Thursday, January 24, 2008

On Aggression: Lessons from the BMAC and the Baha'i Writings

Because of the work I do, one of the most interesting PowerPoint presentations from the Baha'i Medical Association of Canada, linked to in the previous post, was the one on "Violence and bullying in children and youth." Even just the definitions and categorizations alone are of interest.

For example, I learned that aggression need not be just bodily. According to the presentation, there are two categories of aggression: hostile (aka reactive or affective) and instrumental (aka proactive or predatory), the latter being the more concerning.

The qualities of instrumental aggression are: hides aggressive acts, very careful to protect self when aggressive, looks proud of being aggressive, plans aggressive acts.

Living at this time in human history, one can be the recipient of aggressive acts even sitting in front of a computer screen. Hackers, spammers, phishers, and stalkers all practice instrumental aggression, and there are other malevolent actors on the Internet.


In man here are two natures: his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature.... Every good habit, every noble quality belongs to man's spiritual nature, whereas all his imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 60)

Let [the friends] never be defeated by the malice of the people, by their aggression and their hate, no matter how intense.
(Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 24)
{Photo: Uploaded on September 19, 2007 by Dominic's pics on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic}

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