Contrarian belief systems?
May 31, 2016 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Are there organized belief systems that espouse contrarian ideals of human behavior, for example, that encourage harboring resentments or that prescribe retaliation as a moral imperative?

Not counting online communities, nor any organization that promotes hatred of a particular group.
posted by ionnin to Human Relations (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sure there are. Take Objectivism (and its offshoots such as Libertarianism and Satanism), which preaches selfishness as a virtue.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:25 AM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


prescribe retaliation as a moral imperative

(i guess it's possible you meant proscribe?) anyway, the idea that morality is evolved is not particularly new. within such frameworks, you generally expect evolutionary stable strategies to dominate. i have no idea what recent literature says about this, but famous early work by axelrod found that tit for tat (ie retaliation) was dominant.
posted by andrewcooke at 11:27 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Retaliation as a moral imperative is such a common interpretation of "justice" that it doesn't really seem contrarian, but otherwise it fits your description.
posted by aubilenon at 11:35 AM on May 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


You mean, like, Nietzsche?
posted by praemunire at 11:40 AM on May 31, 2016


You could look at Thelema ("Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" etc), or LaVey-esque Satanism ("enlightened self-interest."

I don't think either promote resentment, per se, as a moral good, but they do promote selfishness.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:42 AM on May 31, 2016


The Wikipedia article on lex talionis provides some examples, though it's more about retaliation than grudges.
posted by hollyholly at 11:42 AM on May 31, 2016


i'm most certainly not an expert, but i thought nietzsche associated resentment with slave morality (ie not a good thing).
posted by andrewcooke at 11:43 AM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


nietzsche associated resentment with slave morality

He thought that most positive values of his era were slave morality and that an enlightened being should do the reverse. Merely feeling resentment was slave morality, but getting revenge? A+++++ would return eternally.
posted by praemunire at 12:18 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Discordianism, which is a mostly tongue in cheek counterculture matriarchal (sometimes) religion prank disguised as a religion disguised as a prank.
posted by Jacen at 12:53 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


[Wikipedia] "In Mormonism, blood atonement is a controversial doctrine that taught that some crimes are so heinous that the atonement of Jesus does not apply. Instead, to atone for these sins the perpetrators should be killed in a way that would allow their blood to be shed upon the ground as a sacrificial offering.

The doctrine is no longer accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), but was significantly promoted during the Mormon Reformation, when Brigham Young governed the Utah Territory as a near-theocracy. Sins that Young and other members of his First Presidency mentioned as meriting blood atonement included miscegenation, apostasy, theft, murder, fornication, and adultery.

Young taught that the doctrine was ideally to be a voluntary choice by the sinner, and, when non-voluntary, should be carried out with love and compassion. Young considered it more charitable to sacrifice a life than to see them endure eternal torment in the afterlife. In a full Mormon theocracy, the practice would be implemented by the state as a penal measure."

In other words, you can do someone the favour of putting them out of their eternal misery by killing them.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 1:26 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Since 1976, thirty-five different US states have executed a total of 1436 living human beings.


"Thou Shall Not Kill"
posted by BadgerDoctor at 4:12 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


"retaliation as a moral imperative"

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
posted by quinndexter at 4:26 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


He thought that most positive values of his era were slave morality and that an enlightened being should do the reverse. Merely feeling resentment was slave morality, but getting revenge? A+++++ would return eternally.

This is a pretty unrecognisable view of Nietzsche, to me.

While ressentimemt is certainly different from revenge, the notion that Nietzsche proposed a simple inversion of slave morality is, I think, demonstrably false. Beyond Good and Evil has the word "Beyond" in the title partly because the Nietzschean notion of "good and bad" exists separately to "good and evil", not in opposition to it. The preferable moral system is not the opposite of the inferior one, it represents an active shaping of values, not a reactive response to values externally imposed.

Revenge perhaps isn't wholly incompatible with a Nietzschean noble morality, but it will typically be irrelevant. "Good" to the noble is not defined by reaction to the other, but rather by the act of instantiating one's own will in the world. Revenge could conceivably be such an act, but it's far from mandated.
posted by howfar at 4:49 PM on May 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Say the birds of prey: "We bear no grudge against them, these good lambs, we even love them: nothing is tastier than a tender lamb."
posted by praemunire at 6:21 PM on May 31, 2016


(On an American pop culture level) the first thing that jumps to mind is "Seinfeld."
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 6:22 PM on May 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Retaliation as a moral imperative is such a common interpretation of "justice" that it doesn't really seem contrarian, but otherwise it fits your description.

It's really important to keep in mind that nuanced meanings of retaliation, as well as background cultural contexts too.

There's a difference between an individual being permitted to seek retaliation for a wrong done, and between a community "retaliating," and there's a difference between an individual or community being granted a carte blanche degree of retaliation or being circumscribed by some sort of restriction.

For instance, the "eye for an eye" guideline that one might read in Judaic and Mesopotamian legal codes was actually implemented in order to restrict punishments. If an individual stole your horse, the "eye for an eye" guideline prohibits the wronged individual from doing any action more serious than the wrong doing. The wronged individual could not chop off the thief's hand, or kill him, as what one might do if unencumbered by any sort of legal system. And in particular with Judaism, the many legal proscriptions and punishments given in Leviticus are the absolute maximum punishments that can be given for any sort of crime, but it was understood that actual punishments should generally be much less.

While the specific punishments, and the specific actions that ancient peoples thought were wrong, are obviously not well received today, I think it's wrong to consider these legal system as being all that ill motivated, and so not systems of beliefs that would fit under OP's description as being, "contrarian ideals of human behavior."
posted by Dalby at 7:00 PM on May 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just to expand: it seems to me that there's been a general agreement across cultures, one consistent with our's today, is that restraint and mercy and cohesion and altruism are ideals for human behavior, not abandon and egotism. The "eye for an eye" guideline was motivated by just these positive behaviors.
posted by Dalby at 7:17 PM on May 31, 2016


The "oppositionality" philosophical system of Hate Man?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 7:39 PM on May 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Say the birds of prey: "We bear no grudge against them, these good lambs, we even love them: nothing is tastier than a tender lamb."

While we could discuss the complex significance of predator imagery in Genealogy of Morals at some length, I will content myself with noting that, yes, quite, predation is entirely different to revenge.
posted by howfar at 12:46 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Scientology has a longstanding policy to "Attack the Attacker". Hubbard also infamously said "We are not a 'turn the other cheek' religion".
posted by scalefree at 7:38 AM on June 1, 2016


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