills, self awareness and adopting a laissez-faire attitude.

With regard to hatred, I was just thinking about this yesterday. It shocks and saddens me that I am capable of such hatred and venom. I think it has been the bane of my life really. Irrational hatred. A certain amount of discompassion is a good thing- we don't need to martyr ourselves. We have to be selfish to a degree if we are to be happy (IMO). But what use is hatred? That seems to be letting anger fester. It seems like a poison which grows and damages us just as much as, if not more than, our 'enemy'. For me its injustice that really gets my goat- being judged and misunderstood. But realising that consciously helps dissolve some of the emotion. Perhaps the anger is our nervous systems way of telling us to move forwards, as where we are (living in anger) is bad. Our brain just misconstrues this, projecting the negative feeling on 'the other'. Because it is egocentric, assuming that we are right and 'the other' is wrong.

It could also just be because of testosterone- naturally causing dominance and aggressive tendencies in order to ensure our survival. When a blood test revealed I had high levels for a woman, that didn't surprise me at all! As a girl and as a young woman, I (and others) have found this anger repellent, frightening, and at times ridiculous, a definite weakness, but conversely men in society can grow up feeling that experiencing the softer emotions is a sign of weakness so its swings and roundabouts.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts". -Bertrand Russell

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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Woodart » May 14th, 2017, 11:47 am

Don’t we need all of emotions to know who we are? If we don’t hate deeply – how can we know loves mountaintop? Sure, we want to emphasize one over the other, but we need a point of reference. Can we really have compassion for another if we have not oppressed someone? Don’t we also hate the one we love? Do we need to hate ourselves? I think we do. I think it is important. If I deny being a hypocrite – does that make me one? How do I know if I am honest with myself? By being dishonest.

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Lucylu
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Lucylu » May 14th, 2017, 1:44 pm

Woodart wrote:Don’t we need all of emotions to know who we are? If we don’t hate deeply – how can we know loves mountaintop? Sure, we want to emphasize one over the other, but we need a point of reference. Can we really have compassion for another if we have not oppressed someone? Don’t we also hate the one we love? Do we need to hate ourselves? I think we do. I think it is important. If I deny being a hypocrite – does that make me one? How do I know if I am honest with myself? By being dishonest.
That's a good way to look at it. Its a spectrum rather than fixed states, which are impossible. If the universe was perfect, it couldn't exist at all. If we were nothing but blissed out, happy all the time, we'd be blimin' idiots and soon get wiped out by the harsh elements. Maybe there was an early hominid who was like that, but he just never got the chance to procreate! He walked up to one of us, arms wide, big dopey grin on his face, and was soon eaten for dinner!

It does seem a shame though that we still have to live with so much of our baser instincts such as anger in our society. Would you change it if you could? For instance if we learn to artificially tweak our genes to cut out the worst extremes of our behaviour. A touch less testosterone, a little more emotional intelligence? That's a little bit scary, the thought of changing human nature, but the technology isn't that far away. With people living longer, having babies later, there could come a time when babies could be grown in labs, and their genes changed to bring out the best and limit the worst in us. They may look back on us as so primitive, the last age of totally organic humans.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts". -Bertrand Russell

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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Woodart » May 14th, 2017, 4:19 pm

I think we are entering a brave new world in genetic engineering. It will be interesting to see what successes and failures we make in the near future. I am sure it is already started - although not widely published – yet. I bet China & Russia will lead the way in this field because they are not constrained by religious dogma.
Lucylu wrote: They may look back on us as so primitive, the last age of totally organic humans.
Yeah - The last age of natural evolutionary mistakes.

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Lucylu
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Re: Are anger, discompassion and hatred symptoms of weakness

Post by Lucylu » May 14th, 2017, 5:37 pm

Woodart wrote:I think we are entering a brave new world in genetic engineering. It will be interesting to see what successes and failures we make in the near future. I am sure it is already started - although not widely published – yet. I bet China & Russia will lead the way in this field because they are not constrained by religious dogma.
Yes, you're right, its probably going on behind closed doors already. Hopefully people in the future will be able to transcend many of the social problems we see today. If they can isolate the genes for emotional intelligence that would be a great benefit to the human race and may mark the end of war, conflict, and the neglect of the poor. Although being too sensitive can be difficult too, so a happy medium would be best. I feel sorry for the people who'll be the guinea pigs, but considering the upside..

-- Updated May 14th, 2017, 10:40 pm to add the following --

But the cynic in me says that the first use will probably be to create the perfect soldier or the perfect worker drone!
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts". -Bertrand Russell

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