[RD] Is refusal of sacrifice cowardice?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Synsensa, Oct 13, 2021 at 4:38 PM.

  1. Synsensa

    Synsensa Especially the lies. Retired Moderator

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    You see it in media all the time. There's combat. Lives are on the line. Someone turns and flees. They are a coward. If they aren't swiftly executed by a superior, they are cast out by their peers. They are mocked, derided.

    In a more general, real-life sense, does refusing to sacrifice yourself mean you are a coward?

    If someone's being mugged and you do not intervene, are you a coward?

    If you have the choice between your life or someone else's and you pick your own, are you a coward?

    Is preservation of your own life truly an indicator of cowardice?
     
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Not inherently. Everyone refuses sacrifice to some degree constantly.

    I guess one could look at it as a relationship between how much a particular person values X thing vs their willingness to sacrifice for X (either at all, or to what degree). For example:
    1. Even very altruistic humans are unlikely to sacrifice their life for a fish, even if they might spend 2-3 minutes to save the same fish if that time was the only cost.
    2. Even relatively selfish people might sacrifice themselves for their own children.
    I suspect that most would argue that refusal to sacrifice in the first case is not cowardice, while refusal in the second case is cowardice. And from what I can tell, the difference is the perception of value to the (potential) sacrificer. The less willing to sacrifice and the more value people think the (potential) sacrificer holds towards the target of sacrifice, the more likely it is to be labeled cowardice.
     
  3. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The long wait

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    It can be. Then again. Sometimes it's harder to live. But that's mundane instead of flashy and skirts forbidden topics.
     
  4. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Super Moderator Supporter

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    There are no firm rules for this Syn. It's all about context and case by case. Mostly we do the the best we can at the moment. :)
     
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  5. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Sacrifice for the sake of what or who?
    Your close relative, child, loved one, friend, random stranger?
    Your country, corporation, mankind, science, nature, communism, Putin? :)
    There is no universal answer, everyone has to decide for himself.
     
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  6. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Also depends on what if anything your sacrifice would achieve.
    Living to fight another day isn't always cowardice, sometimes its the harder choice.
     
  7. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I guess an alternative question would be: what's a better word?

    There can be many reasons to not sacrifice. Of the negative reasons, "cowardice" and "selfishness" spring to mind.
     
  8. Sofista

    Sofista Deity

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    Strictly narrowing down to battles, at least in Western Europe, that used to be how they were decided, until Napoleon/the American Civil War time. Armies would meet on a field and clash, until one side just gave up on the fight. And once a trend became recognizable, the losing side would simply agree to sit at a peace table and make concessions.
     
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  9. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Battles are a peculiar situation. It's not so much cowardice in many situations, so much as that it exceeds human endurance. And while many people can handle it, many other cannot. Modern militaries actually attempt to train for this specifically more now than in times past. And training can effect outcomes.
     
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  10. Samson

    Samson Deity

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    I have a hard time seeing cowardice as negative, certainly as it is generally portrayed in media. It generally looks like sensible self preservation to me.

    As you say, such self preservation is frequently punished in the military. This is not because it is a bad idea, but because it is a good idea that almost everyone would do if they could get away with it. That would hurt the powers that be at the expense of the powerless, so cannot be allowed.
     
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  11. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    My question is more whether one should care about being a coward or not. If it stops you from reaching your goals, it's bad for you. If you're living a comfortable, cowardly life, you're pretty set.
     
  12. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The long wait

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    The use of the word coward itself seems to color the action into a category of act where being fearful and self interested is not merely a neutral act, but also one that causes harm to others. For example, the armed security guard several years back at the school shooting that was outgunned and didn't engage because he probably would have been killed. Was his action, or lack of action, cowardly? Understandable, surely. Punishable, probably not. But weren't we all sort of counting on him in case of exactly that situation?
     
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  13. Varde

    Varde Chieftain

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    To make a sacrifice in the armed forces, is an act of bravery, but depending on the strategem, to refuse a job may be an act of bravery too.

    Sin is a sacrifice of goodness.

    Vices like alcohol and drugs, are a sacrifice that are sinful, that make us unhealthy if not taken seriously.

    Sacrifices are to be taken seriously, sometimes you do sometimes you don't.

    They are also a matter of love. To protect the ones you love. 'I would follow my son blindly wherever he would go.'
     
