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Re: [stoics] Bullying and stoicism

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  • Robin Turner
    ... There s a hadith where Mohammed says that he who resists oppression helps both himself and his oppressor. When someone asked how it helped the oppressor,
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 1, 2008
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      On 30/01/2008, jan.garrett <jan.garrett@...> wrote:
      It may also be "kinder" to a bully to demonstrate that he is likely to encounter resistance if he continues in his ways and that there are likely to be consequences sooner or later that he may wish to avoid.

      There's a hadith where Mohammed says that he who resists oppression helps both himself and his oppressor. When someone asked how it helped the oppressor, Mohammed replied: "By preventing him from being an oppressor."

      Robin

      --
      "First things first, but not necessarily in that order" - Dr. Who

      Robin Turner
      IDMYO
      Bilkent √úniversitesi
      Ankara, Turkey

      http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~robin
      http://solri.livejournal.com
    • Leo Iermano
      This flies in the face of Stoicism. I would of thought that ignoring the bully and then alerting teachers on yard duty would be a better option. Robin Turner
      Message 2 of 25 , Feb 1, 2008
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        This flies in the face of Stoicism. I would of thought that ignoring the bully and then alerting teachers on yard duty would be a better option.



        Robin Turner <robin@...> wrote:
        On 30/01/2008, jan.garrett <jan.garrett@ insightbb. com> wrote:
        It may also be "kinder" to a bully to demonstrate that he is likely to encounter resistance if he continues in his ways and that there are likely to be consequences sooner or later that he may wish to avoid.

        There's a hadith where Mohammed says that he who resists oppression helps both himself and his oppressor. When someone asked how it helped the oppressor, Mohammed replied: "By preventing him from being an oppressor."

        Robin

        --
        "First things first, but not necessarily in that order" - Dr. Who

        Robin Turner
        IDMYO
        Bilkent √úniversitesi
        Ankara, Turkey

        http://www.bilkent. edu.tr/~robin
        http://solri. livejournal. com


        Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.

      • Grant Sterling
        ... It depends on the situation. The Stoic view is that bullying hurts the bully more than the victim, and so in one sense the appropriate response is pity.
        Message 3 of 25 , Feb 1, 2008
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          At 02:52 PM 2/1/2008, Leo Iermano wrote:
          >This flies in the face of Stoicism. I would of thought that ignoring
          >the bully and then alerting teachers on yard duty would be a better option.

          It depends on the situation.
          The Stoic view is that bullying hurts the bully more than the
          victim, and so in one sense the appropriate response is pity.
          OTOH, actions that encourage the bully to keep bullying
          _will_ hurt the bully [indeed, they are likely to make his vice more
          entrenched], as well as having dispreferred consequences for the victim.
          The problem is that some people on this list [including myself]
          have tried the 'ignore him and tell the teacher' strategy, and found that
          it seldom succeeds. I myself was bullied for years, despite my best efforts
          to do what my parents and teachers told me to do--get away and tell
          the teacher. And this was years ago--in the US, at least, the current
          attitude is "I [the teacher/supervisor/etc.] can't do anything about it unless
          I witness the bully in the actual act of bullying, and even then I can't do
          much because we might get sued." [If the bullying is sexual harassment,
          you've got a better shot, because then the teacher may sometimes be more
          afraid of a lawsuit for allowing sexual harassment. Maybe.]
          So my advice would be: _try_ the strategy of ignoring the bully,
          avoiding situations where he is likely to be out of sight of an authority
          figure, telling the authorities what he's doing, etc. If this works
          [if they have
          some punishment the bully actually fears, and they're not too spineless
          to employ it], then the problem is solved. If this _doesn't_ work, and the
          bully is not physically much larger and stronger than the victim...fight back.
          Many bullies will back down permanently if their victim doesn't act like a
          victim. [That's what happened in my case--until I punched him back, he
          abused me constantly.] Sometimes the victim will get in trouble for fighting
          [ironically, the victim sometimes gets a tougher punishment if he's caught
          fighting back than the bully gets if he's caught bullying, because 'fighting'
          is a worse crime in the eyes of administrators than abuse], but it often is
          (unfortunately) the only successful long-term strategy.
          As I said, if avoidance and reporting the offense works, it's clearly
          the preferred solution. If not.... In any case, I agree that you should try
          to make it clear that the bully's actions result from his own moral weakness
          and lack of confidence, and that in the long run the bully suffers. I agree
          that this is a _very_ hard lesson for kids to absorb and accept.

