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  1. #1
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    Default People Who View Rational Vengeance as a Positive or Neutral Thing

    Since I just observed in a thread made for E1s (and I am not an E1) that quite a few people seem to be offended, mortified, or miffed they'd be viewed as vengeful and my response is "lolwut" I'm curious as to how many people view vengeance as a positive or neutral thing.

    When I was about 20, I used to go around saying "I am karma." It was because I tended to view bringers of very bad things as deserving of swift and meaningful correction, because I think a lot of evil happens in the world due to benign neglect i.e. "I don't want to get involved" "I don't want to be viewed as mean" (this is the worst in my opinion, if you're so pretentious and self-righteous that your entire motive is that you want to be liked or viewed as nice by others...not that you actually strive to BE kind or fair) or whatever.

    So many people get away with so much. I've actually had to curb my vengeance with maturity, examining how it was harming me when taken to extremes, and how vengeance MUST BE RATIONAL...it must serve a purpose or teach a lesson, otherwise it's just emotional melodrama that creates a perpetuating cycle of human stupidity (you know, like how people have been warring in the Caucusus region for 500+ years, that's when you know, just mayhaps, vengeance should become a more rational rather than emotional act, when it's eating your societies and your own families alive.)

    Of course as a counterphobic 6, I feel a deep need to be involved in my community, and at the same time face my fears and have strong allegiances, so I guess from an enneagram perspective this would be a natural thing for me.

    I've done a lot of reading on how anger can alert us, but should not be a driving force. The anger should be acknowledged, examined for the lesson involved, but then put aside to explore how the solution to the problem can proceed without it always being fueled by anger.

    An example would be the difference between how PETA and the Humane Society handle animal rights. PETA is clearly too consumed with anger.

    Anyway, it's just something I accept about myself, even in situations where I've acknowledged my sense of vengeance may have been inappropriate or out of hand.

    Is this cultural? Ethical? Personality related? What?

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I dont believe in vengence but I do believe in natural consequences.

    I think revenge is fine and would support public policy which enabled or facilitated it, such as providing kin the opportunity to exact capital punishments or the commuting of sentences were legitimate grievance and public protection aspects prevail in what would otherwise be condidered criminal.

    In some cases forgiveness is a ridiculous idea but anger and holding on to anger is like drinking poison in the hope someone else will die.

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    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    I see a couple of problems with this line of thinking:

    1) You are under the assumption that you are somehow in the proper position to enact or carry out "justice" in this particular case. You've essentially taken up the role of the vigilante and are attempting to justify it.

    2) Unintended consequences. By attempting to create balance, you may in fact only be further worsening it or causing further problems in the future (in other words you could be escalating the issue, not resolving it).

    I view vengeance as neither positive or negative, bt simply a choice someone makes that carries with it it's own consequences. Whether those consequences are positive or negative I think is relative to the individual you ask (for example: killing a criminal might make the streets a little safer but it would deprive a spouse or family member of a loved one).

    My two cents
    "The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."
    ― Woodrow Wilson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post

    In some cases forgiveness is a ridiculous idea but anger and holding on to anger is like drinking poison in the hope someone else will die.
    I agree whole-heartedly with this statement. Especially when people interpret the word "forgiveness" to mean tolerating, accepting, or allowing something to go on.

    No. You can forgive someone while stopping them from their destructive actions, or parting yourself physically from their company to protect yourself, or still disapproving of their choices.

  5. #5
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Vengeance in and of itself is not something I would consider good. Whatever positive consequences you think will come from it, you should focus on making a case for those, and not vengeance itself.

    From a utilitarian perspective, vengeance is mistaken. It's essentially the idea that if some causes suffering, it should be responded to by creating more suffering. That's fundamentally not compatible with utilitarianism unless you can demonstrate there is a longer term consequence that makes up for the suffering you've caused in seeking revenge. The only way I could think of that happening is through deterrence. Maybe revenge will deter people from doing more harm. I happen to find that very impractical. I suppose when human beings lived in small hunter-gatherer groups, revenge would have been more pragmatic because it was easy to keep track of who did what and there was really no where to run or hide. Society today is just too complex for individual acts of vengeance to effectively deter, so it becomes suffering on top of suffering with no practical payoff.

