Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@IlliniDave:

JK. I am only a minor pagan myself at the loose level of “nature is my cathedral.” For better or worse, my scientific atheist side has lately been reading books on rather gloomy theme that Nature is Dead, because our species’ influence has rendered the planet entirely garden. For instance, human behavior is now the primary driver of evolution of all other species. The self-referential snake eating its own tail paradox being that the very act of defining and declaring a wilderness area recognizes that it is not. The squirrels storing black walnuts in my previously human abandoned attic were perhaps more “wild” until I took note of them.

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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by jacob »

Morally speaking ...

I don't think the Tragedy of the Commons style "if I don't do it, it's just going to lower demand and thus make it cheaper for someone else to do it, so I might as well do it too"-moral defense holds for everything. I can't imagine someone using it to defend slave ownership, for example. Although, it probably was used just like that then. But not now. Morals can change.

Thus it becomes a question of where individual people draw their line. There's some acceptance found in realizing that people draw their lines individually. Drawing on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_M._ ... ity_(1976) ... making unfair trades that the counterpart (the people of the future and/or the people far away) would never accept falls under bandit behavior. It's just that humans get increasingly more comfortable with bandit behavior the further the other human is removed in time or space. Some ethical systems define that is "evil", but I agree with the discussion of "evil" above that bandits rarely set out to be mean to others. It's just that they don't really care. This lack of caring is a natural (rule more than the exception) part of being human---this also makes it easier to accept. "Screwing up the world" is just humans being human ... just like the great oxygenation event which was the greatest species loss on the planet was just aerobic bacteria being aerobic.

What gets destroyed here is any illusion (illusions again) that the human species or humanity was somehow special. There's every indication that we're not. Making that switch in framework makes acceptance easier. I suspect the anger being felt is part driven by disappointment and part driven by empathy that the target of the empathy might not even realize.

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Alphaville
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Alphaville »

another book to keep in mind when dealing with 4 percenters is "the sociopath next door"... this is an interview with the author:

https://www.interviewmagazine.com/cultu ... ce-lack-of

eta: this is the mentioned sequel i think, looks like it took longer:

Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door: How to Protect Yourself Against a Ruthless Manipulator

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Alphaville
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

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Jean
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Jean »

@redo, if someone was threatening to go in thé past and prevent me from existing, i would take it even more seriously than if someone was threatening to kill me now. Because i would even lose what i had. For this reason, someone trying to convince me of having less child is worse than someone trying to kill my child, and any same living being would favor his childs over any other being. This isn't selfishness, it's life, and i'de need a strong argument to think that someone willing to sacrifice his child isn't sick.
Last edited by Jean on Sun Apr 11, 2021 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

chenda
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by chenda »

@jean - Reminds me of the dead grandfather paradox in time travel.

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Jean
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Jean »

It's more like complexe number, you use an impossible thing to reason about real things.

chenda
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by chenda »

@jean I think we both were

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Jean
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Jean »

That's what i meant.

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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by chenda »

@jean ah I see :)

Redo
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Redo »

What???
So these scientists are worse than murderers?
Why not have 100 kids then? Aren't you killing the other 98 kids by only have 2 kids?
You're trying to think about something practical in a very theoretical/religious/philosophical way.

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Jean
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Jean »

Every one is a murderer. You can only live because you kill other being, or have other people kill being for you. And that include human beings. Trying to convince me not to reproduce is just a soft way to try to kill my childrens. If i didn't know what they were doing that would be fine, but this even hads insults to injury, as if i was stupid enough to accept to renounce to my right of being on this world without fighting for it. I'de agree to have less child, but only inside an alliance in which every one would agree to do so, and in which we would ensure by any mean nescessary that the ressource for our limited number of child are secured, even if it means killing people outside the alliance.

Tyler9000
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Tyler9000 »

@the_platypus: There's a lot of good advice here about healthy ways to approach ecology. So I'll be "that guy" and point out one more thing that I think is very important. Going back to this question in your original post:

"Why can't I shake some sense into the people who drive by in their Hummers and their Denalis?"

The simple answer is that it's impossible to communicate with anyone you have already compartmentalized as beyond help. In a single post, you call your neighbors "monsters", "evil", "genocidal", "murderers", "Nazi prison guards", and all manner of dehumanizing things simply because they're living their own lives peacefully in a way you disagree with. You'll never connect with them because I see no evidence that you're making any effort to.

It's possible for two things to be true at the same time:

1) The environment is a serious issue that deserves more attention and action.
2) Individuals who don't internalize that to the same degree you do are still good people.

