The Precept Against Echovictimia

Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series: The Precept Against Theft and Hoarding

We’ve been taking way too long to get each of these precept posts out, and we apologize for that, it’s really not the most entertaining content, and considering this is just the draft one precepts, listed out here with our thought processes behind them, we really shouldn’t be grinding along with them as much as we are. The whole point of doing it this way is to provide a running record of our thought processes as we work these out, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it can’t be perfect because the precepts are never the precepts. So we’ll be trying to blitz through the rest of these and it hopefully won’t take us a week to get out the next one.

The ninth major precept is the precept against echovictimia and oh gods they’re outright making up words, that’s never a good sign. Many of the prior precepts could be mostly reduced down to single word concepts, but in this case, there’s no extant word that describes the entire idea in a way that preserves the core of the meaning. So now there is.

Echovictimia is the act of taking on a role, identity, or responsibility of one’s own volition, and then using it to justify claiming victim status, elevating their engineered suffering over the unavoidable suffering of others, and otherwise trying to use the signaling of suffering, persecution, or harm for social gain.

For example, we recently went vegetarian, of our own volition, in a personal attempt to do more good in the world. If we were to then to use that self-enforced limitation to argue that society is being unfair to us “There’s a huge meat section but only a small fake meat section in the supermarket, therefore we’re being harmed by society’s normative carnism!” we’d, in our opinion, be doing a kind of shitty thing. We chose to be vegetarian though, we knew what we were inflicting on ourselves and did it anyway, so really we have no right to complain about that, or to take energy away from people who are suffering things they can’t just opt in or out of.

People suffer from things they can’t control due to the influences of an unfair society built out of an unfair world, and that stuff needs to be addressed, but when you willfully attach things to yourself you know will make you less happy, you should do so with the understanding that you’re making a choice to inflict this upon yourself, and not complain about it. If you’re suffering from something totally outside of your control or ability to fix, and you really need help, then you should be able to speak up, and not be drowned out by people complaining about things they chose to do.

Thus we arrive at the ninth precept:

9. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.

We don’t actually have any minor precepts for this one. We spent several hours trying to come up with a way to formalize the idea, but really the sentence in the major precept catches all the core meaning and while it would be good to break it down into more granular minor precepts, we’re not precisely sure how. It’s a good thing the precepts aren’t the precepts, and we can always come back to this later.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Precept Against Hate
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The Precept Against Theft and Hoarding

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2 thoughts on “The Precept Against Echovictimia

  1. I think “anything to which you need not subject yourself” is an ill-defined category. Running with vegetarianism, if it is a morally obligatory stance (as I think is probably the case), is it really correct to consider it an optional choice just because there is no societal consequence to eating meat? To use a clearer illustration, suppose that a military draft were in effect and you were a conscientious objector: you didn’t mind your duties themselves but had ethical qualms about supporting the war. The ethical qualms are specific to your personality and your personality is particular to you; can you not complain about military service in that instance? Of what kind and what degree is the distinction between that example and ethically-motivated vegetarianism?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to agree with James, but I also don’t understand why it’s such a salient issue to deserve its own precept. Is it some sort of American society / politics thing?

    As a side note, I am wary of the notion “unfair society.” Different people have very different notions of what is fair and in some cases those notions are counterproductive. Instead of using the deontological category “fair”, I recommend a consequentialist approach: thinking about the average welfare of a person in the society.

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