          Regards,
          Grant
        • Leo Iermano
          Grant You make some very good points. I just don t like instilling into kids the notion that you go to fight your way out of everything. Maybe to ignore verbal
          Message 4 of 25 , Feb 1, 2008
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            Grant

            You make some very good points. I just don't like instilling into kids the notion that you go to fight your way out of everything. Maybe to ignore verbal abuse but to fight like hell if they touch you.

            In Australian schoolyards it has been a big issue and my sister-in law who is a teacher explained that a constant vigilance in the schoolyard and an ongoing awareness campaign has drastically reduced incidences.

            I as a Stoic do not believe in inaction, but in trying to the tackle the situation without getting angry...This is my strategy for many issues..

            Cheers
            Leo


            Grant Sterling <gcsterling@...> wrote:
            At 02:52 PM 2/1/2008, Leo Iermano wrote:
            >This flies in the face of Stoicism. I would of thought that ignoring
            >the bully and then alerting teachers on yard duty would be a better option.

            It depends on the situation.
            The Stoic view is that bullying hurts the bully more than the
            victim, and so in one sense the appropriate response is pity.
            OTOH, actions that encourage the bully to keep bullying
            _will_ hurt the bully [indeed, they are likely to make his vice more
            entrenched], as well as having dispreferred consequences for the victim.
            The problem is that some people on this list [including myself]
            have tried the 'ignore him and tell the teacher' strategy, and found that
            it seldom succeeds. I myself was bullied for years, despite my best efforts
            to do what my parents and teachers told me to do--get away and tell
            the teacher. And this was years ago--in the US, at least, the current
            attitude is "I [the teacher/supervisor/ etc.] can't do anything about it unless
            I witness the bully in the actual act of bullying, and even then I can't do
            much because we might get sued." [If the bullying is sexual harassment,
            you've got a better shot, because then the teacher may sometimes be more
            afraid of a lawsuit for allowing sexual harassment. Maybe.]
            So my advice would be: _try_ the strategy of ignoring the bully,
            avoiding situations where he is likely to be out of sight of an authority
            figure, telling the authorities what he's doing, etc. If this works
            [if they have
            some punishment the bully actually fears, and they're not too spineless
            to employ it], then the problem is solved. If this _doesn't_ work, and the
            bully is not physically much larger and stronger than the victim...fight back.
            Many bullies will back down permanently if their victim doesn't act like a
            victim. [That's what happened in my case--until I punched him back, he
            abused me constantly.] Sometimes the victim will get in trouble for fighting
            [ironically, the victim sometimes gets a tougher punishment if he's caught
            fighting back than the bully gets if he's caught bullying, because 'fighting'
            is a worse crime in the eyes of administrators than abuse], but it often is
            (unfortunately) the only successful long-term strategy.
            As I said, if avoidance and reporting the offense works, it's clearly
            the preferred solution. If not.... In any case, I agree that you should try
            to make it clear that the bully's actions result from his own moral weakness
            and lack of confidence, and that in the long run the bully suffers. I agree
            that this is a _very_ hard lesson for kids to absorb and accept.

            Regards,
            Grant



            Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.

          • Yvonne Rathbone
            I ve worked teaching self-defense to women and teens. The women often have great difficulty distinguishing between fighting and self-defense, but the teens
            Message 5 of 25 , Feb 1, 2008
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              I've worked teaching self-defense to women and teens. The women often
              have great difficulty distinguishing between fighting and self-defense,
              but the teens get it. One said, "Fighting is when you want to do it;
              self-defense is when you have to."

