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 No.4837

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Pic Unrelated

I want to talk about the concept of forgiveness. So that we are all on the same page, we shall define "forgiveness" as "the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance, however justified it might be." Many religions tout the virtues of forgiving and urge their tenants to forgive. However, atheism is on the rise. The number of Americans who consider themselves atheist is increasing. According to the Pew Research Center, 4% of Americans self-identified as "atheist" in 2019, nearly doubling from 2% in 2009. (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/12/06/10-facts-about-atheists/)

With this in mind, do you believe that forgiveness is also in decline? I believe that forgiveness is baked into so many of the world's religions as a concept and a virtue because forgiving is not the natural human response to victimization, resentment and/or a desire for vengeance is. There is virtually no reason for an atheistic person not to follow these natural urges.  But can a society devoid of forgiveness function?

 No.4838

>>4837
> 4% of Americans self-identified as "atheist" in 2019, nearly doubling from 2% in 2009
Is that difference statistically significant, and what p-value?

 No.4839

>>4838
I'm not sure what p-value means, but my point was just that atheism, at least in America, is rising. My real question is on the effect this will have on concepts like forgiveness, which are not natural reactions to harm.

 No.4840

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>>4839
>My real question is on the effect this will have on concepts like forgiveness, which are not natural reactions to harm.

1) Forgiveness is not a concept exclusive to religious morality
2) Atheist like myself understand that forgiveness is necessary for pragmatic reasons, as acting on negative feelings about an action far past the point anything can be done about it is self destructive and can cooud one's judgements leading one to harm others, thus embracing forgiveness can be a moral imperative for pragmatic reasons.
3) Forgiveness is not an unnatural reaction at all, it's just not an immediate reaction.

 No.4841

>>4840
I'd argue that it is an unnatural reaction. Because it is not a desire people have on their own. No one wants to forgive. You might come to the conclusion that it's in your best interest to do so, but it is difficult to do. If it were natural, it would not be difficult. People would just do it.

This is why so many religions hold forgivness as a virtue. Because there are legitimate reasons to forgive, but it is a difficult thing to do. But as atheism rises, there will be less and less forgiving. Because what incentives does atheism offer to go through the trouble?

 No.4842

>>4841
To me forgiveness is a pragmatic reaction. When you want to live in a group and work with one another, you will have to deal with each other.
If every perceived sleight is bound to break co-operation and the resulting wrath threatens to break contracts as a whole, you simply can't hold onto living in a group.

I don't know if I should speculate that everyone will grow into being a selfish isolated entity, but that won't benefit the group and it won't benefit the individual.

 No.4843

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>>4841
>>4841
>I'd argue that it is an unnatural reaction. Because it is not a desire people have on their own. No one wants to forgive.

100% disagree.

People are walking piles of conflincting impulses and desires. People may on one hand not want to forgive if they feel like forgiveness is abandonment of the possibility of retribution  or justice on their part, but on the other hand, people do not like feeling bad all the time and can recognize when holding a grudge is just ruining their lives, and yes may actively want to forgive on some level and also not want to at the same time.

This idea that humans have no natural desire for forgiveness just doesn't accurately line up with the complexities of human psychology

>If it were natural, it would not be difficult. People would just do it.

100% disagree. Being "Natural" doesn't necessarily make anything easier. As stated before, people are naturally conflicted. Growing up and becoming an adult is something that comes comes naturally but is the source of a lot of difficulty, just to name one example.

>But as atheism rises, there will be less and less forgiving. Because what incentives does atheism offer to go through the trouble?

That's specious reasoning. Plus it assumes a lot of things about human nature and that are not entirely justified.

 No.4844

>>4843
"Growing up" is difficult because the the emotionally jarring events we experience, not the natural part of our bodies growing into adults. But I think I get what you are saying.

