ON PROVOCATION & PRIDE

​Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Rev. John Watson

Including you.

Glennon

Every human experiences has a similar set of emotions to act upon that respond to a wide range of human encounters. From the ups and downs, we react as to interact with the world and people in it.

Despite being able to reason, our emotions are these essential yet, primitively rooted mechanisms driving us to take immediate action based on instant defensive judgments. 

While yes, our emotions contain precise remarkable wisdom and insight that has guided our ancestors’ survival in years past, emotions often get it wrong, especially in our modern world. Man isn’t in one way built for the urban jungle.

Anger results in a bigger sense from humiliation, an unjust challenge to stature, in this case any aspect of one’s being.

Some people are easily provoked to anger; they just seem to be angry all the time, at everyone and everything. This may be caused by their fragile ego, specific hostile personality traits, or because they hold too unreasonable rules for making decisions or how they see the world.

Anger is the emotion that seeks to preserve and defend our sense of self or as a response to a provocation or a really hurt pride. Anger is an urgent plea for Justice, a strong and often misguided method of both defence and offense toward life.

Pride is a strong and powerful emotion that is rooted in self-value as well, however vague the individual knows oneself. Provocation is an attack on pride and the awareness energizes us to take swift decisive, in most cases uncalculated action leading to violent action-verbal or otherwise to preserve and restore justice, repair our loss or hurt frame of mind and achieve our goal despite, whether said attack on our pride was fallacious or not.

In his book, “Why Insults HurtAnd Why They Shouldnt”, William B. Irvine explores the idea of provocation and pride through insults which is truly meticulous and timely to anyone who really wants to get some footing.

He states “What is the best way for us, as individuals, to deal with insults? We should, to begin with, develop a strategy for preventing others from insulting us.”

He jokes by saying One way is by avoiding other people,” A loner’s wet dream, I guess? But obviously this isn’t pragmatic and so unrealistic, for we see and need people. And even if this is possible, what happens when people decide to come to you?

This might not seem like a sensible thing to do if our goal is to minimize the harm the insulter does us, but under some circumstances, capitulation can be a singularly effective weapon. “It will make the insulter look cruel for having said whatever he said.

Staying true to the child in us, a popular way to rejecting an insult is to retaliate with a counter insult. He further says “This response seems utterly appropriate. By insulting the person who insulted us, we are following the Old Testament injunction to take an eye for an eye: we are attempting to make the insulter feel the pain he made us feel.”

Furthermore, if our counter insult causes the insulter to experience enough pain, I mean, we say, they started it. But well, Ghandi kind of had it right, despite the need to gratify someone with insults all we have is a blind world.

  

Ones thinking despite this is that the insulter will think twice about insulting us again. Thus, by responding vigorously to an insult too.  ”Who are they?” Who are they to say that about me?” So says the archaic instincts driving us within. This means most people would maintain, prevent future insults. Responding to an insult with a counter insult is also likely to be emotionally satisfying.”

But, is this the best way to go about it? Let’s explore the available counter responses by Irvine to which we get to use if provoked.

(1)The dismissive response – deal with an insult by shrugging it off. We thereby demonstrate to the insulter that his insult did not hurt us. In another kind of dismissive response, we dismiss not just the insult but the insulter as well. In doing this, we dont attack the insulter personally, the way we would in a retaliatory insult. Instead, we imply that because he is who he is, the things he says to us can have little or no effect on us.”

(2) Retaliatory insults – “Retaliatory insults can be ranked on a cleverness scale. At the bottom of this scale, we find echoed insults: when someone calls you lazy, you respond by saying, No, it is you who are lazy!

 

The proverbial ” i can do anything better than you” .These insults are easy to express and deliver as they can be used in response to any insult someone might direct your way.

“Poet A. E. Housman, for example, is said to have written down in a notebook witty insults that might come in handy in the future. All Occasions, Louis A. Safian explains that he compiles insults so people will have snappy comebacks to use when they have been insulted. This is either an interesting venture or a true narcissism at work or both.

(3) The Smart Aleck – I guess all responses do make you sound like a clever dick or a smarty pants but, this one takes the cake. Another way to respond to an insultuseful to those of us not likely to go down in history for our skilful reparteeis by dismissing it. In doing this, we dont offer a counter insult. 

We dont ignore the insult either. Instead, we make it clear to the insulter that the insult has failed to damage its target. One way to dismiss an insult is by instantly forgiving it.

We should say: I know. Thanks. Which sounds like a good idea but…

(4) The Middle finger response – The peoples favourite, a trigger to the eventual self-imposed shit storm. The most aggressive way to dismiss an insulter can be summed up in the statement, Whatever, Kiss my ass.  

“In saying this, we are implying that we dont really care what the insulter thinks, that his feelings are irrelevant. It was this response that allegedly triggered an outburst of anger in actor Russell Crowe. 

He had been unable to reach his wife on a hotel phone. When he called the hotels concierge to complain,
The concierge responded, Whatever, and on hearing this, Crowe threaten to come down and kick his ass. Subsequently, he did go down, but instead of kicking the concierge, Crowe threw a phone at him. It was an assault that could conceivably have put Crowe behind bars for eight years. Such is the power of a dismissive response. People just dont appreciate being dismissed.

EVER CONSIDER BEING A VERBAL PACIFIST?

A pacifist is a person who refuses to respond to violence with violence. Hit him and he will not hit you back and therefore an insult pacifist is a person who refuses to respond to verbal violence with verbal violence: he will not respond to an insult with a counter insult, which means an insult pacifist will be unwilling to unleash first-strike insults, the way a pacifist in the usual sense of the word will be unwilling to strike a first blow.

We will worry that if we respond to the insult with pacifism, the insulter and those who witness his insult will regard us as a safe target for insults and will therefore pummel us with them in the future. This concern will stand between many people and the practice of insult pacifism. Is this concern justified? Is it true that insult pacifists will find themselves deluged with insults?”

Irvine says “I have, in recent years, paid attention to other peoples use of insult pacifism and have experimented with it myself. I have discovered that pacifism in response to insults isnt nearly as risky as one might think.”

“If a pacifist responds to an insult by declaring himself to be an insult pacifist, she is likely to be astonished. It will probably come as news to her that someone can be a pacifist with respect to insults. As soon as she recovers from her initial astonishment, though, she might put his pacifism to the test by bombarding him with insults to see whether she can provoke him into hurling one back. 

As long as he keeps shrugging his shoulders in responseSorry, but like I said, I dont do insultsshe will ultimately grow weary and try to seek out an easier target for her put-downs. it is important that he remain calm internally in the face of an insult.

“If he can accomplish this, his failure to respond to an insult will not simply be a show put on for the benefit of the world around him; it will instead be a true reflection of how he feels about the insult. This is coped with learning the art of building a frame of mind that prevents insults from upsetting or using any of the above responses within the heat of the moment.

All in all, a pacifist will strive to become a person who, besides seeming to be immune to insults, is in fact immune to them. This vital emotion yet explosive emotion called anger, would serve us better if our snap judgments were more accurate, our sense of justice was more widely shared, and if anger would lead us to justice without starting a fight or a need to insult anyone.

We all have a unique view-point on the world based on our own centre of awareness. Its good to have a decent amount of self-worth, which should as such never be decided or defined by insults. We are responsible for the choices we make and the results, good or bad. We apply knowledge to choose our beliefs and ultimately how and where we place our self-worth as we relate to our pride and the provocation the world dishes out at us.

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