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View Full Version : what is the technical term for dooming yourself?


They Call Me Sneeze
06-03-2001, 10:55 PM
I don't think I can explain this without a (hypothetical) example, so here we go.

Let's say there is this woman, and she has a daughter. This woman's relationship with her own mother is not a good one (they don't really talk anymore), and the woman does not want the same thing to happen to the relationship between her and her daughter.

She tries to avoid a similar fate, but despite her best efforts, things turn out so she does the exact same things that she once said she didnt want to do, and that she was even AFRAID of the consequences of, and the relationship between her and her daughter is as bad as the one between her and her mother. Which is exactly what she feared.

So: what is it called, when a the exact thing that a person is afraid of is what ends up happening, and when the make the same mistakes to lead them down that path, even though they know what those mistakes are?


I realize that this explanation might be confusing at best, so if any clarifications are needed, just let me know. I am not altogether sure if there is an actual official word for this happening, but I think there is, which is why I am asking you Dopers.

Thanking you in advance - Thank you!
Love,
Sneeze

brachyrhynchos
06-04-2001, 12:52 AM
Self-fulfilled prophesy? That's what I thought of when I read your scenario.

Azura Borealis
06-04-2001, 12:59 AM
I've heard it called Jinxing & Tempting/Challenging Fate.

But i really don't think it's even jinxing or tempting the fates... I think sometimes those things just happen, regardless of how careful, or determined you are to keep them from happening. Some people would say that is dependant upon how superstitious you are. But Jinxing is the most common thing I have heard it called.

I once had a woman, with the audacity to tell me - that my similar "jinxes" were Generational Curses! :mad:

I guess it depends on who you ask and what they believe. But I certainly would rather call it a little jinx, a coincidence of similar fate, self fulfilled phrophecy, than to call it a curse of any sort.

But that makes me wonder, with so many people determined to keep certain things from happening again in their life, or to someone they love, and they just end up happening anyway, is it (The stating "I will not let this happen to...") perhaps anticipated anger or fear against a bit of clairvoyance for what the future will hold?

That's probably a stupid possibility to ponder - but nonetheless i wonder.

SPOOFE
06-04-2001, 04:52 AM
I simply call it an "Oopsie", as in, "Oopsie, its happening all over again!"

Except it won't happen to me, consarnit!

PerfectDark
06-04-2001, 06:51 AM
You could probably call it..

Damning yourself.
Condemnation.
A Loop.

Might even be a sort of paradox.

PerfectDark

KneadToKnow
06-04-2001, 07:47 AM
In literature, it's irony. I'm pretty sure there's a specific type of irony, but my Handbook to Literature is AWOL right now, so I'll have to check on this when I get to work.

grimpixie
06-04-2001, 07:50 AM
Originally posted by They Call Me Sneeze
So: what is it called, when a the exact thing that a person is afraid of is what ends up happening, and when the make the same mistakes to lead them down that path, even though they know what those mistakes are?

Human Nature??

Chronos
06-04-2001, 01:03 PM
OK, now this is getting annoying. The Greeks had a term for this, and I'm certain I learned that term in High School english classes. I just can't remember what the term was... It shows up in a great many classical tragedies, usually as punishment for hubris.

Sofa King
06-04-2001, 02:02 PM
Some possibilities, perhaps:

Nemesis: retributive justice, named after the Greek goddess.

Agnorisis: tragic awareness, a.k.a. the "ohhh, shit" scene.

Harmartia: "swing and a miss"; often translated directly to "tragic flaw", but loaded with lots of extra fateful goodness:

"In Aristotle's understanding, all tragic heroes have a "harmartia," but this is not inherent in their characters, for then the audience would lose respect for them and be unable to pity them; likewise, if the hero's failing were entirely accidental and involuntary, the audience would not fear for the hero. Instead, the character's flaw must result from something that is also a central part of their virtue, which goes somewhat arwry, usually due to a lack of knowledge. By defining the notion this way, Aristotle indicates that a truly tragic hero must have a failing that is neither idiosyncratic nor arbitrary, but is somehow more deeply imbedded -- a kind of human failing and human weakness. Oedipus fits this precisely, for his basic flaw is his lack of knowledge about his own identity. Moreover, no amount of foresight or preemptive action could remedy Oedipus' harmartia; unlike other tragic heroes, Oedipus bears no responsibility for his flaw." (from this site (http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/tragedy/oedhero.shtml); my bolding)

What do you think? Is that close?

