Familiarity breeds Contempt

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby plwk » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:52 pm

As the title suggests...

1. How have you experienced this in cultivation?
2. What do you do to counter it?

:namaste:
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:23 pm

Familiarity doesn't necessarily breed contempt, people just seem to have a predisposition to like others that are similar to themselves.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby catmoon » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:34 pm

Maybe you are referring to the tendency for the novelty of practices to wear off?
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Luke » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:24 pm

"The Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind From Samsara" are the best antidote to any arrogant BS which arises from our minds from time to time, in my opinion.

http://kagyu-asia.com/t_four_thoughts.html

When we remind ourselves of the great oportunity we have as human beings and the impermanence of it, we can let go of all kinds of pointless negativity.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:47 am

Familarity with those who have value based morality does indeed breed contempt.

Familiarity with those who have principle based morality breeds respect in those who aspire to be men, or wimmin, of principle themselves and enmity in those clever enough to know how much principles actualy cost.

Funniest parody ever of how value based people are blind to what principles actualy are; "Those are my principles .. and if you don't like them I have others ..." ~Groucho Marx
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:14 am

Hi Clueless Git,

What exactly is "value" based morality? There are all sorts of values. Maybe you mean self-based values or selfish values? In any case it seems that "principle" based folks may be a bit contemptuous of "value" based folks, and perhaps vice versa?
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:56 am

'Lo Shel :)

The simplest explanation I can give of the difference twix value based and principle based morality would be along the lines of this ...

A principle overides all other considerations. Thus a person who holds truthfulness, f'rinstance, to be a moral principle will be truthfull under all circumstances. The cost of being truthfull under any circumstance will not deter him/her. Such would constitute a principle based moral code.

Truthfullness can also be part of a value based moral code. The difference is that in a value based moral code the value of being truthful will be weighted against a scale of other values. The most common manifestation of that being the 'little white lie' wherein the value of telling the truth is weighted against considerations (not neccesarily selfish ones) of cost and/or harm.

As you rightly said "there are all sorts of values" and that is where the problem lies. Value sets, once the highly subjective and personal weighting of the value of this -v- the value of that begins, produces moral codes that are as numerous and as shifting as the sands.

In any case it seems that "principle" based folks may be a bit contemptuous of "value" based folks, and perhaps vice versa?

Strangely not so, I think ...

Principle based people (Gandhi, Mother Theresa, MLK, the buddha, et-similar, come to mind ...) tend to be extremely compassionate towards value based people often dedicating their whole lives to the betterment of life for them.

Equaly value based people seem to regard such principle based people, pretty much universaly, with the highest possible respect.

Where you do get contempt though is from value based people towards other value based people. That happens not because the core values they espouse are not virtualy identical. More so, that when the chips are down, any one persons weighting of one value against all the other values in any given moral quandry will rarely find a match.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:35 pm

Interesting, CG.

To be honest I don't much care for "principled" people, nor do I care much for unprincipled folks either. If I were in company with these kinds for an extended period I'd most likely experience contemptuous feelings towards them at some point. The OP asks, in part, how we counter these feelings. I don't have a very good track record to date in countering these kinds of feelings so I'm very interested in the inquiry myself.

What I sometimes try to do is put myself in the others shoes and see things from their perspective. This seems to have limited success. I think that may be because it is difficult to adopt the values of an other.

Because the core problem seems to center around the perception of difference, a good approach might be to look for similarities and reduce polarities in our perception of others. I understand Buddhist practice is often helpful in this regard. :smile:

Clueless Git wrote:Truthfullness can also be part of a value based moral code. The difference is that in a value based moral code the value of being truthful will be weighted against a scale of other values. The most common manifestation of that being the 'little white lie' wherein the value of telling the truth is weighted against considerations (not neccesarily selfish ones) of cost and/or harm.

This is why I don't care for 'principled' people much. Principled folks claim to uphold their principles 'whether they like it or not' (not in relation to their other values). I find from experience that if people don't really like (value) a principle that much they tend to disregard it when it suits them to do so. After all, why would anyone uphold a principle that they don't really like all that much when they don't have to?
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby catmoon » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:26 pm

shel wrote: After all, why would anyone uphold a principle that they don't really like all that much when they don't have to?



Because they believe the principle is correct.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:39 pm

shel wrote:This is why I don't care for 'principled' people much. Principled folks claim to uphold their principles 'whether they like it or not' (not in relation to their other values). I find from experience that if people don't really like (value) a principle that much they tend to disregard it when it suits them to do so. After all, why would anyone uphold a principle that they don't really like all that much when they don't have to?


Is there any other way for a principle to be communicated other than via a value?

And does anyone not have principles? Even nihilism is a principle.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:32 am

catmoon wrote:
shel wrote:After all, why would anyone uphold a principle that they don't really like all that much when they don't have to?


Because they believe the principle is correct.


Hi Catmoon.

I don't know about you but I often find that people, myself included, do things that they know are not correct, make bad choices. The NEP would be a walk in the park if it were otherwise.

Principles are adopted for a purpose and they're valued because they've proved reliable in the pursuit of that purpose, whatever it might be. They're not valued because they're correct like a mathematical algorithm or something. Of course it could be the case that someone may value a principle like a mathematical algorithm, and they might value the principle more than the purpose it serves. For instance, the purpose of honesty might be to facilitate cooperation within a group for the mutual benefit of everyone in the group. If this is the case then it could be surmised that the underlying value of honesty is the wellbeing of whatever group that one happens to be in. Consider this in relation to what CG wrote earlier about a principle based moral code...
A principle overides all other considerations. Thus a person who holds truthfulness, f'rinstance, to be a moral principle will be truthfull under all circumstances. The cost of being truthfull under any circumstance will not deter him/her. Such would constitute a principle based moral code.

