Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

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

Post by Redo »

How's it dishonest? Overpopulation is the main problem. Also, how do you go from not having kids to murdering people? Are people that selfish that they would rather murder someone than not have kids? You know what, never mind.
Also, you say there are simple solutions to this problem, and in the same paragraph say find a solution? What?

Big companies blame the individual, individuals blame the big companies.

Nihilism is freeing, it's ok if you think it's useless. I'd rather not do shit like upgrade light bulbs which has no impact, and have fun and enjoy my remaining life. Because that's all that matters.

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

Post by sky »

When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back.

Live in a reasonably responsible way with regard to sustainability.

Find ways to make your life comfortable, enjoyable and drama free. Help your friends.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

To the OP

In lieu of writing a longer post I will only say that it is fine to have emotions and good intentions, just be aware that there are those who will weaponize your emotions and good intentions for their own ends, and they will do it in the name of the greater good. You mentioned “poisonous notions of freedom” so it sounds like you’re perhaps ready to participate in a witch hunt. “Why are we not utilizing our natural means of social sanctions -- teasing, reprimanding, ostracization, and property destruction -- to curtail their murderous economic activity?” These sanctions are already happening and it seems you are ready for Bill Gates and Klaus Schwab to order you to attack the earth destroyers as they board their private airplane en route to the next central planning meeting.

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

Post by tsch »

the_platypus wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:21 am
Does anyone else feel about as angsty as their teenage form and then sit sullenly listening to "Cafo" by Animals As Leaders? Does anyone want to cry? 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?
Yes to the first question, probably with some Neko Case to cry into instead. (Though I checked out the video for Cafo and I'd be happy to stand around the edge of the pit and push people back in at any of their shows.) I think I'm a similar kind of "emotional outlier" here as you describe. INFJ

It helps me to come to some sort of acceptance without having to correct and argue with people all the time. Hanging out with like-minded folks when I can helps a lot, and I'm learning I have to really limit the amount of time I can spend cohabitating with family, otherwise the pressure of trying to fit in with their delusions sets off all my addictive tendencies and I lose myself.

My zen community helps a lot. There's a practice of renewing the Buddhist precepts quarterly (around the solstice and equinoxes), where we freely admit we have no real way to perfectly fulfill all the vows we make. Something about acknowledging that paradox seems to help with the spiritual aspect of this.

Thanks for your post!

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

Post by Alphaville »

@the_platypus thanks for the thoughtful response, some things i didn't know about; and again i'd like to post a long reply (and will later), but have things this morning.

so meanwhile just wanted to leave the reference for hannah arendt's reports on the eichmann trial, which begin here:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963 ... erusalem-i

and continue further.

if you prefer to read them collected in book form here's the worldcat info:

https://www.worldcat.org/title/eichmann ... clc/405280

have a great day, let's catch up later.

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

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Well, on the one hand, until/unless I get my own spending (or equivalent net resource burn/dump) down to 1 Jacob or less, I feel a bit hypocritical judging anybody else. OTOH, it is difficult to not see the massive waste in a McMansion lifestyle.

At one juncture in my processing of “the knowing”, I became focused on the notion that a critical point in the system where I could invest some of my life energy would be teaching math to poor girls. This is a critical point because it tends towards lowering population and increasing knowledge base necessary to comprehend the science related to climate change etc. However, it might also have the effect of raising the poor girl’s future affluence to the point that she could become a McMansion lifestyler rather than a trailer park lifestyler.

I also came up with a scheme whereby I was going to somehow use the feminine energy which usually draws resources from males of human and other species for the support of their own offspring to tap old affluent guys who don’t quite want to believe in climate change etc. (Calorie Kings) in my social circle for funds which would indirectly support my permaculture project and my weak income derived from teaching math to poor girls. However, I ended up feeling compassion for the old grouchy affluent dogs because they’re mostly extremely miserable too. Mostly what they want is some sign of respect commiserate with their level of productivity, like they were trained to expect, but instead they get almost the opposite.

Another problem I have is that in the 5 or 6 years since I gained “the knowing”, my own children have become full adult participants in the economy, and they both make and spend more money than me. Not McMansionites by a long shot, more like some of the Level 5? members of this forum who are in their early 30s. So, I am torn between not wanting my theoretical ONLY 1 great-grand-child to die of wet bulb temperature aphyxiation and also wanting my quite reasonably frugal daughter to enjoy the treat of her honeymoon trip to Paris. I think us first world types will increasingly find ourselves wringing our hands over these sort of conflicts and trade-offs.

