Ramblings on Forgiveness

The party line is you are supposed to forgive others’ wrongs:

The party line call to forgive comes off as perverse.  When you tell a kid not to touch a hot stove, they do.  When you tell people to forgive they automatically assume you are doing it to aid those who wrong (who usually have more power than you do).

The weight of the wrong falls upon the aggrieved party no matter how they handle it.  The aggrieved party loses either way.  They fester in immobilizing bitterness or forgive the offending party (which signals the offender to wrong more).  A lot of time anger is just part of depression, but the part of it that drives people and trying to snuff out said anger (via  forgiveness) just leaves the rest of the depression there minus the anger that was driving the person.

The forgiveness psychobabble brings up the unspoken assumption that you are responsible for what you feel.  We don’t like admitting that one can commit thought crimes but the way we label people speaks otherwise.  If someone internalizes the negative things about them society has been sending their way we call them insecure.  If one holds a grudge they are looked upon unfavorably as if being prepared for the offender’s next offense is the wrong way to feel.

The idea that forgiveness is an act of will is a misnomer.  Emotions will reanimate a “dead” wrong and mind games won’t be able to kill it.  The therapeutic-industrial complex has taught us to delineate between thoughts and emotions when a lot of the time they are interchangeable (but to study things one needs to put everything into neat little boxes).  The human mind is messier than anyone would like to admit.  Freaud knew this but later psychologists haven’t taken this to heart.

The scope of the imperative to forgive falls under situations where those without power are the most likely to be wronged.  For example, if an employer wrongs you, you are expected to forgive them.  But if you wrong someone during a psychotic break, the imperative doesn’t apply at all.

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