Becoming an Insult Pacifist Forum

Dr. William B. Irvine, professor of philosophy and author, talks about the right way to respond to an insult and how insults could also be a sign of a good relationship, on Tuesday November 19ths forum.

Irvine started with a message from the Stoics, that our primary goal in our everyday life should be to obtain and maintain tranquility. This is basically saying that the indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how they behaved. You can’t control what other people are going to do or say to you but you can control the way you react back to them.

Within the first five seconds after being insulted, you have a choice to react, Irvine said, and if you take any longer than five seconds then that determines how hurt you might be from the insult. Irvine encourages everyone to take whatever insult that was just thrown at you and turn it into a joke. By doing this he says it shows that you are not affected by the insult and this will discourage the insulter. This works because you would not be giving the satisfaction to the insulter because you are not letting them know you are hurt by it. If you do not reply to the insult then this will just cause them to insult you again, but you could come back at them and say that you already heard them which would make the insulter feel embarrassed.

Insults are also a way of having a relationship with someone, in a good way because it is all just for fun. “Such teasing allows us to raise sensitive issues in a non-confrontational manner,” Irvine said. Many relationships are formed around playful insults and is a sign of a healthy relationship.

Story by: Lauren Volosin

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