• TheMadFool
    12.6k
    Life is an accident. We neeeeed Crumple Zones - weak spots to absorb the damage.

    .
  • Caldwell
    604
    Weakness is not a biological fact, it's merely a human judgement.Echarmion

    Because kudos is mixing an assumed personality with wild instinct of animals. Incorrect application.

    I suppose the question isn't is weakness good, but is weakness also strength in a dialectical kind of way. Like the same way it could be judged as good for a species, it could be viewed as bad. Our sense of it's 'badness' doesn't exist in itself but is sharply contextual.kudos

    Still inappropriate as a means to compare the natural instinct of prey and predators with personalities of people. Categorically incorrect.

    Please try again.
  • kudos
    205
    Still inappropriate as a means to compare the natural instinct of prey and predators with personalities of people. Categorically incorrect.

    Interesting you would say this. In what ways are they different to you? Are you saying there is something clearly different between a human driving force causing violence to another human for gain, and a predatory animal causing violence to another similar mammal in the animal kingdom? Does the human not in some part have their own benefit and survival in view when they do this similar to they way an animal does?
  • Varde
    34
    That would outline weakness is supplemental to the predator, so by emphasizing prey in predator-prey nature, you project an unfair philosophy weighted toward predator livelihood.

    It's not that, it's this...

    Neutrality; or; weaknesses of all calibre are necessary for opposite strengths to exist.
  • James Riley
    2.1k


    I have not read the rest of this thread, so what I am about to say may have already been said. But I don't think weakness is necessary. Contrary, as was once said (I forgot who): "Just as the leg of the deer is chiseled by the tooth of the wolf, so too, the tooth of the wolf is chiseled by the leg of the deer." It is not weakness, but resistance that has the predator and prey building each other into who they are.

    As to weakness, it might be said that in the survival of the fittest, that which is consumed must have also have been fit. Otherwise, that which consumed it would not be the fittest, or as fit as it could have been. So the cow does us no favors by being a fat, stupid, lazy, bawling, fly-covered, shit-smeared, stinking creature that drinks putrid water, breaths the flatulence of the neighbor doing the same, eating rotten corn silage, standing on 3 feet of it's own shit, and then laying down to be killed without a fight. But it is not the cow's fault. We do this to ourselves. And look at us. Are we fit, simply because we survive? I think not. Besides, it's only been 10k years. The jury is still out.

    So weak people are not good in their weakness. If anything, they are good in that they may contain a gene that helps us survive a pandemic, climate change, or some other shift in the existing paradigm. They might also serve as a weight to be lifted upon the shoulders of the strong, making them even stronger. The problem is, too many of the self-identified "strong" refuse the lift. They are greedy, selfish, and searching for reasons to disparage and marginalize the weak. We haven't always been this way. Maybe we are getting soft.
  • I like sushi
    2.7k
    @kudos Sometimes a trait can be perceived as a strength in one particular environment whereas in another it will be perceived as a weakness. A marathon runner needs stamina whilst a sprinter needs raw power.

    So yes, in many circumstances what is ‘weak’ for x can be ‘strong’ for y.
  • kudos
    205
    Suppose that the better question than 'why should we be weak,' is 'why are we weak?' Our weakness is something we have somehow already conceded to. Look at our eyes, our ears, and other organs: aren't they are so well-adapted to their purpose. If we had perfected predation like we had these traits, we'd have destroyed ourselves long ago. Thus we don't have them. Or at least that's the way I see it simply based on intuition. So then, does it still seem fit for us then to accept that strength is a more desirable trait from John Rawls' 'original position,' simply because as subjects we ourselves feel it fit to strive for it?