IOW, it’s a very complex problem that I don’t think can be constructively approached with black/white good/evil thinking. (She types as she sips on some terribly wasteful in multiple dimensions coffee treat she purchased to celebrate being fully vaccinated (sigh))

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

Post by chenda »


This is a good discussion from a Swami addressing the problem of evil; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80xmKPedkSQ

@the_platypus - You can try and cultivate a healthy detachment from the world. By healthy I mean you still take responsibility for your role in it and work towards bettering it (which you are clearly doing) but are not so involved that the suffering of the world brings you down. The temporary or ultimately illusory nature of the world is something most religions talk about in various ways, although you don't necessarily have to be religious to adopt this outlook (although it might make it easier)

This would be very different from nihlism or denying reality. (I recall a certain forum member used to try and deny climate change on metaphysical grounds by asking questions like- 'Does the world actually exist ?' or 'Is science actually real ?' All valid philosophical questions no doubt but also utterly useless and impractical for day to day living.) Also many things have got a lot better, because of people have got angry and done stuff. I've not read Harry Browne's book but I wonder if he was advocating an excessively passive and unhealthy detached attitude to life ?

How to live in the world yet be detached ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Xao-3RDG4

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

Post by the_platypus »

@UK-with-kids, I still think there's a really strong argument to not have kids if you believe the world of the future will be dramatically less food + physically secure, either from human conflict or weather. There's also just the fact that life in modern industrial society is of questionable value, mainly because the social structures of our time are so fragmented, hierarchical, and pathological, compared to what you might see in more traditional societies. Happiness, as usually defined, I believe, is basically a result of good social relations; there are a lot of people in modern society with poor social relations; so the guaranteed happiness of offspring is questionable, especially if they are either the perpetuators of industrial inequality (richest 1 billion) or are the subjects of that hegemony (the majority 6 billion).

@MisterImperceptible, you raise some good concerns. First, I'd like to say I changed the wording in the original post, because that was strong language, and strong language scares me. Again, I am a peaceful person and I am also the kind of person who does not forget the wrong I have done; therefore, I do not like doing wrong. There is no chance I do anything extreme. I guess I was thinking, what happened to the crazy hippies who would chain themselves to trees or stop bulldozers or what have you? Or, I had in mind this idea: if a kid is being a jerk and shooting people in the eyes with a nerf gun, you just...take away the nerf gun. I think you think I am some kind of violent anarchist, but I'm really the kind of person who apologizes when someone else bumps into me. I was mainly expressing my anger to vent; I can express my emotions without ever intending to act upon them. To clarify what I meant about "poisonous notions of freedom," I mainly meant this: Some people think freedom means freedom to enjoy whatever sensual pleasures they like at whatever cost -- social, environmental, human, etc. But in a functioning society, all those people in McMansions and anyone who thinks they are so big and important would be laughed at, rebuked, or ignored; that's how human society evolved to function, through levelling mechanisms and egalitarianism. And I see exactly none of that in my culture; we can treat others as inferiors by making them live, work, eat, and learn in worse conditions; and we make ourselves feel better by pretending one day they, too, will be able to enjoy those luxuries. I think I have triggered you and I apologize.

@tsch, thank you for responding! I will check out Neko Case! I was not aware of a "Cafo" moshpit video; I'm really not a headbanging type except when I am which is occasionally. I'm sorry that being with your family triggers issues for you. I don't have so much that problem as just feeling culturally isolated; the dominant culture in my city is so different that it's just lonely sometimes. I think that's half the difficulty, honestly. I'm really glad meditation has helped you; it has basically been a life saver for me over the past few years; I am hoping to visit a monastery sometime this year; you're right the paradox of trying to save the numberless sentient beings is kind of like: carbon dioxide emissions are ever rising, I vow to stop them.

@7WB5, thanks for your thoughts. I agree, it's not good to point out their speck and ignore my beam. I think my estimated yearly emissions is still like ~ 6 tonnes, which still puts me ahead of China, Brazil, India as of 2017. And my spending is still above 1 JAFI but under 2. Property ownership would solve that problem almost instantly but money. But still, I am FAR from sustainable. I'm mainly too scared to take that next big step and move somewhere where better sustainability would be possible. Haha! I admire your creativity in solutions. I might be wrong, but I have a sneaking intuition that teaching people to be overachievers and the concomitant expectation of remuneration is likely overall deleterious. I used to be an overachiever type. All it got me was a big ego and a lot of stress. I think this is where in functioning societies, people would get their egos cut down by jokes, so as to avoid this whole problem. No one wants a superhero to swoop in, because no one wants to be so weak that they need saving. So, about evil, first, it is interesting that climate evil can both feel like sour grapes over unrequited status and joyful honeymoon globetrotting. I agree it is complex; but I do not think we need throw out a concept of evil; I basically think of evil as the willful causation of suffering in any creature (whether intentionally or incidentally). I don't worry about the natural problem of evil because we can't really control earthquakes or fires; but human evil is still theoretically mitigatable; although maybe that idea right there is the origin of my suffering, as @jacob would likely say. I know this is all relative truth. I know there is a more universal truth about ethics, but which offers much less direction for action.

