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mererdog

Enemies

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mererdog   

My opinions on this subject are inextricably linked to my pacifism, so I suppose I should start there...

 
First, it is important to understand that I did not decide to become a pacifist. I was not persuaded to the position by evidence or argument. I simply came to a point where I had to acknowledge a truth about myself, namely that whenever I intentionally try to harm someone I end up feeling guilty about it. Unraveling the is/ought knot in the back of my head, I realized that, regardless of what reason might tell me I should believe, I was handicapping myself if I failed to be honest about what I actually believed. And my reactions make it clear that I believe violence to be unjustifiable.
 
On the one hand, my pacifism prevents me from being anyone's enemy, because there is no one I really wish to harm. On the other hand, my pacifism limits my problem-solving options when dealing with those who would act as my enemy. It isn't that I love my enemy, just that I want to keep my commitment to do only right, even if everyone else seems to be doing wrong.
 
So that's basically where I am on the subject. I have no scripture that I fall back on and no authority I look to for guidance. I'm just trying to use my conscience as a guide. But we all do things differently, which brings me to some questions for everyone....
 
How do you handle enemies? Why do you do that? Do you think it is the right way to do it? Have you given it much thought?
Edited by mererdog

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Dan56   
13 hours ago, mererdog said:

my pacifism prevents me from being anyone's enemy,

But your pacifism doesn't prevent you from being anyone's victim... 

I'm a pacifist in the sense that I don't look to create enemies, but my pacifism ends when their fist meets my face, then my temper takes over (self-defense). 

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mererdog   
6 hours ago, Dan56 said:

But your pacifism doesn't prevent you from being anyone's victim... 

Actually, it does, and in more than one way.

At the most basic level, it prevents others from stealing my sovereignty by changing me from a decision-maker into someone who reacts to the decisions of others. I won't be fooled into thinking I have no other choice, so my hand will never be forced. My personal freedom is valuable enough that I believe I am willing to suffer and die for it. Not that I look forward to my next opportunity to test the strength of those convictions, of course. 

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mererdog   
6 hours ago, Dan56 said:

I'm a pacifist in the sense that I don't look to create enemies, but my pacifism ends when their fist meets my face, then my temper takes over (self-defense). 

I have always considered my temper to be a character flaw. My personal history shows it helping me very little and harming me quite a lot. I take it your experience differs? 

Edited by mererdog

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Dan56   
2 hours ago, mererdog said:

Actually, it does, and in more than one way.

At the most basic level, it prevents others from stealing my sovereignty by changing me from a decision-maker into someone who reacts to the decisions of others. I won't be fooled into thinking I have no other choice, so my hand will never be forced. My personal freedom is valuable enough that I believe I am willing to suffer and die for it. Not that I look forward to my next opportunity to test the strength of those convictions, of course. 

Being a slave to those who would dominate or abuse you is not freedom. When you raise a white flag to your enemies, your personal sovereignty goes out the window. When you willingly becoming a victim, your no longer a decision-maker, your choices are eliminated and your forced to yield to those who tell you how its going to be. There may be certain situations when its better to walk away and endure some hardship, but generally, yielding to bullies just encourages more abuse and dominance.    

1 hour ago, mererdog said:

I have always considered my temper to be a character flaw. My personal history shows it helping me very little and harming me quite a lot. I take it your experience differs? 

I agree to the extent that an out-of-control temper is a character flaw. But submission to those who would cause you harm is also a character flaw.. If its masochism verses temper, I prefer temper.. I don't think there's any honor in pacifism, pacifist often come off to me as people who just don't care, they just don't find anything is worth fighting for. Freedom and liberty are not the fruits of pacifism.   

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mererdog   
On 2/8/2017 at 9:14 AM, Dan56 said:

Being a slave to those who would dominate or abuse you is not freedom. 

That's what I'm saying. Consider a simple scenario- You want to fight me and I don't want to fight you. So, if I fight you, I am not doing what I want to do and I am instead doing what you want me to do. If I let violence or threats of violence from you prompt me to be violent, I am allowing you to control my actions rather than acting according to my own judgment. By having thought out the morality in advance and adopted a clear philosophy, I am more readily able to maintain self-control when people are trying to manipulate me in that way.

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mererdog   
On 2/8/2017 at 9:14 AM, Dan56 said:

 I don't think there's any honor in pacifism, pacifist often come off to me as people who just don't care, they just don't find anything is worth fighting for.

I am speaking only on a personal level. Your earlier comment referenced my pacifism, so that is what I spoke to. I won't speak to the pacifism of others, beyond pointing out that anyone can call themself a pacifist, just as anyone can call themself a Christian. If we judge others based on the actions of complete strangers who share a label with them, we are not going to come to a fair judgment.

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kokigami   

I find your logic impeccable. The conclusion seems solid. It is, however, a tough path. How are you defining violence? 