              Person A is going about his business. In doing so, he takes reasonable
              precautions to make sure he doesn't hurt anyone. Doesn't drive drunk,
              etc. His actions may hurt someone anyway, but it will be an accident or
              at most the result of negligence. If this person is allowed to continue
              on his way, the chances of him bullying, raping, mugging or killing
              someone is pretty much nil.

              Person B sets out to hurt someone. He approaches someone with the
              intent to bully, mug, rape, rob or kill. If he is allowed to continue
              on his way, there is a high chance that someone will be victimized.

              If you fight, you are the one creating violence. If you act in
              self-defense, you are the one stopping violence. I tell every one of my
              students, it doesn't matter if the person coming to your rescue is
              yourself. You still prevented a crime.

              -Yvonne
            • cherokee_purple
              This little sub-thread has gotten very interesting...I ve read people s responses, and (from both reflection and personal experience) tend to side with the
              Message 6 of 25 , Feb 1, 2008
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                This little sub-thread has gotten very interesting...I've read
                people's responses, and (from both reflection and personal experience)
                tend to side with the people advocating calculated resistance. That
                is, as far as I can tell, everyone, in one way or another. (Well,
                every post on the thread, more or less, with the exception of Robin's
                initial smart crack and the incredibly amusing website link posting it
                prompted.)
                I don't like the idea of jumping to violence myself, except as a
                last resort, but resistance isn't necessarily violent. Violence may,
                in some situations (like when there is an actual physical attack that
                needs counteracting) be necessary, but it also involves a lot of risk,
                both to your record and your character (if you go about it wrong, you
                risk sinking to the bullies' level.) Also, there are many bullying
                situations in which it's unlikely to work. If it's female school
                bullies and not male ones you're dealing with, I think fighting to
                show that you are not a victim would probably be very counterproductive.
                Just blowing people off is also a way of resisting bullies, and I
                think it's the most effective one, if you can actually pull it off.
                It was the tactic that worked the best in my situation. (Not only was
                it mostly non-violent girl bullying I had to deal with, but I was also
                too Christian at the time to seriously consider violence except in
                direct physical self-defense.) I found other people to interact with
                (like the teachers,the special ed class, the poor kids, and the adults
                at my church-which was right across the street from the hellhole of a
                middle school I went to), and tried to heed Mama's advice about the
                offending parties' being "not even worth the effort to spit on." It
                was difficult to learn to do, of course, especially when I was 12, and
                my mother didn't exactly explain it very well the first couple of
                times, but just blowing the offending parties off completely was
                eventually a wonderful way to deal with the problem. (Of course, the
                execution was not perfect, because my temper would sometimes get the
                better of me... but when it worked it was great.)

                Erika
              • Robin Turner
                ... That seems like a reasonable approach. When I mentioned extreme violence , I was only talk about physical bullying - when I was a kid, we didn t even
                Message 7 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
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                  On 02/02/2008, Leo Iermano <leoiermano@...> wrote:
                  Grant

                  You make some very good points. I just don't like instilling into kids the notion that you go to fight your way out of everything. Maybe to ignore verbal abuse but to fight like hell if they touch you.

                  That seems like a reasonable approach. When I mentioned "extreme violence", I was only talk about physical bullying - when I was a kid, we didn't even count the verbal kind as bullying; it was just regarded as normal social interaction. I can think of very few occasions where I would escalate a verbal conflict into a physical one.

                  Robin

                  --
                  "First things first, but not necessarily in that order" - Dr. Who

                  Robin Turner
                  IDMYO
                  Bilkent √úniversitesi
                  Ankara, Turkey

                  http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~robin
                  http://solri.livejournal.com
                • Leo Iermano
                  Thanks for all your replies on this issue. As you have gathered in my past posts I try to bring Stoicism to a level that adapts to the many issues that are
                  Message 8 of 25 , Feb 3, 2008
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                    Thanks for all your replies on this issue. As you have gathered in my past posts I try to bring Stoicism to a level that adapts to the many issues that are faced in today's world. And guess what it has provided me with a tremendous calm. I don't react immediately to an insult or jump into a heated conversation, believe me I am the classical extrovert under the Briggs/Myer Model and usually the center of attention.