So I was encouraged to see your closing statement:

"Or, is there a real chance, knowing my mental health history, that I just need to take it easy, buy a nice rug to tie the room together, and kick it on the beach with a glass of Sprite and try to lighten up like the sun?"

My honest answer, because I care about you as a human being, is to do just that. Whenever you start to feel angry at complete strangers, take the time to deescalate your own thoughts. Don't deny who you are or give up on your beliefs, but refocus on things you can control and stop looking for people to demonize. Believing your neighbor just driving his kids to school is a genocidal Nazi is not normal or healthy. You deserve better! And I expect you'll start to see more progress not only in your own happiness but also in how you influence people around you in a positive way once you start embracing a mindset of grace.

I hope that doesn't come across as too preachy. I just have a family member going through a similar situation (different trigger, same reactions), so I guess it's top of mind. I genuinely wish you nothing but the best.

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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Myakka »

In the process of trying to build our Earthship we had a real education on just how difficult it is to change the way things work in this society. In the aftermath of that I can no longer believe in the notion that the problem is technological. Lots of good technological ideas already exist out there unused for lack of interest.

At the moment, I am thinking the main issue is the ethical structuce of our culture. In the battle for competitive advantage among humans other lifeforms almost always lose -- it's kinda like in Harry Potter where in a battle between Wizards ordinary humans find themselves completely outclassed and out manuevered -- only unlike in HP in our real world muggles would be exterminated either directly (through malice) or indirectly (through not thinking it worthwhile to consider their needs in the schemes that the Wizards devise).

To not particuplate in the schemes devised by humans which do not value the lives of the other species on our planet requires understanding the metanarratives of the world we live in and taking steps to do things in ways that feed into them somewhat less.

There is also the aspect of the metanarratives of our culture which are psychologically damaging. So, stepping out of them is compatible with greater peace with ones own human nature.

This is what I have been thinking about the everyday evils of our culture lately, It is hard to know if this approach will be any more effective than the last one, but it is better to try than not to try.

ellarose24
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by ellarose24 »

I have no answers--but the questions raised reminds me very much of Camus' The Plague.

In the Plague--you have the scientist--reminded me of Jacob's example--and you also have the priest. One is immersed completely in the realm of science and tries to fight reality with his science. The other tries to combat reality with abstractions (you know Catholics). Both die

Neither exist within humanity--they both totally divorce themselves from reality--a murky pit of either cold hard fact or pure human cope. On either side of this lays death (or at least that is what the novel illuminated).

I am not sure I learned the lesson much myself, but the novel argued that when faced with existential question--the individuals that yearn for humanity even during humanities greatest tests are the true heroes, though they look nothing like heroes. The are heroes precisely because of their ability to continue existing without being consumed by existential dread. Those whose lives revolve completely around existential questions end up spinning and ultimately thrown into pure fight mode (the scientist) or pure escape mode (the priest)--you can see this within the context of our own very recent plague. There are stories beyond the narrative of global warming and yes they do still have meaning.

For most of history, nature truly was the enemy--think of the plagues, famines, and diseases that existed for most of human history. We dealt with such things and we will deal with global warming, and the world will keep turning though much lighter with far fewer humans (best case scenario). In between now and then is much suffering, but suffering is not a new condition for humans. The privilege and comfort we currently have IS new, and is perhaps putting us in debt for future suffering. When it happens, it will look very similar to all of suffering in all of history. I am not arguing that the rates at which the environment is changing or habitats and species are disappearing isn't novel--but when it comes to the impact on humans--fear, hunger, and death are pretty natural states.

If the environment itself worries you, look at areas humans have left and see the ease earth brings life back.

I am not an optimist that thinks that there is somehow some way that the world could sustain the amount of humans it has on the planet. No doubt we are making it worse with our choices, but I really think it is just a matter of over population given we have defeated all apex predators, and have been marginally successful in defeating the greatest predator--nature herself (at least so far). We have documented and seen the ravages that come about from overpopulation of a vast number of species, not sure why we think humanity is any different. Nature will ultimately take its course and as depressed as I am, selfishly, that I cannot find undisturbed areas of nature nor have been able to see a vista not impacted by humanity, I also know that my time is very short and I think earth still has quite some time left after humans.

(This is also not to say that I do nothing. I spin off quite frequently with existential dread. I combat this by making the space around me, and the space around that, and so on a little better. It's all I can do and it does keep me sane and allows somewhat of a narrative of progression in my small and meaningless human life.)

