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Thread: Th whole point of afflictive emotion

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    Question Th whole point of afflictive emotion

    There are a few different kinds of Buddhism. Mostly I go to Buddhist meditation centres in the Theravada tradition (from Burma), but there's a Tibetan temple not far from where I live so I've been going there for weekends.

    I'm not really on board with the Tibetan idea of going out looking for a young child to name him "The Dalai Lama" and then taking him away from his family and friends and.... either nurturing or grooming him..... to grow into a wise old man. But irrespective of how the current dalai lama came to be in the position he's in, I'm taking a lot from his books. I think he has over a hundred books now, and I've read two of them. I ordered a third off eBay and it arrived this week.

    In his books he talks about afflictive emotion, specifically the emotion that doesn't do us any good, such as anger, hatred, resentment, jealousy, worry, and so on. Now personally my own theory on afflictive emotion is that we have it to keep us safe living in a community. For the most part humans live in groups and so we've evolved to be honest and trustworthy. So feeling emotions like shame and guilt can be conducive to keeping us in good stead with the community to maintain our trustworthiness. Even anger and jealousy can be useful to protect our personal boundaries.

    The purpose of physical pain is to get us to stop what we're doing before we injure ourselves. Physical pain would be totally pointless if it didn't serve this purpose. That's why I think trees don't feel pain -- they can't do anything about someone chopping them with an axe so why bother feeling pain. And I think maybe emotional suffering is similar in its goals.

    I heard a guy say recently that there are two kinds of pain: the pain that hurts, and the pain that alters. That is to say, you can be hurt by an experience and just fall down into all the pain and hurt and suffering of it -- or alternatively you can change.

    It's funny, if you were to ask me what's the worst emotion I've ever felt in my life, that's an easy one -- it was my first Thai boxing fight and I was in the corner after the 2nd round waiting for the bell to go back out for the 3rd. The feeling that I just couldn't go on was the worst emotion I've ever felt. But that doesn't really make sense if you put in perspective with other things that have happened in my life, such as the girlfriends I've broken up with, or the friends I've lost to death. Maybe these other things didn't hurt as much because they changed me instead.

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    I think you touched on the fact that a lot of the “negative” emotions you described kept us alive. Being scared, worried about what might happen, etc. made someone in our blood lines avoid that bear or saber tooth tiger. But those emotions only get in the way. All we can really control is right now, so no point getting caught up in what happened or might happen.

    Personally, the worst pain I’ve felt was emotional, not physical. I had some pretty bad physical pains, but I knew there was a cause and a treatment and it would subside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Test Monsterone View Post
    made someone in our blood lines avoid that bear or saber tooth tiger
    I don't think it necessarily has to always go back to running away from big animals. When humans became intelligent and started forming teams, and started depending on each other's honesty and trustworthiness, the idea of 'danger' became just as much about being excluded from the community. At some point in our evolution we developed martyrdom, whereby our honour and dignity became more important than our life. So losing your dignity is more 'dangerous' than getting killed, so to speak.
    Exclusion is one of the main forms of bullying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidic Kimbo View Post
    I don't think it necessarily has to always go back to running away from big animals. When humans became intelligent and started forming teams, and started depending on each other's honesty and trustworthiness, the idea of 'danger' became just as much about being excluded from the community. At some point in our evolution we developed martyrdom, whereby our honour and dignity became more important than our life. So losing your dignity is more 'dangerous' than getting killed, so to speak.
    Exclusion is one of the main forms of bullying.

    In bold above. It's also an effective defense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidic Kimbo View Post
    I don't think it necessarily has to always go back to running away from big animals. When humans became intelligent and started forming teams, and started depending on each other's honesty and trustworthiness, the idea of 'danger' became just as much about being excluded from the community. At some point in our evolution we developed martyrdom, whereby our honour and dignity became more important than our life. So losing your dignity is more 'dangerous' than getting killed, so to speak.
    Exclusion is one of the main forms of bullying.
    Everything goes back to survival. Being excluded is directly related to survival. Survival and reproduction drive everything. We learned to be part of the community and avoid being excluded because of survival. Those who didn’t fit into a community had lower chances of survival or reproduction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidic Kimbo View Post

    The purpose of physical pain is to get us to stop what we're doing before we injure ourselves. Physical pain would be totally pointless if it didn't serve this purpose. That's why I think trees don't feel pain -- they can't do anything about someone chopping them with an axe so why bother feeling pain. And I think maybe emotional suffering is similar in its goals.

    I heard a guy say recently that there are two kinds of pain: the pain that hurts, and the pain that alters. That is to say, you can be hurt by an experience and just fall down into all the pain and hurt and suffering of it -- or alternatively you can change.
    You spoke with Robert McCall?
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostgone View Post
    In bold above. It's also an effective defense.
    When you say it's an effective defense, do you mean that a group of nice people can keep themselves safe and happy by excluding a problematic person from the group, for example excluding a dishonest person who tells lies to get more money, or excluding a malicious bully who purposely says hurtful things to people, or excluding a wacko who loves guns and fantasizes about killing people?

    Are we taking this idea all the way to imprisonment? Does a big society exclude some people by convicting them of a crime and remanding them in a penitentiary?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidic Kimbo View Post
    When you say it's an effective defense, do you mean that a group of nice people can keep themselves safe and happy by excluding a problematic person from the group, for example excluding a dishonest person who tells lies to get more money, or excluding a malicious bully who purposely says hurtful things to people, or excluding a wacko who loves guns and fantasizes about killing people?

    Are we taking this idea all the way to imprisonment? Does a big society exclude some people by convicting them of a crime and remanding them in a penitentiary?
    Yes...you can even apply it in geopolitics.
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