But my point is, religions offers incentives to forgive. They are stated to be virtues. In Christianity, God is said to be completely forgiving and that is used as an incentive to try and be a better person. That no matter what you have done in the past, this being can still forgive you and love you, and that you should try to emulate this being as best you can. Because offering forgiveness to others can also encourage them to do the same.

Atheism offers no incentives to forgive anyone, or make forgiveness part of your life. Humans do no forgive in the same way a (potentially fictional) deity would. That's why we have things like the death penalty. We as a species believe that some actions are so bad that anyone who commits them is a bad person. And what constitutes crossing that line varies from human to human. The concept of forgiveness. True forgiveness, requires an idealized standard to strive for. Something atheism is inherently opposed to by its very nature.

 No.4845

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>>4844
>>4844
>But my point is, religions offers incentives to forgive. They are stated to be virtues. In Christianity, God is said to be completely forgiving and that is used as an incentive to try and be a better person. That no matter what you have done in the past, this being can still forgive you and love you, and that you should try to emulate this being as best you can. Because offering forgiveness to others can also encourage them to do the same.

Okay, but my two point are that Christianity, and many other religions in general practically claims exclusive ownership of forgiveness, which simply isn't true.

And my other point is that this perception that humans need incentives to be prosocial is also incorrect. As is this clearly religous world view that states that all the negatives of people are natural and internal and all positives are external and come from the religion, thus justifying it in a circular way. The reality is that psychological egoism is not actually incompatible with compassion and forgiveness, or for that matter selfless material sacrifice. Sometimes that is necessary for our mental health an dmost of us are naturally inclined to such as part of what psychologists call the "psychological immunity system". In fact, it takes work to maintain a grudge, it needs to be reinforced ritually.

And further, this assumption that people need material incentives to act moral is, well, it's conflating what is actually a variable personality trait with sone fundamental universal trait of being human.

>>4844
>Atheism offers no incentives to forgive anyone, or make forgiveness part of your life. Humans do no forgive in the same way a (potentially fictional) deity would. That's why we have things like the death penalty. We as a species believe that some actions are so bad that anyone who commits them is a bad person. And what constitutes crossing that line varies from human to human. The concept of forgiveness. True forgiveness, requires an idealized standard to strive for. Something atheism is inherently opposed to by its very nature.

Well, firstly, atheism isn't a full fledged religion or even a philosophy, it's a position a lack of one belief implying nothing else. It's a part of a variety of philosophies/idelogies and even some religious traditions, that don't always agree on everything.

So, treating atheism as a philosophical monolith makes this entire paragraph logically unsound.

 No.4920

>>4845
I said "atheism offers no incentives" which can still be true even if it's not a philosophical monolith. It doesn't offer anything. It's as you say, a position of lack of belief in a deity or an afterlife. It cannot offer incentives to be moral based on a reward because no being or place to deliver such a reward exists. Moreover, atheism also, logically comes with the idea that all morals are man-made, and thus arbitrary. An atheist can decided that vengeance is a virtue and forgiveness a weakness.

 No.4921

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>>4920
>Moreover, atheism also, logically comes with the idea that all morals are man-made, and thus arbitrary.

Christian morality is also fundamentally arbitrary. It's based on a command theory where metaethically, it's purely a matter of obedience to a moral authority, what ever is good is what the authority deems is good, no matter the reason. That logically implies that in christian religious morality, no characteristics of an action are of any relevance to whether or not it's good. All that matter is what the authority says is good.  

>An atheist can decided that vengeance is a virtue and forgiveness a weakness.

So do many many Christians.

I mean, it's not like blatant hypocrisy and self-serving interpretations are a phenomenon that Christanity has been immune from (I would argue that the strict  adherence leads to hypocrisy but that's for another time). It's not like having an incentive to forgive ever actually prevented any christian from holding a grudge. In fact this hypocrisy is pretty common to a lot of christians when it comes to LGBT family members, especially their own children, it's a tragically common story to this day.  

Also, no

>logically comes with the idea that all morals are man-made

While it's certainly true many atheist recognize that morals are man-made, this doesn't logically follow. Atheistic animistic or spiritual traditions don't necessarily believe morals are man made. And neither do some atheistic sects of Buddhism.