In the end, I think Camus was describing, in a self masturabatory way (that I thoroughly enjoyed dissecting)--the coping skills people engage with. The worst coping skill is black and white thinking, in his novel--this led to death. Finding humanity during crises absolutely requires one to see the gray. I agree that labelling people as nazis and evil for driving hummers is a large compartmentalization that helps you make sense of the world in an easy way. Stress hormones also cause this type of thinking, as does past trauma. The truth is that you may be more privileged to have had the experience, intelligence, and influence to understand why hummers are a net negative whereas they were raised by the television and advertisements with nothing to counteract it.

I keep wildflowers and signs about pollinators and prairies in my lawn to maybe help be part of that influence of the children in my neighborhood.

Qazwer
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Qazwer »

general dealing with evil in any context humor is helpful (Mel Brooks History of the World Part 1 - Hitler on ice)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ybuKQf9p5jg

If you can make Hitler a joke - you can make anything a joke
In the setting of the impossible a sense of fun should not be minimized

In the case of ecological collapse being discussed consider
https://dark-mountain.net/worried-about ... re-manual/

In the infinity end with no hope, if you can keep your sense of humor and love of life, you can ease any pain. A sense of anger can motivate if you have a real solution. If you cannot change it, at the least, you can at least figure out how to live with the world as it is.

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Alphaville
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Alphaville »

the_platypus wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 am
hey im glad i saw this thread resurface this week because it reminded me to finish answering.

i mean i got distracted with how to deal with sociopaths at the personal level, but forgot the bigger "what to do" question

basically what i was gonna say is you're going to get a lot of "old man wisdom" in this thread. take it easy, don't torment yourself, ignore the realities that you can't handle, develop apathy, rose above it all, etc.

to which i say okay--but that's a state you could arrive to in old age. not when you're young. dont get old prematurely. don't make yourself inured/oblivious/cynical/too wise/too detached just yet. that stuff will kill you in the cradle.

this is a time in life for you to take some action. also, try to develop a stomach for the harsh realities that we face.

sure, don't go on to become a unabomber or a vigilante or a shoot-your-cause-in-the-foot donkey. but do something. do something good. don't ignore things.

my experience with politics and institutions is it doesn't work to go pointing fingers and yell at them like an enraged child, because that leaves them no options to do anything. the solution, whenever i have been able to get one with people in power, is facilitating the path to a workable solution they can enact. tantrums don't solve anything--but tantrums are for children anyway. it takes adults to make things work. but it takes a desire to make things change to actually change things.

for you, who are young, and have activist drives--if you want old man wisdom, i suggest listening to the old activists that never stopped working, warts and all. howard zinn, noam chomsky... those are a couple of old geezers that didn't lose perspective as they aged (well, zinn is gone now, but still, you get the idea.)

eg here is old man chomsky age 92 telling you about the sunrise movement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0biDUyfKMkM

go join them! go do something! become wise and reasonable and balanced... on your own timetable, not someone else's.

here i'm reminded of william blake who wrote "you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough."

so... go live your life! find out what's too much! use your drive and passion to do something! you'll find your own balance and reason eventually, but you'll find it in action, not on paper. today maybe it's best to listen to the children who have the most to lose, rather than to old people who want you to keep quiet and not rock the boat.

eg. the greta thunberg documentary (on hulu, not sure where else) begins with some old lady trying to lord it over the kid, who is on school strike outside the swedish parliament, by telling her she should go back to school so she can some day blah blah fucking stupid platitudes. lol.

check it out if you haven't-- better listen to greta than to apathy! or someone else who is doing something. you'll have time to fall asleep later... much much later...

today you have to listen to your righteous indignation and do something good with it. don't become a sociopath to fight sociopaths and ignoramuses; but do fight the good fight. you can always rest and dispense hard-won wisdom later.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

I'm reading a book right now called "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut fought in WWII, and a big theme of the book is essentially dealing with the problem of evil in the face of the horror of that war. In the book, any time a character dies, Vonnegut writes the phrase "so it goes." No matter how horrible or how noble the death it, it's all the same. So it goes.

I think about this a lot in the face of climate change. Humans have done many worse things, historically speaking, than this. And most people aren't used to thinking about the systemic consequences of their actions. Will this lead the world to ruin? Yes, but so it goes. It's not the first time the world ended for a person or a species, and it won't be the last.

Cat's Cradle, by the same author, is also pretty good. That one is about the world ending through sheer human folly and indifference.

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