What if a situation developed where you had to tell a lie in order to save the lives of everyone within the group in which you belonged. If you were to be honest and let your group be killed that would seem to mean that you value the principle of honesty more than you value the wellbeing of everyone in your group. Being honest in this case would seem to defy the underlying purpose of honesty, if indeed it is to facilitate cooperation within a groups for the mutual benefit of everyone in the group. There would be no need for honesty if you were all by yourself.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:41 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
shel wrote:This is why I don't care for 'principled' people much. Principled folks claim to uphold their principles 'whether they like it or not' (not in relation to their other values). I find from experience that if people don't really like (value) a principle that much they tend to disregard it when it suits them to do so. After all, why would anyone uphold a principle that they don't really like all that much when they don't have to?

Is there any other way for a principle to be communicated other than via a value?

Hi Karma Dondrup Tashi,

I don't know what you mean by this.

And does anyone not have principles? Even nihilism is a principle.

Nihilism is an interesting principle. I tend to have nihilistic feelings when I witness moral authorities behaving immorally, because it implies there's no basis for moral conduct.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:06 am

shel wrote:What if a situation developed where you had to tell a lie in order to save the lives of everyone within the group in which you belonged.

'Lo Shel :)

My answer to that one would be in the form of a question open to anyone who cares to answer it ...

Had you lived in the buddha's day within a group who's lives depended on the buddha having to lie .. Would you expect to come out of that (admittedly very unlikely circumstance) live or to come out of it dead?

Making that a 'two parter' .... And, whichever way you answered, why?
Last edited by Clueless Git on Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:20 am

shel wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: And does anyone not have principles? Even nihilism is a principle.

Nihilism is an interesting principle ...

Am I wrong in thinking that mucho confusion is arising from the fact that there are different uses of the word 'principle'?

Nihilism, to the very best of my limited understanding, is NOT a moral principle.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:16 am

Clueless Git wrote:
shel wrote:What if a situation developed where you had to tell a lie in order to save the lives of everyone within the group in which you belonged.

'Lo Shel :)

My answer to that one would be in the form of a question open to anyone who cares to answer it ...

Had you lived in the buddha's day within a group who's lives depended on the buddha having to lie .. Would you expect to come out of that (admittedly very unlikely circumstance) live or to come out of it dead?

Making that a 'two parter' .... And, whichever way you answered, why?

I think Mother Theresa would have lied to save lives, like hiding Jewish children from nazi's or something. She seemed to care a great deal about her fellow beings ... more, I would guess, than some abstract principle of honesty.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:17 pm

shel wrote: I think Mother Theresa would have lied to save lives ...

Why do you think that the buddha would have not lied to have saved lives Shel?

... more, I would guess, than some abstract principle of honesty.

I am not sure that in buddhism honesty can be accurately described as an 'abstract' principle.

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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby shel » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:09 pm

Clueless Git wrote:
shel wrote: I think Mother Theresa would have lied to save lives ...

Why do you think that the buddha would have not lied to have saved lives Shel?

Actually I didn't post anything that could be remotely interpreted to mean that I believe the Buddha would not lie to save lives. Your question is misleading and does not represent what I actually wrote. Just to be clear I don't mind this at all, it doesn't bother me in the least, nor do I think it may be very harmful to the forum in general.

I will guess that you have some unknown purpose for misrepresenting what I've shared. A purpose that you value more than accurately or truthfully representing what I've written. I would not guess at this point that your purpose is malicious in nature.

Clueless Git wrote:
shel wrote:... more, I would guess, than some abstract principle of honesty.

I am not sure that in buddhism honesty can be accurately described as an 'abstract' principle.

Referring to honesty as abstract in this case doesn't mean that it's not real or of value. It means that it's not being referred to in a concrete or real life situation, like lying to nazi soldiers in order to mislead them from finding Jewish children.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:43 pm

Clueless Git wrote:
shel wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: And does anyone not have principles? Even nihilism is a principle.

Nihilism is an interesting principle ...

Am I wrong in thinking that mucho confusion is arising from the fact that there are different uses of the word 'principle'?

Nihilism, to the very best of my limited understanding, is NOT a moral principle.


I dunnno. If it has consequences for behavior, I'd say its a principle :quoteunquote: - like eternalism.
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:21 am

shel wrote: Actually I didn't post anything that could be remotely interpreted to mean that I believe the Buddha would not lie to save lives. Your question is misleading and does not represent what I actually wrote.

Well, in fairness Shel, I did interpret your answer as confirmation that you believed the buddha would not lie to save lives.
Just to be clear I don't mind this at all, it doesn't bother me in the least, nor do I think it may be very harmful to the forum in general ... I would not guess at this point that your purpose is malicious in nature.

Thank you for that acknowledgement :)

You guess correctly that my purpose was not malicious.

Can I now safely assume that you do believe the buddha would have lied to save lives?
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Re: Familiarity breeds Contempt

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:29 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Clueless Git wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: And does anyone not have principles? Even nihilism is a principle.

Am I wrong in thinking that mucho confusion is arising from the fact that there are different uses of the word 'principle'?

Nihilism, to the very best of my limited understanding, is NOT a moral principle.

I dunnno. If it has consequences for behavior, I'd say its a principle :quoteunquote: - like eternalism.

You do have a point, Karma, and it's an interesting one.

I can see how a belief in Nihilism/Eternalism/et-similar, would be an influence on which moral principles a person regarded as being most important and which ones less so.
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