    There's no doubt it should make sense to want to be stronger. But what about the strongest? Or even stronger than that? As an idea it can easily transform into a fetish, or a masochistic pride that doesn't speak for the full breadth of our real interests.
  • James Riley
    2.1k


    We are physically weaker, but we not only utilize our differently-evolved brain and tongue to make up for our lack of tooth and claw, fur and hair, but we over-compensate due to our feelings of insecurity. This causes us to marginalize and devalue our fellow travelers, beyond what is simply necessary to consume them. We also tell ourselves lies/myths about our superiority/specialness in the scheme of things.

    But, as others have pointed out, weak and strong are not only ranked, but they are relative and situational.
  • kudos
    205
    We miss the mark. Shoot the arrow to the wrong place. We give the prey a chance to escape, because that's how we survive. And why should it not be the case in our civil lives as well?
  • James Riley
    2.1k
    And why should it not be the case in our civil lives as well?kudos

    I haven't even made that jump yet, because I'm still in the natural world, predator/pray assessment from the OP.

    We miss the mark. Shoot the arrow to the wrong place. We give the prey a chance to escape, because that's how we survive.kudos

    I don't know what that means. Is it a metaphor? Guessing, I'd say we don't miss the mark. We domesticate the prey. We don't shoot the arrow any more; we use a retractable bolt to the brain. We do not give them any chance, and that is how we have survived (so far).
  • kudos
    205
    Instead of the arrow, you're just not perfectly charming to the opposite sex. Some other people don't get along with you, and you meet with failure in your life that is the product of a will or an exchange of wills. Not to say you should go around intentionally screwing things up or accepting your failures in themselves; that would be a pretty dismal approach to life.

    I'm sure there are times in your life where you've asked yourself "why didn't I just do x and everything would have gone fine." and so forth. Well if you were perfect everything would go fine, and one only need think shortly over the consequences of that over a broad group to see how that could end in an overall failure. This all reminds me of the Radiohead lyric Just:

    Can't get the stink off
    He's been hanging 'round for days
    Comes like a comet
    Suckered you, but not your friends
    One day he'll get to you
    And teach you how to be a holy cow
    You do it to yourself, you do
    And that's what really hurts
    Is you do it to yourself, just you
    You and no one else
    Don't get my sympathy
    Hanging out the fifteenth floor
    You've changed the locks three times
    He still comes reeling through the door
    One day I'll get to you
    And teach you how to get to purest hell
    You do it to yourself, you do
    And that's what really hurts
  • Outlander
    1.3k
    Not in the context of your example but yes. Otherwise live births would resemble a horror movie. Even more so that is.

    To your point though, it's not so much about weakness or strength in the traditional physical sense. If a volcano erupts and a pack of 1,000 pound grizzly bears share an adjacent forest with a flock of birds that weigh a tenth of a ounce, who would you wager will be the survivor and who bites the dust? See, didn't think of that now did you.
  • Caldwell
    604
    Interesting you would say this. In what ways are they different to you?kudos
    In a way of apples and oranges.
  • James Riley
    2.1k
    Instead of the arrow, you're just not perfectly charming to the opposite sex. Some other people don't get along with you, and you meet with failure in your life that is the product of a will or an exchange of wills. Not to say you should go around intentionally screwing things up or accepting your failures in themselves; that would be a pretty dismal approach to life.

    I'm sure there are times in your life where you've asked yourself "why didn't I just do x and everything would have gone fine." and so forth. Well if you were perfect everything would go fine, and one only need think shortly over the consequences of that over a broad group to see how that could end in an overall failure. This all reminds me of the Radiohead lyric Just:
    kudos

    You lost me. :smirk:
  • baker
    2.9k
    Still inappropriate as a means to compare the natural instinct of prey and predators with personalities of people. Categorically incorrect.Caldwell

    Do explain why.

    If we hold the Theory of Evolution, why taboo Social Darwinism?

    Do-sharks-complain-about-monday.jpg
  • baker
    2.9k
    There's no doubt it should make sense to want to be stronger. But what about the strongest? Or even stronger than that? As an idea it can easily transform into a fetish, or a masochistic pride that doesn't speak for the full breadth of our real interests.kudos

    What are "our real interests"?


