Another “Social Issue” / Forgiveness

One more social topic that I find to be bat-crap-crazy. And I bet plenty of other Aspergers would agree.
Whenever I hear a person say, in response to a person who has committed a heinous criminal act, or financial or other betrayal, that he or she has “already forgiven” the perpetrator, before the perpetrator has been held responsible, or offered any evidence of “I did something wrong and I regret it”, I’m shocked.  As an Asperger, I don’t believe that “unearned” forgiveness makes any sense. Nor does giving the Top 1% criminal class “a pass” on their mass “human rights violations” around the globe.


UC Berkeley offers some terrific info online, but this site is offensive: Greater Good – Science of a Meaningful life. The content is NOT SCIENCE-BASED; in fact, it’s one of the more egregious “psychology as religion being flogged as (at best) New Age, California “Guru” science. No science-based “content” would advise people on “metaphysical” behavior. This article about “forgiveness” is manipulative and prescriptive social instruction. Once again it begins with the assumption that a nebulous “magic word” concept, forgiveness, has been proven “by experiment and replication” to EXIST and to be a universal “treatment” for (justifiable) emotions that arise from being harmed. (But not for preventing harm.) Watch for “weasel words”

Article: What Is Forgiveness?

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Social message: Your feelings are not legitimate. This has nothing to do with science.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability. Social message: You are not allowed to experience normal reactions (anger, hurt, grief, outrage) but must TRUST SOCIETY to “deal with” perpetrators.

The real situation is that too often there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY because our justice system is a tool of the social hierarchy – it is indeed a class-based system and has nothing to do with fact, fairness or “just” results. (Nor science) The variables (discounting victim reports, refusal to prosecute, a plea bargain system, the cost of legal services, PLUS where you live on the social pyramid) are rigged. Example: How often are rape cases ignored or purposefully not investigated and the evidence lost? Accountability is a whole new picture when we get specific. This has nothing to do with science.

I’m not saying that victims of crime or betrayal ought to resort to revenge or other tactics, but it’s important to understand how social systems pervert “natural” human behavior.

But – the outcome often is that victims are injured, betrayed and abandoned by the very social systems that they are :supposed to trust. Nowhere does this article state that the “violator or perpetrator” must WORK to repair the damage, before “forgiveness” is considered. In the US we have a social agenda (this applies across the board to government, corporations and institutions ) that the blame lies with the victim; the victim has no expectation of a response or restitution from predatory agencies, companies and Top 1% entities. Learned helplessness is the successful social tactic.

Article: Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. (Proof? This has nothing to do with science. Or is this the “priest” of psychology pressuring victims to “shut up” about the event. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered (Gee thanks. I didn’t know that I had to be granted permission to know I’m in pain!!!) without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life. (Aye, yai, yai! What magic word BS.) Not science-based.

Why Practice Forgiveness?

We often think of forgiveness as a kind, magnanimous act—an act of mercy or compassion extended to someone who wronged us. While that can be true, research over the past few decades has revealed enormous personal benefits to forgiveness as well. According to that research, (not scientific research) here are some of the most compelling ways forgiveness is good for us, our relationships, and our communities.

Note that there is NO scientific justification for these claims. The assumption is made from the start that “forgiveness” is a scientific property (it can be identified and measured using the scientific method) that can be quantified and results reproduced by scientific experiment. Actually, it’s a philosophical – religious – social concept and needs to be addressed within those fields.

  • Forgiveness makes us happier: Research suggests not only that happy people are more likely to forgive but that forgiving others can make people feel happy, especially when they forgive someone to whom they feel close.
  • Forgiveness improves our health: When we dwell on grudges, our blood pressure and heart rate spike—signs of stress which damage the body; when we forgive, our stress levels drop, and people who are more forgiving are protected from the negative health effects of stress. Studies also suggest that holding grudges might compromise our immune system, making us less resistant to illness. OUTRAGEOUS oversimplified conclusions-claims. Once again, human beings are “generic” – everyone is a clone of some imaginary “normal-typical” model.
  • Forgiveness sustains relationships: When our friends inevitably hurt or disappoint us, holding a grudge makes us less likely to sacrifice or cooperate with them (doesn’t this sound “normal”, which undermines feelings of trust and commitment, (isn’t it the original “violation” that causes this?) driving us further apart. Studies suggest that forgiveness can stop this downward spiral and repair our relationship before it dissolves. Social message: It’s the responsibility of the “victim” to make everything okay again)
  • Forgiveness is good for marriages (most of the time): Spouses (most likely of the female sex) who are more forgiving and less vindictive are better at resolving conflicts effectively in their marriage. A long-term study of newlyweds found that more forgiving spouses had stronger, more satisfying relationships. However, when more forgiving spouses were frequently mistreated by their husband or wife, they became less satisfied with their marriage. WOW! A stunning observation.
  • Forgiveness boosts kindness and connectedness: (An opinion; not science) People who feel forgiving don’t only feel more positive toward someone who hurt them. They are also more likely to want to volunteer and donate money to charity, and they feel more connected to other people in general. Do these psychologists have no ethical standards? This is total BS.
  • Forgiveness can help heal the wounds of war: A research-based forgiveness training program in Rwanda, for instance, was linked to reduced trauma and more positive attitudes between the Hutus and Tutsis there. A study of people who learned forgiveness skills in war-torn Sierra Leone found that they reported feeling less depressed, more grateful, more satisfied with life, and less stressed afterward. Perhaps most famously, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is widely credited with encouraging forgiveness and reconciliation after the end of apartheid in that country. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the commission’s chairman, has argued that forgiveness is the path to “true enduring peace.
  • No ethics here! Just appropriate serious events to “prove”  that a trivial article has value. This, by the way, is “contagious magic” – by associating A with B, A “acquires” the power of B.
  • How Forgiving Are You?

    Find out by taking our forgiveness quiz, based on a scale created by forgiveness research pioneer Michael McCullough. Making a scale does not constitute science.

  • Here’s science for you! A “quiz” that will tell you if you’re a nice, socially obedient, “forgiving” person. Total crap! 

The social point of forgiveness seems to be to keep the “victim” in relationships or circumstances (under the control of “up hierarchy” or predatory classes) so that they can be victimized again and again. Don’t dare get angry! American minorities have certainly been taught by Christian propaganda to “forgive” all the nice white people who’ve lynched, beaten, shot and kept them from “moving up” the pyramid for hundreds of years. Women also are expected to “forgive” male domination and brutality: women are low on the social pyramid and “forgiveness” keeps them there.



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