Oh and one more thing.

>An atheist can decided that vengeance is a virtue and forgiveness a weakness

True, they could decide all sorts of things are virtues for vices for all sorts of reasons.

But of course, making those kind of moral judgement calls is something that Christians (or really any religious person) does [i]before/i] they commit to it. Implying that they are valuing the religion based on their presexisitng moral values or their prosocial instincts.  So this is kind of irrelevant. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is right and wrong anyway.  

 No.4924

>>4837
I don't believe I can affirm that followers of a specific religion behave in ways that would have a negative impact on the function of society, at least where religious diversity must be tolerated.

 No.4927

I think in even the most direct scenarios, atheism is still such a minority that it wouldn't have a significant effect on forgiveness as a cultural movement.

But beyond that, I don't think forgiveness is strictly religious.  In fact, I don't think a majority of religious people even practice forgiveness in any displayable manner.  And surely we can't attribute every idea a religion has as exclusive, right?  Atheists likely aren't going to start murdering people any more than they'll stop forgiving people.

 No.4928

>>4927
I don't have the data on whether or not atheists commit more murders or support the death penalty more than religious people, so I can't say for sure if that's accurate or not. It stands to reason they would have less qualms about murder, but without evidence we can't know one way or another.

>>4921
I don't think morality is arbitrary. I think it stems from somewhere, even if it's not from a god or gods. Things that cause suffering to others, or prevent them from being happy are wrong. The issue here is the incentive. Without an incentive to think about others, it stands to reason atheists would be more like to indulge in hedonism. There is literally no reason to delay one's own satisfaction of getting vengeance or payback in an atheist's world. It makes them feel better, after all. I believe this is why religions (not just Christianity) have forgiveness built into them. It is the more healthy, but less immediately gratifying and much more difficult option. And people need to be incentized to take that route, or no one ever would.

 No.4929

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>>4927
>But beyond that, I don't think forgiveness is strictly religious.  In fact, I don't think a majority of religious people even practice forgiveness in any displayable manner.  And surely we can't attribute every idea a religion has as exclusive, right?  

In my opinion, a lot of religious practice is the attempt to convince oneself to follow their own prosocial instincts and defy their self-serving instincts.

It's essentially a third cognition aswaging the cognitive dissonance of both impulses being present in one person.

But because it's also a narrative that serves to give an overwhelming amount of soft power to relatively few individuals, of course it's going to take credit for everyone's prosocial impulses and their capacity for empathy and sympathy and hammer it into your head that without them you would have no prosocial impulses whatsoever. Don't underestimate the human capacity for lust for power.

>Atheists likely aren't going to start murdering people any more than they'll stop forgiving people.

Considering that unmanned military drone pilots can develop PTSD simply for being aware that they are actually killing people it would seem our instincts to avoid killing others is so ingrained as to completely fuck most of us up when we do it, sometimes no matter how much we try to reinforce a dehumanization of our enemies in order to repress that instinct.

>It stands to reason they would have less qualms about murder, but without evidence we can't know one way or another.

Or ... you can just ask them?

>>4928
>Without an incentive to think about others, it stands to reason atheists would be more like to indulge in hedonism

And this is still a unsound argument.

It assumes that the insensitive of not wanting to experience the trauma of murdering another person is somehow not sufficient enough of a reason to avoid murdering others.

>>4928
>There is literally no reason to delay one's own satisfaction of getting vengeance or payback in an atheist's world.

I mean, other than the logical consequences of how holding and reinforcing grudges in yourself leaves you emotionally broken, miserable, paranoid and is the catalyst for many emotionally dysfunctional relationships, then sure.


>It makes them feel better, after all.

citation needed, Uri Geller.