    Also, the statement "I am karma" sounds pretty self-aggrandizing, if I understand that correctly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinker683 View Post
    I see a couple of problems with this line of thinking:

    1) You are under the assumption that you are somehow in the proper position to enact or carry out "justice" in this particular case. You've essentially taken up the role of the vigilante and are attempting to justify it.
    In some cases, especially when I was younger, there were particular events that appear so morally clear cut that the person has acted out of sadistic selfishness or something close to it, that vengeance seems completely appropriate.

    I think "romantic vengeance" is common, too, in people who feel they have been wronged by the opposite sex; however, this is completely irrational and it's something I have real hopes of completely growing out of. It just perpetuates a cycle of abuse that gets carried through generations, and I don't necessarily mean physical abuse, but emotional or psychological abuse.

    I do think that a lot of people react out of hurt, in those cases.

    But the specific issue I'm talking about I think is observing, from the outside, that someone has perpetuated an act that is clearly wrong and giving them a taste of their own medicine.

    You'll be happy to know, though, that an ESFJ friend of mine recently suggested we take vengeance upon someone, and I actually demurred, though I acknowledged he deserved it, my line of thinking now is that ..basically what you said...there are only rare instances where you should presume yourself to be the arbiter of justice, and even if you are convinced that the other person is CLEARLY wrong (and trust me this person is) I don't want to bring bad karma back on to myself.

    I want to expend all of my passionate energy building good for myself and others rather than focusing so much on acting against what I see as evil.

    On the other hand, I still must act; I just must act with a more rational form of retribution, like my example. I want to be the Humane Society instead of PETA, I think.

    I think. A part of me still wants to throw red paint on people, or douse them in gasoline, light them on fire, and push them down the stairs.


    2) Unintended consequences. By attempting to create balance, you may in fact only be further worsening it or causing further problems in the future (in other words you could be escalating the issue, not resolving it).

    I view vengeance as neither positive or negative, bt simply a choice someone makes that carries with it it's own consequences. Whether those consequences are positive or negative I think is relative to the individual you ask (for example: killing a criminal might make the streets a little safer but it would deprive a spouse or family member of a loved one).

    My two cents
    I think the death penalty in extreme cases is the most rational course of action.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Vengeance in and of itself is not something I would consider good. Whatever positive consequences you think will come from it, you should focus on making a case for those, and not vengeance itself.

    From a utilitarian perspective, vengeance is mistaken. It's essentially the idea that if some causes suffering, it should be responded to by creating more suffering. That's fundamentally not compatible with utilitarianism unless you can demonstrate there is a longer term consequence that makes up for the suffering you've caused in seeking revenge. The only way I could think of that happening is through deterrence. Maybe revenge will deter people from doing more harm. I happen to find that very impractical. I suppose when human beings lived in small hunter-gatherer groups, revenge would have been more pragmatic because it was easy to keep track of who did what and there was really no where to run or hide. Society today is just too complex for individual acts of vengeance to effectively deter, so it becomes suffering on top of suffering with no practical payoff.

    Also, the statement "I am karma" sounds pretty self-aggrandizing, if I understand that correctly.
    I was 20, and it was a half-joke.

    My ENFP friend thought it was hilarious.

    Oh, also about small hunter-gatherer groups: I think the South may still operate under this kind of thinking, being what is known as an Honor Culture.

    I think I internalized a lot of aspects of my Honor Culture, even if I have the intelligence or maturity as an adult to question them.

    Maybe I am an Fe type!

  8. #8
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    I was 20, and it was a half-joke.

    My ENFP friend thought it was hilarious.

    Oh, also about small hunter-gatherer groups: I think the South may still operate under this kind of thinking, being what is known as an Honor Culture.

    I think I internalized a lot of aspects of my Honor Culture, even if I have the intelligence or maturity as an adult to question them.