    We miss the mark. Shoot the arrow to the wrong place. We give the prey a chance to escape, because that's how we survive. And why should it not be the case in our civil lives as well?kudos

    You mean as in, letting others live?
  • Caldwell
    604
    Do explain why.baker
    There is a fundamental instinct that humans have regardless of their social personalities. "Weakness" is a relative social term, which may or may not play a role in an instinct that would kick in a given situation.

    Please re-read the below quote again, and see how the switch from animal instinct to "weak relative to their potential" happens. Is there not a fallacious argument here?

    In natural predator-prey relationships if a predator is so strong a hunter it proliferates and the prey population declines, their group gets equally wiped out. Would you say in this sense that weakness is necessary for survival, and thereby there is some good in weak people just in lieu of the fact that they are weak relative to their potential?kudos
  • kudos
    205
    "Weakness" is a relative social term, which may or may not play a role in an instinct that would kick in a given situation.

    This is hard to agree with, because we're talking about more than just human social weakness. You're right that weakness is a relative term. In fact, to say something is 'weak' is almost considered the equivalent of saying 'everything but this thing is strong.' I do agree that in humans there is much more abstraction and division of opinion about what constitutes weakness and what strength. But it's the general idea of strength and weakness that we maintain and not the exact sameness of it to any specific materialistic analogy that I'm interested in. Within that idea it is bound to it that not all can have a strength, because if they did it would not be a differentiable quality.

    The worst thing that could happen would be for this to come off as another unbearable 1:1 correspondence between the limitless explanations of evolution theory and the thinking and behaviour of human beings, which in terms of meaning doesn't seem to us to have such deterministic causes. The point of the predator-prey analogy was to appeal to intuition and not only reasoning, where we take there to be animals that are weak for reasons outside themselves and for reasons within themselves. When a rabbit decides, "I'll just come out into the open this one time to have a nibble since its so quiet," where the fox lays waiting, that to me is a weakness of judgement not unlike the human who buys into a pyramid scheme thinking "maybe this time I'll get away with this." They are both similar to the human failing of idealism; many of us consider that failing to be a weakness.

    It is surprising that you would cut everything off at the level of social weakness and call that something else when there are animals that exhibit strong and weak social traits. Chimpanzees being the closest to humans. Where do you draw the un-crossable line between human weaknesses and animal ones still remains a mystery. Surely it would be unbelievable to say humans and animals are the same thing, but it would be equally unbelievable to say we share nothing in common with the animals when there are some obvious similarities, depending on your religious beliefs.
  • baker
    2.9k
    There is a fundamental instinct that humans have regardless of their social personalities. "Weakness" is a relative social term, which may or may not play a role in an instinct that would kick in a given situation.Caldwell

    What instinct?

    Please re-read the below quote again, and see how the switch from animal instinct to "weak relative to their potential" happens. Is there not a fallacious argument here?

    In natural predator-prey relationships if a predator is so strong a hunter it proliferates and the prey population declines, their group gets equally wiped out. Would you say in this sense that weakness is necessary for survival, and thereby there is some good in weak people just in lieu of the fact that they are weak relative to their potential?
    — kudos

    This isn't an argument. It's two sentences, the latter of which is a question. A syllogism yet needs to be derived from this, and doing so requires some discussion to clarify the premises (as I've been asking all along ...).
  • baker
    2.9k
    Where do you draw the un-crossable line between human weaknesses and animal ones still remains a mystery. Surely it would be unbelievable to say humans and animals are the same thing, but it would be equally unbelievable to say we share nothing in common with the animals when there are some obvious similarities, depending on your religious beliefs.kudos

    It seems the problem at hand is of a more general nature (and has nothing to do with animals, or comparing humans and animals). Namely, it's that it is hard to meaningfully, comprehensively define "weak" and "strong", while at the same time, both these terms play important, even vital roles in how we understand the world and ourselves.
  • kudos
    205

    So here is the run-down of the ongoing whittling of the term 'weakness' that we have put this together so far. This is not so much a definition of weakness as it is an ongoing delineation of it that is probably never going to be finished.