>It is the more healthy, but less immediately gratifying and much more difficult option.

completely disagree. Grudges are hardly gratifying at all. People hold them when they are hurt and angry. It hurts to hold a grudge. That's why grudges require ritual reinforcement to maintain even if that takes the form of obsessive rumination, and an intolerance for the fact the universe isn't fundamentally fair and just learning to accept those shitty moments when you can't get the comeuppance you want.


>And people need to be incentized to take that route, or no one ever would.

I don't disagree but I don't think this logically implies what you think it does. Most people are naturally pretty empathetic, with some exceptions, meaning, by default, they get invested in the well being and happiness of others in order to avoid pain. Unless you are a sociopath, then hedonism is why you want to cultivate empathy.

>I don't think morality is arbitrary. I think it stems from somewhere, even if it's not from a god or gods.

I don't disagree, I just point out that the logical implications of divine command theory is that it renders morals arbitrary.

Why? Because the justification for being good has literally nothing to do with any properties or traits of what actions are prohibited or encouraged, least of all the most typical consequences of those actions.

It's a meta-ethic that boils all moral principles into being little more than mere obedience and not something you pursue for it's own sake just because they're good.

It basically keeps people on the bottom wrung of piaget's ladder of moral development. It works like emotional abuse, the abuser (in this case, the theology itself) constantly tells the abuse victim that they are fundamentally terrible and can't be independent or self suffient whatsoever, like say what an abusive spouse does to an abused spouse in order to control them and keep them dependent.

 No.4930

>>4837
I think it's on the decline, but I believe it is the result of social media, not atheism.
There's a lot more social posturing these days. Admitting a mistake is harder as it will be held against you for years to come.

This said, the religious standard for forgiveness can be rather rough anyway. Too many I've known will accept an apology without any examination or caution. Often enough things will repeat as a result.
Better to be cautious. Don't condemn them for it, sure, but don't trust them in the same position either. Blind forgiveness without caution is dangerous in the same way a complete lack of forgiveness would be.

 No.4942

>>4929
>or you could just ask them?

Ask who? Atheists? That's a lot of people to ask!

>It assumes that the insensitive of not wanting to experience the trauma of murdering another person...

That only makes sense if you see murdering a person as traumatic. Not everyone does or would. Atheists don't belive there is punishment for murder outside of government laws. If you can conceal a murder from law-enforcement, you never face any penalty for that crime. Whereas religious people believe that you will be punished for murder even if you live your entire life without getting caught.

>I mean, other than the logical consequences of how holding and reinforcing grudges in yourself leaves you emotionally broken, miserable, paranoid ...It hurts to hold a grudge.

I'm not so sure about that. People hold grudges just fine, for years and years. If it were actually difficult or painful... People wouldn't do it. They'd just stop. They do not.

>Most people are naturally pretty empathetic, with some exceptions, meaning, by default...

If that were true, people would not hurt other people all the time. This is clearly not the case.

>>4930
>Admitting a mistake is harder as it will be held against you for years to come.

What? I don't think this what "social media" is doing. It doesn't target people who admit their mistakes and promise to improve. It exposes people who NEVER admit their mistakes and never strive to improve. No one points to an apology as evidence of a person's bad nature. Quite the opposite.


>Blind forgiveness without caution is dangerous in the same way a complete lack of forgiveness would be.

I can agree. But if someone apologizes and then repeats the behavior, their apology was not genuine. This means the fault is on them for lying, not on the people who trusted them and forgave them. So one needs to be cautious of liars, not of forgiving.

 No.5058

>>4942
>>4942
>Ask who? Atheists? That's a lot of people to ask!

Wouldn't that imply that your generalizations are not justified?

>>4942
>That only makes sense if you see murdering a person as traumatic. Not everyone does or would

Again more reason the generalization is not rationally justified.

It's not a matter of human nature, it's a matter of individual differences.

>Atheists don't belive there is punishment for murder outside of government laws.

That's not really relevant when things like empathy, sympathy, compassion and a desire to preserve that which one has a love for are also motivations for moral behavior, along with other possible motivations.