  14. haroon

    haroon Deity

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    Great question, this things torture me. I have a credit and people expects me and me myself expect soemthing from myself, yet in some cases I do escape like in my work-place for instance, or I remember when a woman got abuse by group of mob in a room I can hear her scream and cry, I do nothing and I still cringe and curse myself until today for doing nothing.

    I think there is something more lofty than your own safety, your own life. But you are naturely escape that and seek for survival. You cannot love someone or something without sacrifies, in the end I sometime prove myself less of a friend, best friend, brother, family, lover than me or peoples surround me expected from me.

    I need to better myself.

    This is why I like boxing. It makes you dictate your body to do the opposite of your natural survival instinct, when punch come you want to flinch and close your eyes, but boxing dictate you to slip, don't flinch, or even step under the punch. It's something that I want to drill myself into, but I'm still too lazy and too uncommited for that.

    Nah I'm not pooring myself, like I said, there is more than this life than breathing a meaningless breath. I always look up at someone who acts and able to sacrifices better than me, and I want to be like them.
     
  15. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    That "sort", yes. Though it again depends on context. Have to evaluate likelihood of success, too. The more outgunned/more shooters there are, the less likely engaging does anything but kill the security guard while not actually saving anybody.

    I'd hesitate to assign a label in that context without knowing how the situation unfolded, in detail. If I use my own high school back in the day as a reference point, it would be non trivial just to locate the shooter/room immediately (~2000 student school, lots of rooms, line of sight changing drastically depending on where this is happening, lots of positions where firing a weapon could easily penetrate wall/window and hit someone other than shooter). In that kind of context, engaging a shooter w/o overwhelming force wouldn't even clearly save lives. Especially if the shooter isn't being indiscriminate (and good luck evaluating that in the moment).

    So MAYBE it's cowardice, but the details really matter.
     
  16. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Cowardice will be expressed while the calculation in the first place. Obviously, there's an objective answer to the risk analysis. But the actual real-time calculation will be wrong and some biases will be a function of bravery or cowardice.

    Most refusal of sacrifice that I see is a function of short-term hedonism. Though obviously cowardice is a factor as well. Usually the factor that we're using to refuse to help is inconvenience, not danger. And I guess 'inconvenience' can be Venned into 'danger'. Peter Singer wonders if we'll wreck our shoes to save a child. Whether losing those shoes is an 'inconvenience' or a 'danger' is going to be how the person describes the risks to themselves.
     
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  17. haroon

    haroon Deity

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    I talk about this story (mob and the girl) way back then in this forum

    Spoiler disturbing :
    My parent, never suffered the same thing, try to belittle my experience, they told me it is fine, that's normal blablabal, and for the second time when I need to go to Jogjakarta, they sent me again to this wretch terminal but this time with my uncle, my uncle don't want any trouble, just the ticket from the broker, it's a stupid idea. At the day of the suppose to be my departure time, I went there alone, carrying a piece of receipt (not ticket) that the broker gave me. The broker just freaking everywhere, I saw a boy whom bag get pulled by the broker forcely, I heard a woman screaming at the locket and some employee waiting outside and said "she deserves it" then the broker comes out smiling zipping his pant while the woman left crying inside the locker (a small room selling tickets), this moment haunt me until this very day, I want to intervene, but I'm not sure, seeing none of the people reacting to it, and I don't exactly know what happened, and the thing that I most angry with myself is, I might be afraid also, I don't afraid with this guy one by one, I had many street fight in my life, but there just too many of them.


    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/do-you-believe-in-punishment.647091/page-7#post-15483998
     
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  18. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The long wait

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    It's not like we were expecting him to win.
     
  19. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    There has to be a reasonable chance of success though. Otherwise it stops being a matter of bravery vs cowardice and becomes a matter of foolishness. A sacrifice that doesn't achieve anything is better defined as a blunder or mistake than a sacrifice. Sometimes justifiably made with good intentions/incomplete knowledge, but still a mistake ultimately.

    This guy had a better chance of stopping the shooter than a man would have trying to go outside and punch away a tornado or something. But how much better? I don't know the details of that incident.

    And how much risk for his action to others? "Winning" in the sense of killing the shooter isn't the real goal, the real goal is to minimize harm/casualties. If you can get a good shot on the shooter, have no possibility to miss, and no possibility to increase casualties through the choice to fire at him, then great. Not many active shooter scenarios like that though.
     
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  20. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The long wait

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    There was a person shooting kids in classrooms. Reinforcements were on the way. Any time spent shooting at armed security, any, instead of shooting at kids? How big a win is everyone looking score on their card?
     
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