                    Anyway back to bullying....

                    No I was never a bully, I usually stood up for the underdog.

                    My approach now is borrowed from 2 sources:

                    1) My uncle who is a Karate teacher ( come Buddhist and five foot nothing)  who has never had a street fight in his life and instills in his students that fighting is your last resort. I am an advocate that children are taught such a discipline because it gives them self-confidence. An earlier post used the same technique.

                    2) Stoicism, however the kids may be a little immature to learn some of the concepts that's why I prefer number 1 initially. We can then work on number 2 when they are little older.

                    Ciao
                    Leo





                    Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.
                  • Grant Sterling
                    ... I agree--I certainly didn t intend to send that message. By view is that violence should be, if not the last resort, at least by no means the first. If
                    Message 9 of 25 , Feb 4, 2008
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                      At 05:04 PM 2/1/2008, Leo Iermano wrote:
                      >Grant
                      >
                      >You make some very good points. I just don't like instilling into
                      >kids the notion that you go to fight your way out of everything.
                      >Maybe to ignore verbal abuse but to fight

                      I agree--I certainly didn't intend to send that message. By view is
                      that violence should be, if not the last resort, at least by no means
                      the first.
                      If you can get the problem resolved by reporting it to the teacher/supervisor/
                      whomever, or by talking your way through, that's great. I was also assuming
                      the abuse was physical. Verbal abuse can be very hurtful [children
                      are not Sages,
                      and even for the Sage some sort of verbal abuse can make it more difficult for
                      someone to perform their proper role duties], and there's probably
                      some level at
                      which you might even resort to violence in response to it, but such cases are
                      rare. In most cases, a show of contempt will suffice.

                      >like hell if they touch you.
                      >
                      >In Australian schoolyards it has been a big issue and my sister-in
                      >law who is a teacher explained that a constant vigilance in the
                      >schoolyard and an ongoing awareness campaign has drastically reduced
                      >incidences.

                      That's great. Obviously, if the authorities in the school are
                      on the side of the bullied, there's a good chance the problem can be
                      taken care of without violence.

                      >I as a Stoic do not believe in inaction, but in trying to the tackle
                      >the situation without getting angry...This is my strategy for many issues..
                      >
                      >Cheers
                      >Leo

                      Regards,
                      Grant
                    • cherokee_purple
                      ... I definitely agree... it makes a very big difference if the supervising adults both pay enough attention to notice what s going on and try to help out kids
                      Message 10 of 25 , Feb 4, 2008
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                        > That's great. Obviously, if the authorities in the school are
                        > on the side of the bullied, there's a good chance the problem can be
                        > taken care of without violence.


                        I definitely agree... it makes a very big difference if the
                        supervising adults both pay enough attention to notice what's going on
                        and try to help out kids who are being bullied. (I normally think of
                        things like teasing, false rumor spreading, and the strong
                        encouragement of systematic shunning when people talk about bullying,
                        but I guess that that is because those are the things socially
                        tyrannical girls do to flaunt their power.) My best friend also used
                        to have problems with "the popular girls" (our mutual term of disdain
                        for said tyrants), but was a lot more miserable overall because I was
                        better at getting the adults on my side. Whether or not they did (I
                        don't know, because I wasn't there) the teachers gave her the
                        impression over time that they sided with "the popular girls" over
                        her, and this doubtlessly contributed to her eventually just blowing
                        off school. (Which was tragic, because she is noticeably
                        intelligent.) If adults don't do anything to help kids who are being
                        picked on, it can contribute to problems for those kids in the future
                        (as well as the the present.)

                        Erika
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