17 June 2013

The Powers of Defeatism

There are multiple definitions of defeatism out there. Many presume that it is a negative concept and hence they define it as such. Many link it to pessimism or weakness. But there is a definition which might make you want to look at it more objectively :

defeatism
- n
a ready acceptance or expectation of defeat

Let us shun the prejudices against defeat and failure for a while and look at the concept of defeatism again. Defeatism can possibly be a ready acceptance of a thwarting circumstance. Simple as that. It is nothing more than pragmatism in the face of failure. Going forward with that definition, let us look at what defeatism has to offer.

In the red corner is the ever acclaimed and glorious Struggle. The one that leads men to better their lot. The inspiration for changes. The giver of splendor. In the blue corner is the despised Defeatism. The peddler of pessimism. The asylum of the weak willed. It is hardly worth the fight to find out who would win the competition. Defeatism with it's weak will would be seen walking away in trepidation while Struggle would stand tall in all it's magnificence. Hardly a match.

But wait. All that is plain glory talk. The conventional stuff that is fed to the kids so that they can grow up to be respectable men who know what's right and what's wrong. Struggle in the face of adversity and do not give up without a fight. Right? But then we were also taught that an unbending tree topples in the storm. So is it better to put up a fight and struggle when faced with a compelling situation or simply bend, give way and move on to something else? Depends on the situation mostly. Depends on what can be compromised upon and what cannot.

It is when the situation is something you can compromise upon (and there are very few that cannot be, despite the egotistical outlook of people) that defeatism truly shines above all other traits. It lets you accept defeat as a valid result of your enterprise. You tried, you put up a fight, you lost. Accepted. You probably want to give up at this point of time and move on to something more enticing, something better if even as a prospect. Sure, go ahead. Defeatism does not pile up guilt on you like the concept of honour does. It lets you abandon the sinking ship that you have captained and seek a shore to build a new ship and sail afresh. Defeatism lets you be happy in whatever you endeavour to pursue for you pursue it not to win it over, you pursue it because you want to pursue it and you can stop whenever you have had enough. It let's you do and not care about the result. Does not the Geeta say the same?

9 comments:

  1. I mean...I don't understand the point you're trying to make. You're building a case for defeatism, okay. But the arguments you make seem contradictory to me.

    So you say that one should give up, and move on, seek something new. But that argument can actually been seen as NOT accepting defeat. You're accepting that you failed at way A, so you're trying way B.

    So I don't see how this is an argument for defeatism...this is an argument for struggling in a way different from the way you were initially struggling for.

    An argument for defeatism would be one where you accept that A, B, C, D...everything has failed...in other words, absolute defeatism.

    And if defeatism is not absolute, but only relative, then any argument for defeatism becomes an argument for struggling...

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  2. You are confusing struggling with seeking. Defeat, by me, is not absolute. Only relative. Argument for defeatism is not argument for struggling. Most of this is subjective, I know. These are my thoughts on a subject. I am not professing an absolute theory.

    "An argument for defeatism would be one where you accept that A, B, C, D...everything has failed...in other words, absolute defeatism."
    Since there is no "everything" to begin with, there can be no absolute defeatism.

    "So you say that one should give up, and move on, seek something new. But that argument can actually been seen as NOT accepting defeat. You're accepting that you failed at way A, so you're trying way B."
    A struggle occurs only when you persist despite having being defeated. You fail in way A and you ditch it for way B is not necessarily struggling. For one, they might not lead to the same destination. For another, it is a fresh start.

    An analogy, consider a boxer. He goes down bloody nosed in round one. He cannot see straight but he fights till he is knocked out : struggle. He throws in the towel and boxes another round with another opponent : defeatism. Or he decides not to box but to start selling newspapers for a living : defeatism. Not the same.

    Once again. These are my thought son the subject. In case you have your own and see differently, you are welcome to do so.

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  3. Arey tu bohot jaldi senti ho jaata hai :*

    Sabhi kuch toh apne thoughts hote hain bacche :) It is funny that you are now five times more polite than I ever was.