Either way that logically contradicts any logical justification for these naive generalizations.

>If you can conceal a murder from law-enforcement, you never face any penalty for that crime. Whereas religious people believe that you will be punished for murder even if you live your entire life without getting caught.

So un developmental psychology, there is a concept of moral development, piaget's moral ladder. What you are describing is essentially just the bottom wrung of that ladder, moral behavior as a means to avoid punishment and receive reward.

This is a naive understanding of human moral impulses. Most people grow into either in the second or third wrung of this ladder, conventional or post-conventional morality that is "moral behavior as a respect for fairness and social exchange" in the case of conventional morality or "moral behavior as an adherence to a formal set of principles".

>What? I don't think this what "social media" is doing. It doesn't target people who admit their mistakes and promise to improve. It exposes people who NEVER admit their mistakes and never strive to improve. No one points to an apology as evidence of a person's bad nature. Quite the opposite.

It's a matter of how many people react to the being in the spotlight to be self conscious of how others see you, and understanding how people in one's social circles would most likely judge someone by their actions. Some people fear looking weak in front of others, or find the humiliation of being very publicly mistaken. Hence why it trigger the reflexive doubling down, which is just a natural defense of ones self-esteem that few people lack but plenty can discipline themselves out of. that's just how ego and an insecure self-esteem works. This isn't a matter of something intrinsic to social media it's just a fact of human social cognition, instincts and drives that most (but not all) people have. Social Media and the increasing pressure to participate in it as a neccessary part of being informed and in touch with society as a whole around us leave many of us in a heightened state of self-consciousness within our own homes and otherwise private spaces.

>>4942
>If that were true, people would not hurt other people all the time. This is clearly not the case.

People hurt each other unwittingly all the time and anyone can be primed to supress their empathy, if we couldn't, then we couldn't be convinced to go to war and kill others, but in order for us to do that we must be convinced that who we are killing is not human.

The other most common motivation for people to hurt other people is fear. Fear is the human condition and it distorts our ability to see others we fear as human ourselves. In other words, people are perfectly capable of empathizing with others and in fact do so by default, unless they feel threatened, then they're naturally biased to believe whatever feels safest to assume is true. Xenophobia is the single greatest cause of violence, it fuels wars and genocides and pogroms and mass violence. It's not motivated by a lack of empathy, but a fear fueled by empathy that gives us more people to fear losing to what we find vaguely threatening. We hurt some to protect others, because of empathy.

Empathy is a double edged sword.

>>4942
>But if someone apologizes and then repeats the behavior, their apology was not genuine.

That's not always true either. People can change their minds after the fact. That doesn't mean that there was never a time in which their apologies weren't sincere.

But apologizing is humiliating and sometimes people fail to have a tolerance for that humility and the act of simply apologizing is too painful for them and their egos.

Of course this is not true of everyone cause this is just a variable personality trait, some people are just more humble than others and more easily accept their mistakes. Others need to discipline themselves. >>4942

>This means the fault is on them for lying, not on the people who trusted them and forgave them.

I mean, it's perfectly probable and very common that some people are just hypocrites.

If anything can be said to be true about human nature is that people are jumbled messes of conflicting impulses rooted un the fact that different parts of our brains are older than other parts in terms of evolution, and find themselves in conflict with other parts. Typically people find themselves conflicted between desires motivated by survival needs and desires motivated by social needs given that we are social creatures. How we deal with that conflict is a matter of individual differences in personality, emotional development, and worldview.

>So one needs to be cautious of liars, not of forgiving.

More importantly one needs to be cautious of baseless assumptions about possible motivations for a lie. Not all of them are for the purpose of manipulation or hurting another person. Parents lie to their kids about things that might be too complicated for them to undeserved at a young age to assuage fear and anxiety for instance. People lie to protect others feelings.