    1) We have posited an individual and their separate external circumstances and judged them to be less effective or ineffective at reaching an end using a certain means; this can be because of lack of ability, good sense, or by simple circumstances outside of their control (ie: lion hunts gazelle, squirrel is run over by truck, etc.).

    2) We have reached a certain end using a means, and in so doing have compared this end and means to others who have attained or are in the the process of attaining some end using a means, one or both of which we see as lesser. This can be because of the ineffectiveness of the end in achieving other ends or by a perceived discrepancy between the will of the individual and the end itself; the in itself and for itself of the end (ie: he's always eating, but because of this he is fat and unhappy).

    3) A relationship of exploitation is revealed whereby in the judgement of the ends and means the observer takes as implicit a certain desired deficit for some purpose that can be for themselves, not, for someone else, or all (ie: this group is lower than us because they are weak). In this case the weak person has the weakness enforced on them in an external or internal way, so that it wouldn't exist without being made into an image or idea.

    4) The determination of the weak is turned in on itself, and viewed as such it displaces the weakness that was previously thought primarily of content into one primarily of form (ie: it is weak to believe that only to be strong should be desired, etc). The weakness is found to be in the belief that the weakness is somewhere 'out there' where it is observed and we can see it as if we were neutral observers.

    These are the aspects of the weakness idea as we have outlined them, but not it's true definition. All four taken in isolation seem to fail to tell the whole story. For instance, (1) and (2) both suffer from the limitation that they use the language of images as if they were concrete realities. (3) tells us something, but it seems somehow absorbed into itself. (4) is the closest approximation to what this thread has been revolving around.

    The question I have for you at this point is, "does (4) deserve to be part of our notion of weakness, or should it be cast out as unnecessary?" What is good about (4) in relation to the other three we have here? Just another reminder that these four don't constitute and exhaustive list, only what we've managed to cobble together here.
  • baker
    2.9k
    The question I have for you at this point is, "does (4) deserve to be part of our notion of weakness, or should it be cast out as unnecessary?" What is good about (4) in relation to the other three we have here? Just another reminder that these four don't constitute and exhaustive list, only what we've managed to cobble together here.kudos

    I have to admit I have to read most of your posts more than once, because I can't follow your train of thought.

    The topic of weakness is something I myself am keenly interested in. I wouldn't frame it in the way you do, though, but in terms of looking into the idea of might makes right, like I did in several of my threads.

    I think the salient point of weakness are its moral implications, including actions based on them. If a being is weak, does this mean that it is not unjust to destroy it (simply on account that it is weak)? If a being is weak, is it possible to wrong it, to commit an injustice in regard to it, or is any act against such a being justified?
  • kudos
    205
    My personal inclination is to say that might vs right may be rational but it’s not reasonable. That’s based on thinking that for the subject it is perfectly rational; one can live their life by this and succeed perfectly well in society and life. But once we start to blend it with something more objective it reveals the poor foundation upon which it is built.

    Taken as moral law, this would lead to some pretty dark types of behaviour: executions, prejudice, anything would be fair game because the weak deserve their punishment according to (3). In an objective way, things would be lost though they may not seem that way to the subjects themselves. But it is unfair to have one group who doesn’t care being at an advantage because they care and another being at a disadvantage because they do care. This is where it goes into the existential question of, “When is a moral life worth living?”

    If someone knows themselves and chooses freely to be immoral, then they simply get the circumstance they choose. Morality wasn’t made to enslave people, but rather to be a way of life that was considered by antique thinkers to be the most reasonable way to live. But reasonable could mean other things too. I think we just tend to have certain presets because of our historical development that way, and it’s perfectly rational to want to defend them.
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