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A World Blinded by Sadistic Anger | How the dangerous superstition of justice leads to aggressive violence and misery

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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A World Blinded by Sadistic Anger | How the dangerous superstition of justice leads to aggressive violence and misery

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

This is a discussion forum topic for the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.

There is a wise statement that Gandhi is often credited as being the first one to say: "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth would leave the world blind and toothless."

I've only written one fiction book in my life. It's called Justice. It's a short novella, not even a full-length novel. You can easily read it in one sitting. For those who enjoy a good emotional edge-of-your-seat fiction story, I suggest you forget about the rest of this post, and go right now and read that short fiction book, Justice: A Novella.

What I will talk about here in the rest of this post is what I think my book Justice powerfully and convincingly demonstrates through fiction.

The superstitions held by violent utilitarians and by other violent judgemental moralizers often involve words like 'justice', 'justification', and 'justify'.

To such people acts of non-defensive violence such as murder, rape, and slavery can be 'justified'. There can be a 'justification' for murder or rape, or anything. "It's justice", a murderer might say. "It's justice", a rapist might say. You can't prove them wrong, because they are speaking gibberish, and you can't disprove gibberish. It's superstitious nonsense. Those words are as superstitions and nonsensical as the words 'should' and 'ought'.

For example, a violent utilitarian who has the goal of population control might murderously blow up a school full of schoolchildren as a means to their end. It's justified, they might say. In their story, they are the hero.

Even Hitler and the Nazis thought they were the 'good guys', and what they were doing was 'for the greater good'. But there are no 'good guys', and there is no 'justification'. Those are just stories aggressively violent people tell themselves to rationalize the violence and cruelty they do. Their nonsensical superstitions are a symptom of the cognitive dissonance they experience from the violence and cruelty they commit.

There is no such thing as justice or justification as such, but when you are a rapist or a murderer, it can be preferable for you to blabber about superstitious nonsense than call it what it is, or even see what it is.

True lovers don't seek justification for their love. Free-spirited creators don't seek justification for their free-spirited creativity. They don't need to. They don't need or have much use for such superstitious nonsense. When you love what's real, you don't need to seek what's not. Those who cannot find the love-worthy heavenliness of the real often invent superstitions to deal with the hells in which they live, often not realizing how those superstitions themselves can steal inner peace and form the very bars of the hellish cage that is their spiritual prison.

You need to believe in the superstition of wrongs and rights to be able to genuinely believe that two wrongs make a right. You have to believe in the superstitious seemingly magical scales to believe those scales can be balanced, let alone that they can be balanced by non-defensive violence.

While it's utter nonsense that has no empirical basis, it certainly might sound better to the speaker to say, "I made a right" than to say, "I got angry so I committed rape and murder." It's nonsense, but it might sound better to a violent murder-committing speaker to say, "Yes, my means were a bit unfortunate, but the glorious ends 'justify' the means."

If you even begin to argue with such a person about such justification or justice, you have already conceded the truth in favor of the false, in that you have made the mistake of accepting as true too much of their untrue nonsense superstitious gibberish. To start arguing about how many wrongs make a right or such is to concede that those things exist at all when they clearly don't. There is no scales. There is no magic fairy on Saturn with a chalkboard ticking off checkmarks on wrongs and rights and this side and that. There is no score to settle because there is no score. It's a superstition.

There is no way to make a right with wrongs, no matter how many so-called wrongs you commit, because the whole idea of it is nonsense.

There's murder. There's rape. There's non-defensive violence. There's forceful defense, as in defensively killing a murderer before he can murder your family. But there is no justice. There is no justification. Those are superstitions created by the likes of murderers and rapists because they'd rather talk about nonsense than what actually is. They would have you believe there is such a thing as violently "making a right" so that they can say, "I'm going out to make a right," rather than have to say the truth: "I'm going to go do some rapes and murders today."

For those of us who let go of all such superstitions and instead have the self-responsibility of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), and who practice fully and unconditionally accepting what we cannot control, there is no 'should' or 'ought'. We will not say, "the past 'should' be different than it is." We will not say, "the hurricane 'ought' not have happened". We will not say, "I 'ought' not drink this" as we raise the glass to our mouth and drink it. We will not say, "I should start studying right now, but I won't". We will not say, "I should go to the gym right now, but I won't."

We don't blabber about superstitions instead of taking full self-responsibility.

So let's look at the idea of self-responsibility, spiritual freedom, and self-discipline, which are three different ways of describing essentially the same thing. Indeed, George Bernard Shaw wrote, "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."