    Haan so to the point. Persisting despite defeat is not necessarily struggling; it can be obtuseness, or by definition, persistence. You might not even feel that is is a struggle. You are assuming that defeat happened because the person was ill-equipped to deal with a situation, in which case effort will have to be put in for the next round. even if it is so, effort does not imply struggling.And you can struggle with something without having seen defeat. Just because you find something hard doesn't mean you have been defeated at it.

    So struggling and defeat are not opposing concepts, as you have shown.

    So basically again it is a matter of semantics :) Tereko lagta hai ki if you have been defeated at something once, your next attempt at it is defined as a struggle, toh I ask no further questions. It is your opinion.

    I have known your philosophy of 'no effort' for quite some time now. I have no opinions on the matter myself, I just wished to understand you semantics better.As you know, I am awful at understanding what you mean to say, even though it is usually painfully obvious.

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  4. *struggling and defeatism are not opposing

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  5. "So basically again it is a matter of semantics :) Tereko lagta hai ki if you have been defeated at something once, your next attempt at it is defined as a struggle, toh I ask no further questions. It is your opinion."

    Exactly. Which makes both, your earlier comment and this one, pointless and a waste of effort. :)

    "So struggling and defeat are not opposing concepts, as you have shown."
    I have shown nothing. I merely presented my view. The fact that you pointed this out justifies the 5 times that I said that these are my views in the previous comment. But apparently it was not enough. Anyway. Hope you have had your fill of excitement for the day. If you see something that can be contradicted further, do make my day by pointing it out despite it being something totally subjective. :D

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  6. Not entirely pointless :)

    It is rare to find a definition that says that persisting despite defeat in one endeavour is THE definition of struggling. From what I know, the elders who say "fight on!" use it in a very loose, general way. Zindagi sangharsh hai, sorts. Even the popular perceptions that you seek to counter - I daresay they define struggling in the narrow way that you do. You defined it as such because it suits your arguments.

    Your argument is on the face of it in favour of defeatism. But you are defining struggling as it's opposite, and you haven't done it obviously. And unless you say that it is so, the way you have worded it: it could be that struggling and defeatism are merely two alternative options one might have. Like eating icecream and brownies. You could eat both. Nowhere have you said that they are mutually exclusive, as per you.

    Look, baccha, ANY argument can be twisted to be made a matter of semantics :) If semantics is pointless, then what is pointful? You yourself talk of the difference between the said and the understood...is it not a matter of semantics, if people are in possession of their senses?

    And the point is really not to poke you, whether you believe it or not. I refuse to promise to desist from further comments, because I don't think my silence will change your point of view regarding me. Anyway, tada.

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  7. No, they are not icecream and brownies. They are mutually exclusive because if you accept defeat then you do not struggle. Of course struggle is not the only alternative but that is the only one I touched upon. So there are many alternatives one might have, struggle and defeatism are two of them. And yes, my argument is in favour of defeatism because that is what I chose to favour in this argument. In case you have not noticed, you are arguing around the concept of struggle while I have written about something else altogether.

    Yes, any argument can be twisted to make it a matter of semantics. It will remain pointless. What is, by me, pointful is to listen to opinions, assimilate it with your existing concepts and move on. Arguments, semantic or otherwise are, and shall forever remain, pointless.

    Lastly, you have to try something in order to know whether it works or not.

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  8. You're repeating yourself here: I can only assume you don't wish to see my point, because I've said it twice already.

    Again: your argument implicitly defines struggle as the mutually exclusive opposite of defeatism, it is not necessarily the only definition of struggle. You have only explicitly defined defeatism. There was room for confusion, because in a way, your defeatism could be seen as not admitting defeat.

    Remember Einstein: I have not failed, I have discovered 101 ways which will not work.

    And it is not for you or me to decide the pointlessness or pointfulness of something, is it?

    I was merely clearing the confusion in my mind on this topic. I do not know what your last comment is with reference to, but I can only assume it is with reference to me shutting up. As long as I think I'm doing it to please you, I cannot do it...because I am tired of doing things or pretending to do things because I think it will please you. The day I will shut up because I feel like shutting up independent of the impact it might have on you, I will do it. Until then, take care love :*



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