@chenda, thank you very much for the links and words! I will watch them soon I hope. You are talking about basically detached compassion right? "See everything as a dream."

Hristo Botev
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Hristo Botev »

Re anti-natalism, Jacob has posted this before, which perhaps you're already familiar with: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/opin ... nting.html

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

Post by the_platypus »

@Hristo Botev, I really appreciate your response.
To take Wynes and Nicholas’s recommendations [no fly/no babies/no car/etc.] to heart would mean cutting oneself off from modern life. It would mean choosing a hermetic, isolated existence and giving up any deep connection to the future. Indeed, taking Wynes and Nicholas’s argument seriously would mean acknowledging that the only truly moral response to global climate change is to commit suicide.
EDIT: I disagree that cutting oneself off from modern life necessarily leads to hermetic life/suicide or that leaving modern life is inherently undesirable.

If you live in a culture where you live within a land base sustainably (like, say, the San, Hadza, Amazon tribes once did and still to some extent do), then go ahead, have kids, enjoy life. There will still be natural suffering but it will be balanced by real joy and not be tainted by this kind of Moloch-driven, locust-like frenzy we are a part of in industrial society. I know there is research that shows these traditional societies can be happier than ours.

So, therefore, sustainability does not necessarily mean a hermetic, monastic existence; although such an existence is sustainable and also a good way for societies to deal with excess males who might otherwise become problematic (see Ladakh for example); nor does it necessarily imply suicide.

If the problem is industrial society, then the solution is to get out of industrial society. That can be done in many ways...by suicide, a monastery, or some kind of back-to-the-land-but-also-back-to-our-evolutionary-social-structure type effort. And I think that is where we are free to choose how to be both broadly ethical and sustainable.

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

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

“the_platypus” wrote: Property ownership would solve that problem almost instantly but money.
Yup. Where I’m at too, except would be “property I can legally and safely inhabit.” However, this puzzles me at the global what-if-everybody-did-it level. Is there even enough property and/or productive assets for everybody to own enough to reduce their expenses below 1Jacob and how does this question even make sense? Like if you divvied up all the theoretically arable land on the planet, it would currently be something just shy of 2 acres per human, but what would each human’s divvied up pile of productive assets/tools look like? Inclusive of the fact that , for instance, education in basic math is a tool.

I tend to go over the edge into post-modern on concepts like “evil”, but would note that willful causation suffering and death are inescapable part of the life cycle even absent presence of wobble head primates. I was recently thinking about this as I searched for a picture of the most “evil” looking frog to copy for my Beware of Frog sign. I learned that some species of frogs are pretty damn evil acting.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Hristo Botev »

the_platypus wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:30 pm
To the extent it's helpful, I'm not a charts and graphs and numbers guy, I'm a poetry and literature guy*, and I've gained a lot from Paul Kingsnorth's writings generally, and specifically his Buckmaster trilogy (I'd recommend doing an audiobook for the first book in the Trilogy, The Wake, for reasons that will be obvious once you pick up the book). Kingsnorth's non-fiction essays beautifully address his own struggles with coming to terms with the futility, etc. that is in your initial question(s), I think (see Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Savage Gods). But his fiction is just next level on this topic, in my uneducated opinion. It's hard for me to even think of the story he paints in Alexandria without getting emotional. Similarly, as weird/disturbing as it might sound, I find great comfort in Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's the love between the father and the son and finding beauty in the world, despite and/or because of the evil that is everywhere. And there's hope; there's always hope. We of course just had Easter (I read The Road as a Christian story; not sure if that was what was intended--don't care), and the simultaneous feelings of pain/sadness/joy/hope I feel when I read The Road or Alexandria are the same emotions I feel when praying the Stations of the Cross; contemplating The Passion. It's a fallen world; we are a fallen people; evil is everywhere and within us**. And when you contemplate the existence of so much evil in the world, it's hard not to just fall on your knees with gratitude when you juxtapose all that evil with the fact that there is, simultaneously, so much in the world that is true, and good, and beautiful--that there is SO MUCH LOVE in the world.

Reading history is also helpful; yes, "this" time is different--but every societal collapse humanity has endured in the past was different also. That's sort of the theme that strings Kingsnorth's Buckmaster trilogy together--we've seen this movie before, and it was both different and the same; and in a true "both/and" sense, it's simultaneously abhorrent and horrendous AND beautiful beyond words.

Finally, I "deal" by taking a walk outside, preferably in an urban environment, where I can see people, and I can see the best and the worst of people, sometime within seconds. And I smile at people for no reason, and when they smile back it can sustain me for days.

