binocular wrote: ↑Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:01 pm
Sam Vara wrote: ↑Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:25 am
binocular wrote: ↑Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:18 am
And that's how you're setting yourself up as the arbiter of reality.
Are you claiming that in cases of sexual abuse, the victim does objectively constitute a threat to the abuser?
I'm claiming that it is at least problematic to set oneself up as the one who decides what someone else may consider a valid threat or not.
The truth of this turns on what you mean by the word "may". If you are speaking in terms of possibility, what a person could conceivably consider as a threat, then there is indeed no means of deciding. Delusional human minds can ("may") see anything as a threat. Deluded Germans can ("may") think that Jews threaten them, child abusers can ("may") see the sexual innocence of a child as something that has to be expunged. A person on a bad LSD trip "may" sit motionless in terror lest that fluffy rabbit toy pounces on them.
But the word "may" also means what one is permitted to do, or what they are justified in doing. Do you think that any of the above are justified, such that they "may" think it? In each case, their fears of being threatened are baseless. In terms of the Buddha's teachings, such people are not seeing things as they really are. Although I'm not happy with the terminology of "setting oneself up as the one who decides...", I'm quite happy to say that such people are deluded, in that the threat they think they perceive is no threat. This is in line with the Buddha's teaching: one who refrains from committing an evil act (killing the Jew, approaching the child, decapitating their girlfriend's fluffy rabbit toy) gains benefit, not harm.
In the early 1900's, were the Jews an objective threat to the Nazis? The Nazis felt threatened by them. Who are you to decide whether they were justified to feel threatened by them or not?
A particular Nazi might well have been objectively threatened by a particular Jew. Who knows? But presumably you are invoking Godwin here because of the nature and scale of the response Do you think it justified? That is, were they "justified" to the extent that they had to construct the apparatus of planned genocide?
Specifically in cases of sexual abuse: The (prospective) sexual abuser might very well feel threatened by the (prospective) victim. Perhaps the (prospective) sexual abuser feels that they can't keep their peace of mind in the presence of a woman dressed in a particular way (and that therefore, they have to act in a particular way in order to get their peace of mind back, namely, by somehow overpowering the woman). I don't know how the mind of a (prospective) sexual abuser works, so I can't say anything more.
Indeed. They might feel threatened by a victim. The important point, though, is that they are not threatened. Were they to master their urges and refrain from abuse, only good would happen to them. So whatever they are threatened by is not a real threat.
I said in my first post in this thread that the kind of reasoning sketched out in the OP seems to be typical for drug addicts. And later, in general, that feeling threatend by one thing or another is typical for unenlightened beings (which is a given for them, given that they don't know Nibbana, the Supreme Safety). If threats would exist objectively, arahants would feel threatened, too, but they don't, they can't, because they have reached Supreme Safety.
Some drug addicts rationalise their drug use in this way, but we can also see it in terms of lust. The effects of drugs are pleasant for the user. See my earlier comments to you and Bundokji as to whether all hatred can be collapsed into greed, or all greed can be collapsed into hatred. It's an interminable path of sophomoric semantics, and not what the Buddha taught in AN 3.55 and the like. Desiring one thing or another is also typical for unenlightened beings:
‘Life in any world is incomplete, insatiate, the slave of craving’: this is the fourth summary of the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One who knows and sees…
It seems to be as fundamental to the Buddha as the other teachings that the world is swept away, has no protector, etc.
The OP was looking for a "more sympathetic way to address evil" and an effort "to understand what is it that people who perform evil acts are trying to do". The theory of performing evil acts out of feeling threatened surely is such a "more sympathetic way to address evil".
Not really. One could do as the Buddha did and acknowledge they had misplaced lusts.
Due to ignorance/delusion, the person doesn't know Supreme Safety, so they feel threatened by various things; in order to gain some sense of safety, they act in a way that some Buddhists describe as "evil", by eliminating whatever they see as a threat (such as by killing people and animals, or numbing feelings, thoughts with drugs).
Or due to ignorance/delusion, the person doesn't know nibbāna as presently visible, so they feel the allure of certain things; in order to gain some sense of satiation, they act in a way that some Buddhists describe as "evil", by grasping whatever they see as alluring..."
Do you see how this works yet?
But all in all, I think all this is really about which of the brahmaviharas (if any at all, or their near and far enemies) one is able or willing to practice toward perpetrators of evil actions.
It might be easier to have goodwill or compassion for the Nazis, drug addicts, or sexual abusers if one assumes that they are acting in some kind of self-defense, due to feeling threatened. Assuming that they're acting out of greed or hatred, one might at best have only equanimity for them.
It might be easier, but it might be easier to have that goodwill or compassion if one assumes that they are tormented by lust. Tanha
Equanimity at best? I thought that genuine equanimity is harder to sustain than the other three...