The irresponsible, meaning those lacking self-responsibility, might be inclined to claim when they commit a murder or such that they are just doing the bidding of some seemingly magical moral law, according to rules of superstitious justice. These people are like the Nazi guards who say, "I was just doing my job," but the difference is their boss is a ghost. Murderers who don't have a literal boss telling them to do murder like to make one up, and that boss is a made-up ghost. It's a superstition. There is no real scales or chalkboards telling them to do it. No real scores to be settled or not.

As human beings, we each all often feel many bodily urges and feelings such as anger, hunger, pain, discomfort, and fear. Generally, these are all unavoidable. You will feel and experience each and every one of those feelings, often. To accept what you cannot control is, in part, to accept that. Blame isn't really a factor because you will feel them regardless. You might fall into the trap of the illusion of blame if you think you are upset because your laptop broke or because it rained on the day you were going to the beach, or that as a lion you are hungry because the antelope happened to walk by. The antelope made me hungry, the lion might say. It's the antelope's fault I'm hungry, the lion might say. Is there anything to blame for different clouds being the way they are? Sometimes the thing about superstition is that it doesn't contradict the facts, it just needlessly adds to them. Blame and fault, and even the concept of whyness itself (e.g. 'why did that happen???', 'why are the clouds the way they are?') tend to be like that. Catch yourself if you can: Do you hear it when you say "you made me angry", instead of simply saying, "I am feeling anger". Do your feelings like hunger and anger have to be anyone or anything's fault?

In any case, if you make a goal out of not feeling pain or fear or such, you have set a blatantly futile goal, which can suggest a certain degree of folly and/or dishonest denial. I've said it before: I have inner peace because I have no unmet expectations.

If you expect to not feel pain or hunger or anger, you are in for disappointment, and when you get even more upset and angry because your expectations weren't met, then it will be time to start blaming. But, if you are going to blame anyone or anything, why not your own futile needless expectations? Of course, the third option--the middle way, so to speak--is to let go of all blame and all expectations and all superstitions, and simply notice and acknowledge things as they actually are, underneath all that inner-peace-stealing superstition, and respond freely instead of reacting like a slavish robot or an emotional wreak who is a slave to his feelings. The miserable lion might say to the antelope, "I'm hungry so I must eat, and you made me hungry, so it's your fault. You are to blame!"

All bodily feelings can be transcended. Transcending them doesn't mean you don't feel them anymore. When you transcend fear, we have a special name for that: bravery. Bravery isn't the absence of fear, but rather the transcendence of it. You can't be brave without fear. If the feeling (e.g. fear, hunger, pain, discomfort etc.) is the proverbial in which you might drown, transcendence is learning to swim, not draining the ocean and getting rid of the water. Such transcendence is simply liberating yourself from being a slave to these feelings. Transcendence isn't finding a way to stop feeling hunger, but simply to notice the difference between the impotent feeling of hunger and your choice to eat or not.

One who lacks spiritual freedom might be one who feels compelled to eat when they feel hungry. In that way, they are then a slave to hunger.

Just as we have a special word for the transcendence of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) when it comes to fear, that special word being bravery, we also have a special word for one who is like slave to fear, and that word is cowardice.

Just as hunger evolved for its reasons, so did fear and anger. Much of it has to do with your so-called selfish genes. They want to reproduce even at your expense, or death. Sometimes it's a few rouge selfish genes killing you for their own sake. Sometimes your interests and your genes are aligned, so to speak, but the genes are just kind of dumb, like an appendix, or like the way women die so often in childbirth. Sometimes it's just an aspect of unintelligent design, like the common urge a human has to overeat to death. But of course generally that kind of thing cannot happen to someone with spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). A person with spiritual freedom is, by definition, not a slave to hunger; they are to hunger what a brave person is to fear. Or, more accurately, they are to all feelings and bodily urges what a brave person is to fear. Of course, that isn't to say they blindly do the exact opposite of what the feeling such as fear or hunger would have them do. As I say in the book, the mirror image of slave is still slave. The mirror image of a prison is still a prison. Where the coward is an obedient slave to fear, the brave person is like a parent driving a car, and fear is an impotent kid in the backseat, who might be tell the driver to go Disney Land instead of the dentist. Sometimes they can even give you good advice and help you think of something you wouldn't have otherwise thought of. Sometimes you play with them just for fun. But the difference between and slavery and freedom is all about who really is the boss, or if there even is one. To the coward, sadly, fear is much more than just a little kid in the backseat.

Anger is a subset of fear. Or, in other words, anger is merely a type of fear.

Fear itself is generally simply the feeling of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) being triggered. The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) being triggered is colloquially referred to as "the fight or flight response". Just as a lion might feel hunger upon seeing a delicious antelope, the antelope might have its Sympathetic Nervous System triggered upon seeing the hungry lion.

Generally speaking, anger is simply the word we use to describe the fighty side of the flight or fight response.