 

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mererdog   
7 hours ago, kokigami said:

How are you defining violence? 

 

Intentionally harming another.

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kokigami   

harm can mean a lot of things. Do you know the principals of Aikido? Specifically, Seidokan. Aikido technique can be violent action, but, it can also be non harmful. Or, at worst, it can be argued that the aggressor has harmed themselves, when harm happens. Is this kind of thing ruled out by your pacifism?

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mererdog   
On 3/14/2017 at 2:07 AM, kokigami said:

harm can mean a lot of things.

Yes. I was being flippant. A more honest answer is that I don't really define violence so much as recognize it. Remember, I'm going by feelings as much as anything else.

The Aikido knowledge question, I will dodge. This is at least the third time, so it is becoming fun.

Has everyone Googled kokigami's name yet? Good. I'm tired of being the only one with that in his head.

As for what is ruled out, it's really more about motive than action or outcome. Motive forms the fundamental difference between an accident and an attack, and between a surgery and a stabbing. Important stuff. But stuff that is inherently subjective.

Edited by mererdog

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Dan56   
On 2/9/2017 at 2:58 PM, mererdog said:

That's what I'm saying. Consider a simple scenario- You want to fight me and I don't want to fight you. So, if I fight you, I am not doing what I want to do and I am instead doing what you want me to do. If I let violence or threats of violence from you prompt me to be violent, I am allowing you to control my actions rather than acting according to my own judgment. By having thought out the morality in advance and adopted a clear philosophy, I am more readily able to maintain self-control when people are trying to manipulate me in that way.

I can respect a pacifist who doesn't want to fight because they deplore violence. But I never met a pacifist who enjoyed laying in a ditch with 2 black eyes and a bloody lip.. Its at that point, that a pacifist is no longer avoiding violence, but have willingly become a victim. Being beat to a pulp is not controlling anything imo.

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mererdog   
3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

But I never met a pacifist who enjoyed laying in a ditch with 2 black eyes and a bloody lip.. Its at that point, that a pacifist is no longer avoiding violence, but have willingly become a victim. 

Which Jesus said we should never do, and which the example of Christ clearly shows is the wrong thing to do? I know it's a cheap shot, but seriously....

Yes, it is about being willing to be a victim. The motivation is to protect the other from the self, even at the expense of the self. Firemen don't normally go into flaming buildings hoping to get burned. They risk their own lives trying to keep others safe. At its best, pacifism is similar, except that it involves protecting others from yourself.

 

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mererdog   
16 hours ago, Phillipe said:

Philosophy is all fine and good until you're actually IN a violent encounter ...

At which point it is awesome. Hi Sifu.

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Dan56   
5 hours ago, mererdog said:

At its best, pacifism is similar, except that it involves protecting others from yourself.

I guess that's why I'm not a pacifist, I don't believe that absorbing the anger of others protects anyone, but instead, propagates violence.. Let a bully have his way, and your just inspiring his further abuse of others. Avoiding conflict whenever possible, and walking away from an altercation, I agree with.

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mererdog   
3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

Let a bully have his way, and your just inspiring his further abuse of others.

Or you are inspiring others to stand up and voice their objection to the bullying, creating social pressure that causes the bullying to stop. The devil is in the details. Ever looked into how nonviolent revolutions happen? It's fascinating stuff.

Still, my goal is not to protect everyone from everything. The other guy's sins are his own burden to bear, if you don't mind me stealing a little lingo. 

Edited by mererdog

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kokigami   
On 3/15/2017 at 2:27 PM, mererdog said:

Yes. I was being flippant. A more honest answer is that I don't really define violence so much as recognize it. Remember, I'm going by feelings as much as anything else.

The Aikido knowledge question, I will dodge. This is at least the third time, so it is becoming fun.

Has everyone Googled kokigami's name yet? Good. I'm tired of being the only one with that in his head.

As for what is ruled out, it's really more about motive than action or outcome. Motive forms the fundamental difference between an accident and an attack, and between a surgery and a stabbing. Important stuff. But stuff that is inherently subjective.

well played. And you were never the only one. I have that in my head as well. 

It seems to me that one can prepare for violent encounters without preparing to become violent. Part of that is preparing to be injured, but also preparing strategies for avoiding injury. I wouldn't call myself a pacifist, because I am not to the level that I feel I could stick to that philosophy, in a crunch. However, it is generally my goal. 

 

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mererdog   
13 hours ago, kokigami said:

I wouldn't call myself a pacifist, because I am not to the level that I feel I could stick to that philosophy, in a crunch.

Pacifism is about what you should do, rather than what you will do. So the true test is not whether you engage in violence, but whether you justify violence. If you resort to violence in the heat of the moment, can you convince yourself that you did nothing wrong? If so, you aren't a pacifist. If you can't, acknowledging that is helpful in avoiding future guilt.

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