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Why insults hurt — and why they shouldn't

When insulted, we should not insult back in return; we should instead carry on as if nothing had happened.

Insult Pacifism: A Reply to Eric O. Scott by William Irvine

It is, I have found, a very effective way to deal with many insults. On failing to provoke a rise in his target, an insulter is likely to feel foolish. What about hate speech, though? Should we remain silent in the face of a racist insult? It depends on the situation. But the one thing we should not do is take the insult personally. We should instead dismiss hate speech, in much the same way as we should dismiss the barking of an angry dog. We should keep in mind that the dog, not being fully rational, cannot help itself.

The Stoics would add that if we let ourselves get angered or upset by a barking dog, we have only ourselves to blame. Eric O. He writes:. Many people today appear to read the Stoics as advising that we should be in some sense indifferent to the suffering of others. I think Scott does a good job of forcefully arguing against this, putting forward the case that Stoicism has always emphasised the virtue of justice, and an ethical concern for the common welfare of mankind. Irvine then replied to this article, as follows:.

But besides being concerned with their own well being, Stoics felt a social duty to make their world a better place. This could be done, they knew, by introducing other people to Stoicism, but it could also involve helping extract non-Stoics from the trouble they got themselves into as a result of their misguided views regarding what in life is valuable.

Marcus Aurelius is a prime example of a Stoic who took his social duty very seriously, but despite being the emperor, he failed to bring about a just society. The Rome that he ruled still allowed or even encouraged slavery and acts of human cruelty.

Buddha taught us to non-recieve insults

As an aside, we do know that Marcus passed several laws that improved the situation for slaves under his rule. In any case, Irvine agrees with Scott here that Stoics do have a social duty to help others, which must be reconciled with their emotional acceptance of external events.

In the Encheiridion , Epictetus is quoted as teaching his students:. When you see a man shedding tears in sorrow for a child abroad or dead, or for loss of property, beware that you are not carried away by the impression that it is outward ills that make him miserable.

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Handbook, Does Epictetus advise his students to ignore the man in distress? What Epictetus actually advised his students was that they should express outward sympathy, without hesitation. And to groan along with him, in certain situations, showing commiseration. His only caveat is that we should not ourselves become upset at the same external things: groan along outwardly, by all means, but not inwardly.

Why does Epictetus say this? We have a duty to care for other rational beings, and to wish them well, Fate permitting.

It means balancing the desire to help others overcome their suffering with acceptance of the fact that they have minds of their own. We can and should try to help others, nevertheless. Seneca says that if you tell someone who is in the grip of anger to calm down, it will just make them worse. That tends to apply to anxiety and other emotions as well.

The moment this transgender debate got heated

Cognitive therapists arrived at the same conclusion, based on their experience. The item A slap in the face : why insults hurt - and why they shouldn't, William B. Irvine represents a specific, individual, material embodiment of a distinct intellectual or artistic creation found in Kelley Library. This item is available to borrow from 1 library branch.

Creator Irvine, William Braxton, Language eng. Extent vi, p. Isbn Label A slap in the face : why insults hurt - and why they shouldn't Title A slap in the face Title remainder why insults hurt - and why they shouldn't Statement of responsibility William B. Label A slap in the face : why insults hurt - and why they shouldn't, William B. Irvine Instantiates A slap in the face : why insults hurt - and why they shouldn't Publication New York, Oxford University Press, Bibliography note Includes bibliographical references Contents Insult arsenal -- Words like daggers -- Subtle digs -- Bludgeoned with praise -- Benign insults -- Insult psychology -- World of hurt -- Who gets hurt?

A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt--And Why They Shouldn't

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A slap in the face : why insults hurt - and why they shouldn't, William B. Irvine

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