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Thread: What do you do with contempt?

  1. #11
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
    In different degrees, and for different reasons.
    As for the "so what," what do you mean? So...some people would slit your throat, and others would not?

    People are not equal.
    So what? Nobody is equal, so why hold all people to the same standard? I mean, yeah, for pragmatic reasons, vie for standards that are going to be best for folks, but ultimately, the disparity between people is sufficient to extinguish the need for contempt. It doesn't help anything. If someone just sucks, they suck. Not going to hold it against them...doesn't really influence my ambition to act righteously.
    Forgiving and intelligent...these don't have to be at odds.

    No. More like failure to meet basic -- hell, any, sometimes -- expectations of a human living among other humans.
    I don't expect people to be different. I'm not a strict materialist, but there's always the case for deterministic reduction to antecedent causes.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  2. #12
    Senior Member Lurker's Avatar
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    I'm talking about people who harm others.


  3. #13
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Don't you think a sort of clinical detachment is sufficient? If they harm others, mitigate as necessary, but why burden myself with awful feelings and attitudes about it? I mean, even if such anger/hatred/contempt/disgust may arise, I think it is best that such feelings be temporary, so that one can act on the situation from as sober a state as possible.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  4. #14
    No Thank You Blorg's Avatar
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    I can only think of a few instances where I've had the feeling. Almost always, my strongest reaction to negative social events is a mixture of fear, sadness, and anger (with anger being the smallest). I never had much anger. I think I turn it into anxiety.

    I had a history professor last year who I held in contempt. On the first day of class, he asked all the Russian students to raise their hands, and then told them that they'd probably fail the class (a prophecy that was true for all but one when he proctored the final exam). He humiliated random students by asking them obscure questions and mocking them when they couldn't answer.

    So I held him in contempt, with no fear or sadness mixed in. When I was called in for my final exam (a speaking exam), I shook his hand without smiling and did away with other formalities. When he started to interrupt me, I said, "I'll finish my presentation first and then answer your questions." He looked slightly abashed (secretly fragile, of course). It was a good feeling.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Lurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore View Post
    Don't you think a sort of clinical detachment is sufficient? If they harm others, mitigate as necessary, but why burden myself with awful feelings and attitudes about it? I mean, even if such anger/hatred/contempt/disgust may arise, I think it is best that such feelings be temporary, so that one can act on the situation from as sober a state as possible.
    This isn't a hypothetical situation for a lot of people. Clinical detachment is a luxury.

    I'm talking about real life, real people, real danger. Battered housewife.

    What then?


  6. #16
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Lurker I think Robcore's point holds in this situation. Detached, you might be able to better assist the battered wife (memorize the number to a shelter; make a plan; stow supplies in a safe space). Whereas, consumed by contempt, you might intervene in such a way that would increase her danger. A battered woman is most at risk when she tries to leave.

    In the meantime, I found this ridiculous website that might actually offer some useful (to me) insights.

    Contempt is often the go-to emotion for a situation that actually calls for Grief. Contempt is one of the emotions that is used in the wrong place at the wrong time or is not used when it should be.
    That rings true to me.
    Too bad, Lady Une. You were far too lenient.
    As a soldier, yes. But as a civilian I lived an austere life.

  7. #17
    No Thank You Blorg's Avatar
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    I've thought about it more and I think it's more of a defensive thing for me. I wouldn't want to feel like such an unhealthy and mean person could affect me, so contempt acted as a shield against him.

    While it's a novelty for me and I enjoyed it in the scenario above, I don't think it's a good thing. It should be possible for me to assert myself or enforce boundaries without having negative feelings about the person with whom I'm setting boundaries.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Lurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    Lurker I think Robcore's point holds in this situation. Detached, you might be able to better assist the battered wife (memorize the number to a shelter; make a plan; stow supplies in a safe space). Whereas, consumed by contempt, you might intervene in such a way that would increase her danger. A battered woman is most at risk when she tries to leave.

    In the meantime, I found this ridiculous website that might actually offer some useful (to me) insights.



    That rings true to me.
    This gives me something to think about.

    We drifted away from contempt, though. Robcore veered away from contempt with:

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore
    We're all incompetent, ignorant, oblivious, ugly people...but so what?


    I answered above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcore
    Contempt just feels like inflated expectations.


    Ummm, no.
    @TeresaJ, be aware that this has turned into a bait and switch.

    When the abused housewife is trapped, the thought of contempt playing any role in the situation is just silly. NA.

    Maybe she needs to learn that some people deserve contempt, not "love and understanding." Contempt protects you from softening and giving some POS the benefit of the doubt.
    Last edited by Lurker; 05-18-2018 at 06:57 AM.


  9. #19
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
    When the abused housewife is trapped, the thought of contempt playing any role in the situation is just silly. NA.

    Maybe she needs to learn that some people deserve contempt, not "love and understanding." Contempt protects you from softening and giving some POS the benefit of the doubt.
    Contempt doesn't just protect you from not softening, it does the exact opposite to you.

    It may be advantageous to be 'hard' at times...but I never think that an extreme position is a good mitigation against another too-far position...so I wouldn't advocate for hardness as something good...just perhaps as something better than softness.
    Surely a completely different approach, where one is steadfast in their resolve, yet not full of contempt...that'd be better.

    Another Mother Teresa adage...that anti-war is not the same as pro-peace. In a similar way, I think that determination to go a different path doesn't require contempt for the bad situation.
    That said, I have no expectation that people are enlightened about it, in any case...they're at where they're at...and if contempt moves them, fine. If they can go a better path without it, even better.

    http://www.taoism.net/chuang/butcher.htm

    My preference is to be as the blade of the master butcher's knife, meeting nothing with resistance...but this is not to say that there's anything wrong with good cooks or average cooks. I can't hold alternate approaches in contempt. lol.
    Not holding anyone in contempt is just what works for me.
    As a kid I was taught to fight back against my bullies, though...so maybe it's just a personal arc...where passive people need to become assertive, and assertive ones need to become peaceful...so that we master the whole spectrum?
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  10. #20
    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    I think the feeling of contempt can be a useful indicator to pinpoint what people value or hold dear at a core, gut, emotional level - by looking at what is being violated by the behavior that is inspiring contempt.

    Taking TeresaJ's example, I'd guess that she values conscientious parenting, that Dot values teaching/learning that helps people grow mentally/philosophically/emotionally, and that Lurker values a sacred intimacy where vulnerability is cared for and protected. (Could be completely wrong on this).

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