They Call Me Sneeze
06-04-2001, 04:19 PM
hmmm...i like the sound of "self-fulfilling prophesy" (especially when said in a darth vader voice), and Sofa King, all your suggestions sound exactly on the spot.

thanks dopers, for your suggestions : )

KneadToKnow
06-04-2001, 04:29 PM
I hate to be the voice of dissent, especially after it sounds like you've already made up your mind, Sneeze, but that's not a self-fulfilling prophesy.

A self-fulfilling prophesy is when you wake up in the morning, say "Boy, this is going to be a crappy day," take that attitude with you through the day, thereby making it crappy. Or, you meet the person of your dreams and you decide "This is The One," then do everything in your power to woo, win, and wed that person, thereby proving that s/he was, indeed, The One.

Irishman
06-04-2001, 05:04 PM
In a way, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that you concentrate so hard on not being that way that you end up being that way.

But I don't think that was the actual word you needed. Not that I know the actual word you need.

red_dragon60
06-04-2001, 05:17 PM
In a literary sense, you could say "crossing the Rubicon".

kiffa
06-04-2001, 05:35 PM
Maybe this isn't really appropriate, but I love it anyway:
Hoisted by one's own petard.

They Call Me Sneeze
06-04-2001, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by KneadToKnow
I hate to be the voice of dissent, especially after it sounds like you've already made up your mind, Sneeze, but that's not a self-fulfilling prophesy.


yeah i know - i dont know if any of the words are exactly what i mean, but i like saying "self-fullfilling prophesy." it has a certain pretence of doom that i dont get to enjoy very often.

and while it isnt as dooming, any sentence with the word "petard" is a good sentence by me : )

kiffa
06-05-2001, 09:37 AM
HaHa! Hoisted by one's petard reflects an old sailing term, I believe, which means that you were pulled up by your own rigging as the sails start to catch the wind... I have an image of some scheming asshole, ready to boast of success as s/he is jerked up by the rigging wrapped around his/her ankle... hair flying, arms flaying and red in the face. Does the arrogant bastard or stupid fool deserve a better ending?

The image can get better when you look at the word "petard" which is based on the french verb peter [paytay] which means to break wind or to fart. I love the image, don't you?

red_dragon60
06-05-2001, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by kiffa
HaHa! Hoisted by one's petard reflects an old sailing term, I believe, which means that you were pulled up by your own rigging as the sails start to catch the wind... I have an image of some scheming asshole, ready to boast of success as s/he is jerked up by the rigging wrapped around his/her ankle... hair flying, arms flaying and red in the face. Does the arrogant bastard or stupid fool deserve a better ending?

The image can get better when you look at the word "petard" which is based on the french verb peter [paytay] which means to break wind or to fart. I love the image, don't you?

Nope, a petard is an early breaching charge used on castle walls. They were really tricky to use, and te fuses went off prematurely many times, killng the ignitors.

waterj2
06-05-2001, 10:41 AM
Personally, I'd name it after Oedipus's parents, who sent him off to be killed when a soothsayer told them he'd murder his father and marry his mother. However, the guy sent to do the killing only strung him up by his feet, and he was discovered and raised by others. Not knowing who his parents were, he ended up killing his father in an altercation, solving the riddle of the Sphinx, and being offered the queen of Thebes (his mother) as a bride. Thus, his parents' attempt to circumvent fate led to the fulfillment of the prophesy.

I figure that if Oedipus gets a complex named after him, his parents can have something named after them.

Snooooopy
06-05-2001, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by waterj2
Personally, I'd name it after Oedipus's parents, who sent him off to be killed when a soothsayer told them he'd murder his father and marry his mother. However, the guy sent to do the killing only strung him up by his feet, and he was discovered and raised by others.

I thought he was just left on a mountainside to die of exposure.

waterj2
06-05-2001, 10:09 PM
Well, yeah, but strung up by his feet. Hence the name Oedipus, which is from the Greek for swollen foot.

kiffa
06-05-2001, 10:47 PM
Petard was a very tempermental bomb used to blow up castles. Somehow I kinda like my definition in that the perp gets his or her comeuppance and must face it publicly. The bomb just blew them to smithereens.

Sorry, They Call Me Sneeze, I don't mean to make disparaging remarks about your friend.

brachyrhynchos
06-05-2001, 11:07 PM
Originally posted by waterj2
Well, yeah, but strung up by his feet. Hence the name Oedipus, which is from the Greek for swollen foot.
So, <drumroll> he was hoisted by his own parents?






Hmmm, even stopped the crickets.