In the same way anger is merely a special type of fear, a slave to anger is merely a special type of coward.

Bluntly, someone who blindly obeys anger is a coward, plain and simple.

There can be a bit more to it, though, if we want to be less blunt. As the behavior economist, Dan Ariely (Professor of Psychology at Duke), shows in his book, Predictably Irrational, there are also evolutionary incentives to extreme irrational revenge, a sort of elongated self-destructive rage.

While Ariely proves it with science and real life scientific experiments, it's also intuitive: Imagine you accidentally slightly disturb a bee near a bee colony. You realize your mistake, and walk away peacefully and slowly. But a bee noticed. And he is angry. We're talking suicide-bomber-level angry. We can see the evolutionary advantage to the colony and genetic line when that angry bee chases you down, far away, long after you've personally stopped posing a threat to the hive, and he stings you thereby killing himself. You might tell stories for ages about the horrors of going anywhere near a beehive.

Indeed, we do kind of learn to stop messing around with people who are freaking crazy. As crazy as that bee. As crazy and violent and self-destructively oversensitive and even suicidally rageful as that bee.

We could hypothetically imagine a similar bee but with a fun human-like level of intelligence. Then, like any food addict is to hunger or like any sex addict is to sex, we could imagine the bee before it stings knows it will die by doing so, and still does it with angry sadistic rage. Perhaps gets a shot of dopamine and short-lived glee once it pecks you, like an addict with a needle. Then when those short-lived feelings fade, perhaps the over-intelligent bee would have feelings of regret as it falls to the ground and slowly dies by its own doing: "Oh, I wish I hadn't done that. Why did I do that?"

If so, it wouldn't be much different than what an alcoholic says to themselves during or shortly after a relapse. It wouldn't be much different than a slave to fear says after their cowardice hinders and hurts them or those they love in some way. It might not be that much different than what an adulterer says to themselves after they have another affair, or to their partner after they get caught. It might not be that much different than a food addict says to themselves after binge eating.

Bees may not be like that, but many humans sure are.

Being a slave to anger is cowardice, and it's a cowardice that will have you behave even dumber than a bee if you let it. If you obey it as if you were an obedient slave, it will even have you commit murder.

It will have you do things worse than murder.

But, whether it's in regard to anger or non-angry fear, cowardice of any kind is just itself one type of spiritual slavery. It's just one way to not have spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). You could be a slave to hunger, or to your sexual urges, or to your greed and envy. Or, more likely, to all of them at once. The way some humans live their life with themselves and their feelings is, I imagine, like having two abusive parents and several abusive older siblings. A slave with several masters. A prison with many bars.

Living life that way can be a fate worse than death. Personally, I'd so much rather die than become a murderer. But that's just one tiny example of a much broader and bigger truth: Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

Is the human being you see in a mirror a mere puppet whose strings are pulled by fear, hunger, pain, anger, and other selfish-gene-inspired feelings? Or are you someone with spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), who, with loving free-spirited creativity, consciously chooses what to do, and who thereby helps consciously create the future?

Look in the mirror and tell about me what you see: Is it just a puppet with no spirit? A slavish puppet with a caged spirit? Or is it a free-spirited co-creator of this beautiful artwork we call life, the universe, and reality itself?

It's not particularly related to this particular commentary, but I see change itself as something of an illusion. To say you can change the future gives the future too much credit and too much reality. In a way, there is no the future, but rather only the present, or really an infinite patchwork of presents, conscious presents, each its own here and now, in an otherwise holistic unchanging timeless nowless spacetime.

Yet, in terms of the real you, to say you help create reality seems valid to me.

In a way, this world is like a dream, and we are the creative dreamer. And, indeed, we are very much in it together.

I find, when you accept the responsibility that is spiritual freedom, and let go of all superstition, and fully and unconditionally accept what you cannot control, you are left with an empowering sense of unconditional forgiveness, unconditional love, and grace. It's easy to accidentally underestimate the true power of it. Just as a tiny little example, imagine all the energy and time and resources put into destructive sadistic anger or resentment about things one can neither change nor control. Now consider you've saved all that incredible amount of energy and resources. You've got it all saved up now. You're focused, yet freer than a bee. That's power. Graceful incredible loving power.

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My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Surabhi Rani
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Re: A World Blinded by Sadistic Anger | How the dangerous superstition of justice leads to aggressive violence and mis

Post by Surabhi Rani »

Yes, anger is a type of fear because one of the reasons for fear might be the feeling of insecurity present in us. I appreciate the thought that bravery is the transcendence of fear, not the absence of it. We are the free-spirited co-creators of this beautiful artwork called life. We save our energies and resources by fully and unconditionally accepting what we cannot control rather than not getting angry.
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