*I'm not suggesting that these things are mutually exclusive or that this is some sort of universal dichotomy; just speaking anecdotally about me, personally. I get both understanding and comfort in art, and that's also how I get my head straight.

**
The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, or between political parties either - but right through every human heart...even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains...an uprooted small corner of evil
Solzhenitsyn

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

Post by IlliniDave »

It helps me to keep the following in mind: nothing humans do is unnatural. If you believe humans were brought to earth, or genetically engineered, by ancient aliens, then I suppose the contrary could be argued.

That thought doesn't give answers or "justify" many things one might see around them. But it helps keep the negative emotions at bay, at least for me.

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

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@IlliniDave:

I find it interesting that within the same moon cycle as your resignation from employment you reveal yourself as Pagan. Party at my house on the Solstice ;)

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

Post by Alphaville »

another good read to throw in there is m scott peck's "people of the lie"

contains this gem of a paragraph in the intro:
I have spent a good deal of time working in prisons with designate criminals. Almost never have I experienced them as evil people. Obviously they are destructive, and usually repetitively so. But there is a kind of randomness to their destructiveness. Moreover, although to the authorities they generally deny responsibility for their evil deeds, there is still a quality of openness to their wickedness. They themselves are quick to point this out, claiming that they have been caught precisely because they are the "honest criminals." The truly evil, they will tell you, always reside outside of jail. Clearly these proclamations are self-justifying. They are also, I believe, generally accurate.
see more here:

https://www.james-l-drush.com/jd/peopleofthelie.htm

oh, he's got a wikisection:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_Peck#Evil

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Dealing with anger in the face of everyday evil

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

I was not triggered as much as trolling because I can hardly contain my excitement about the Ford Bronco.

To illustrate my point, I have a reservation for the Bronco and if I give it up, someone else will buy it (and feed the factory workers in Wayne, Michigan).

If I give up my business, someone else will take my clients and rack up my consumptive expenses (and feed the hotel concierges).

If 350 million Americans commit suicide, a never ending caravan from Latin America will surge northward and occupy the space, at least until the Han Chinese invade and harvest their organs.

It is interesting to see the religion of self-abnegation evolve from monotheistic Christianity to secular humanist climate change crusaders. At least the Christians could render unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s, and live and die peacefully with the certainty of eternal salvation. The secular humanists have no hope, so they have to run around telling everyone else what to do. Their sacrifice does not mean anything unless everyone else does it. But it is human, all-too-human, to want and need a cause, and I do not begrudge them that. When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything. Forgive them for they know not what they do.

It really is impossible for me to think of this without thinking of this.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:27 pm
@IlliniDave:

I find it interesting that within the same moon cycle as your resignation from employment you reveal yourself as Pagan. Party at my house on the Solstice ;)
The thought arose from considering the implications of being a science-only atheist, which I don't claim to be. And it was an outgrowth of hanging around on these forums--at one time we had some vocal proponents of that ideological substructure. I'm not even sure what contemporary Paganism is, tbh. :lol:

Off-topic FYI: In the formal sense I have not resigned yet. Assuming the revised retirement paperwork arrives roughly on schedule and I get it submitted and acknowledged quickly, I intend to do that shortly afterward by giving verbal notice to my supervisory chain of command at the end of April followed by written notice the end of May. I learned submitting the paperwork only tees up the mechanisms for enacting transition to retiree status, but they don't actually do anything until after payroll informs them I'm no longer an active employee.

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

Post by boomly »

Our current climate change is unlikely to end humanity or the biosphere. It's just a change. A change that might be quite destructive to some parts of modern civilization, but it's only the "end of the world" if you're quite attached to our modern globalized consumptive civilization.

It's curious that those most worried about climate change are most opposed to the system it would destroy, and those most in denial of it are those most attached to that system.

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

Post by chenda »

boomly wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:14 am
Our current climate change is unlikely to end humanity or the biosphere. It's just a change.
But its more than just a change, see the 4 degree map which we're on track for in 80 years. Its not hard to see how this could essentially end modern civilisation, for all the optimism about relocating to Siberia and covering Africa with solar panels.

@the_plataplus - Yup detached compassion is a good way of phrasing it.

@IlliniDave - you know I will gladly talk to you about Paganism ad nauseum ;)

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

Post by IlliniDave »

chenda wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:01 am

@IlliniDave - you know I will gladly talk to you about Paganism ad nauseum ;)
My dictionary-type understanding is it is an umbrella term for religious/spiritual practices other than the widespread/large number of adherence ones (which I would take to include Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hindu, etc.). I realize that the word derives from Latin and at one time meant about anything outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. People who self-identify that way in my experience tend to be of the wiccan/druidic/celtic branch from what they profess. Regardless, I'm unsure why the thought experiment I mentioned moves me into that category.

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