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Forgivness inherent or learned behavior

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Mar 30, 2005.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    Is forgiveness a learned behavior or something natural to the human condition?, what say you?.
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Learned. I know I had to work very hard to feel OK with it in the past. I don't mean, "Hey, you ate my cheesy poofs, you bastard....I forgive you", type stuff, I mean big stuff, like betrayal.
  3. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Learned. If someone does wrong by you, it's instinctual to not trust them again, because why is it worth risking? In a social setting, though, we become dependent upon other people; in addition to the fact that we are no longer governed as much by basic needs (food, water, shelter, protection of young) but instead by more abstract concepts, it becomes possible to learn to 'forgive' someone because it may prove that the renewed relationship may have positive benefits in the social setting; and because we can accept that someone made a mistake and was not intentionally trying to hurt us.
  4. Both. Forgiveness is essentially dropping a negative attached to something. Eventhough I'm strongly a behaviourist, I still see how it is biological adaptive to forgive. Holding a grudge *can* be helpful long-term, but how many times does it just make sense to let it go? When the possibility of threat is no longer, then there is no reason to not move on. Sometimes forgiving is something you have to force yourself through, other times it just happens when times and situations change. But if it were simply a matter of learning, you would have to go through an effortsome process every time you forgave someone.

  5. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Learned... and I haven't learned it yet. I usually hold grudges for long periods of time. Sometimes I'll forget about it, then something will remind me, and I'll remember that I hold the grudge against that person. It sucks.

    Graeme :bassist:
  6. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Given how entirely social human beings are, I think that, from a strictly biological standpoint, there is a benefit to being able to forgive. At the same time, I think it's something that has to be learned, that has to be brought out in a person. For another case, if you buy Chomsky's argument that grammar is innate (and no, I don't want to debate that whole issue just now), everyone still needs to learn language, even if we are essentially preprogrammed to do so. (Sorry if this is a gross misinterpretation of innate grammar, I'm not a linguist...)

    Anyway, that's one model I'd use to think about this kind of thing.

    (Edited for typos et al)
  7. That was a rough approximation to my understanding of it, too. In this case, learning regulates the biological aspect of forgiveness, IMHO, at least.

  8. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    mmm, i don't think you can call forgiveness a behavior: there might be constituent behavioral features to feeling forgiveness, but in behavioral terms it would have to be something physical, observable, and quantifiable to qualify.

    That said, i don't think the line between learned and inherent behaviors is that stark: some inherent traits, i'd say those that manifest as emotive, only exist in persons insofar as they are well developed, regardless of whether or not one's parents have the, say, "forgiveness-gene." Poor upbringing can crush any inherent behaviors this side of breathing and gastronomical processes.

    We're not blank slates, we're more like photo negatives: we can be developed well or developed poorly, but our genetics will always define our horizons.
  9. Agreed.

    I also believe that some people can forgive rather easily, while others have a hard time of it throughout their entire lives. It's like losing your hair; it's just in some people's genes.

    Then there's the old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

    There are some sly devils who will intentionally do something to a certain person over and over again, because they know that they will probably be forgiven. The learned behavior of users.

    I also agree with Bliss, in that some things can be forgiven, while others perhaps not.

    Read in the Book of Proverbs chapter 6, from line 30 onward. http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?search=Proverbs 6&version=31;&version=31;

    You steal bread, no big deal.
    You mess with someone's wife... :eek:

    Sometimes forgiveness can simply be not taking revenge. ;)

  10. Pigpen02, I didn't read your post 'till after I posted mine.

    It's funny how similar they are.

    Mike ;)
  11. Mike A

    Mike A

    Oct 3, 2002
    Learned, and it begins at home.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    I think the ability to forgive has alot to do with ones current mental health status.
  13. It took me the better part of 10 years to "forgive" former band members for kicking me out of a band. After I really, honestly thought about it, they did the right thing~

    I still haven't forgiven my former best friend, former next door neighbor and former guitarist (same guy) for ****ing my girlfriend. I haven't forgiven her either, and it's been 10 years.
  14. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    I think that maybe the propensity for forgiveness is inverse to one's investment: we'll readily forgive a friend spilling a drink on our favorite shirt, as its value is ultimately negligible.

    Being dumped by a lover of a few years, on the other hand....
  15. I think the behavior that is learned is "holding a grudge". In nature things tend to be pretty black and white.

    Mr young lion comes upon a pride of lions and runs off the older, weaker male, kills all the male cubs and mates with all the females. Mr old lion doesn't hold a grudge, doesn't hate mr.young lion, for killing his cubs, raping his females. He accepts it, it's just survival.

    There had to have been a point in the evolutionary trail were it became benificial for humans to hold a grudge and be pissed off at there rivals. These humans had a better chance to survive and the propensity for this grudge holding behavior got passed on.

    I personally belive that forgivness came into play when humans discovered that is was a powerful barganing tool and could be used to benefit ones own survival. The truce, treaty, armistice. Why continue fighting when your survival could depend on reaching an agreement? These humans survived and passed on the trait.

    So yes, it is evolutionaraly benificial to learn the art of forgivness.

    It is learned.
  16. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    I think in these terms its almost equitable with compromise; is that learned?

    I'm outside the behavioral norm, in that i believe ethics are a priori. Some great research shows lower order animals displaying ethics to great detriment to themselves; to death, even.

    recent study of parakeets placed a row of cages, with a single parakeet in each. every other parakeet was given the bare minimum of food to stay alive. the others were only given water. what happened? they all died: the parakeets with food passed morsels to their fellows next to them, and they all eventually expired.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    bumped for further discussion.
  18. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Look, dude, are you being tested on this stuff, or what? Are we helping you with essay questions or something?

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Staff Member Supporting Member

    No i am not currently enrolled in any course at this moment. It was conversation purposes only.
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I think the basic concept of forgiving someone is inherent. We are taught to hold grudges, watch our backs, and dismiss people who have done us wrong.