    Maybe I am an Fe type!
    They may continue to use that kind of thinking, but they don't and can't have a society where it is constructive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    They may continue to use that kind of thinking, but they don't and can't have a society where it is constructive.
    O rly? Then please explain to me why the South has maintained a very cohesive culture in the face of massive changes in other parts of the country. Or why Japan is one of the most ancient and revered cultures (another Honor Culture, want to discuss why we felt like we had to drop an H-bomb on them? Their sense of death before dishonor).

    I think some anarcho-capitalist libertarians, who are decidedly not Southern, espouse forms of personal vengeance or self-protection over preemptive governmental institutional structures of punishment or social control.

    Honor cultures are that in which small groups of people maintain personal integrity as a word of bond (like in the South the idea that your word is as good as your name, this can be settled on a handshake, etc....and surprisingly, you really can trust a lot of old-fashioned people in the South because of this) and the flip-side of that being you take justice into your own hands.

    In my teens and part of my twenties I had a deep and prevailing conviction that this was morally correct behavior, and you know what? JTG1984 believes in vengeance, and places honor much higher than I would, and his mother's family is Japanese.

    I asked Simulated World once if certain kinds of Fe could look like Fi. Like maybe Honor Culture Fe looks like Fi because of the emphasis on personal integrity and personally enacted vengeance.

    I think he disagreed, though, because he's also from the South; but I've never discussed specifically the Honor Culture phenomenon with him.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    In some cases, especially when I was younger, there were particular events that appear so morally clear cut that the person has acted out of sadistic selfishness or something close to it, that vengeance seems completely appropriate.

    I think "romantic vengeance" is common, too, in people who feel they have been wronged by the opposite sex; however, this is completely irrational and it's something I have real hopes of completely growing out of. It just perpetuates a cycle of abuse that gets carried through generations, and I don't necessarily mean physical abuse, but emotional or psychological abuse.

    I do think that a lot of people react out of hurt, in those cases.

    But the specific issue I'm talking about I think is observing, from the outside, that someone has perpetuated an act that is clearly wrong and giving them a taste of their own medicine.

    You'll be happy to know, though, that an ESFJ friend of mine recently suggested we take vengeance upon someone, and I actually demurred, though I acknowledged he deserved it, my line of thinking now is that ..basically what you said...there are only rare instances where you should presume yourself to be the arbiter of justice, and even if you are convinced that the other person is CLEARLY wrong (and trust me this person is) I don't want to bring bad karma back on to myself.

    I want to expend all of my passionate energy building good for myself and others rather than focusing so much on acting against what I see as evil.
    I don't think of it as karma so much as it has been my observation that shitheads typically do get what's coming to them, in the end, even if a lengthy bit of time has to pass before whatever "it" is comes to pass.

    These discussions always interest me because eventually it usually boils down too I respect and follow the law so long as it's convenient for me, but when it's not, then I'm somehow justified in breaking the law or usurping it

    It makes me wonder just how much people believe our justice system or in the concept of justice. As far as I'm concerning, that line of thinking is a slippery slope.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    On the other hand, I still must act; I just must act with a more rational form of retribution, like my example. I want to be the Humane Society instead of PETA, I think.

    I think. A part of me still wants to throw red paint on people, or douse them in gasoline, light them on fire, and push them down the stairs.
    You and me both, though substitute throwing them down the stairs with locking them inside a portable toilet and rolling it down a hill so when they get to the bottom they can mingle with the rest of the crap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    I think the death penalty in extreme cases is the most rational course of action.
    I would concur. Certainly there are times when oppressive people need to be stood up too or taken down as I feel it would be morally reprehensible to do nothing than watch a crime take place. The point I was trying to make though is violence tends to beget violence and most of the time people who act out on their feelings of retribution without regards to the law tend to make the situation only worse. "Rational" vengeance to me would be the retribution carried out with the fullest understanding and acceptance of the proceeding consequences of whatever action it is you choose to take.
    "The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."
    ― Woodrow Wilson

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