When I would most often lie, it was to my dad when I was in school because of all his neuroses around eating and food. Like on tgose days when I was in middle school and my mother would end up making the same thing for dinner I had at the lunch cafeteria, my dad had a lot of neuroses about me eating the same meal twice in one day, always making an ordeal of things if my mother picked the wrong dinner, and sometimes this would lead to fights with my mother, so I would lie to my dad so he wouldn't pick a fight with my mother. Not all lying is motivated by malice.

 No.5069

>>5058
> Some people fear looking weak in front of others, or find the humiliation of being very publicly mistaken.

That sounds massively insecure and immature. People can learn to admit their mistakes and be wrong. It's not social media's fault that some people refuse to do so.

>Social Media and the increasing pressure to participate in it as a neccessary part of being informed and in touch with society as a whole around us leave many of us in a heightened state of self-consciousness within our own homes and otherwise private spaces.

I mean... good? You should be aware of your actions and deeds and whether those things are wrong. People need to be called out when they are shitty and if you're constantly being called it, it's time to examine your shitty behavior.

>Empathy is a double edged sword.
I'm not sure how empathy could cause you to hurt people. If it does, it's not really empathy. It's selective empathy towards a small group you've deemed worthy of it. Both of these things are not the same thing. One needs a different word to describe it, because calling both "empathy" is not helpful.

>But apologizing is humiliating and sometimes people fail to have a tolerance for that humility and the act of simply apologizing is too painful for them and their egos.

Again, that sounds incredibly insecure and immature. Apologizing is not humiliating. Not if you genuinely care. What would be humiliating would be to continue to hurt someone out of your own insecurity/immaturity. I've NEVER thought lesser of a person who apologized, but I've always thought lesser of people who refuse to.

>my dad had a lot of neuroses about me eating the same meal twice in one day

Was this being hyperbolic? Because this very same idea (eating the same meal twice in one day being undesired) was used as a comedy bit on the Simpsons.

 No.5289

>>5069
>It's not social media's fault that some people refuse to do so.

You're right, human nature is to blame. People fear those things that hurt them, including humiliation or "losing face", and respond with a "fight, flight or freeze" response to those things they fear.

Social media just lets all the potential pitfalls of human nature of greatest consequence to social relationships, and to the media we consume, get magnified.

>I mean... good? You should be aware of your actions and deeds and whether those things are wrong. People need to be called out when they are shitty and if you're constantly being called it, it's time to examine your shitty behavior.

I meant that it primes people to see a judgemental or competitive subtext to other's actions that might not actually be there. Basically, social media makes people far more concerned about what other's think of them beyond the point of what's even reasonable to interpret as competitive or as judgemental.

>I'm not sure how empathy could cause you to hurt people. If it does, it's not really empathy.

Empathy causes one to empathize with another's lack of ability to empathize with someone who hurt them. Empathy can literally lead people to having their empathy guided by another's lack of empathy. In fact this collective empathization with a victim of a crime committed by an outsider is the very thing that fuels wars. I.e. like Pearl Harbor, everyone empathized with the vicitms and in turn that led to hate for not only the perpetrators, but the perpetrators entire nation. The empathy for the dead in pearl harbor led to the dehumanization of Japanese people regardless of whether or not individually they would have supported their government's war campaign, and even if they weren't actually Japanese citizens.  

Empathy is not a moral compass, it's just the ability to feel what other people feel, that doesn't necessarily lead to moral behavior.

Empathy can lead parents to deny their children's personal autonomy by becoming a helicopter parent in order to prevent the child from accidentally hurting themselves emotionally ... and cause the parent to hurt empathetically in turn. Thus a helicopter parent is driven by anxious need to control as much as possible in their child's life for the sake of their own avoidance of pain.

Empathy can also lead to callousness and social ostracization or "ghosting" when people find empathizing with another person to be nothing but painful and thus try and disconnect from the person in constant pain in order to not get infected with that same pain.

>It's selective empathy towards a small group you've deemed worthy of it. Both of these things are not the same thing. One needs a different word to describe it, because calling both "empathy" is not helpful.

That's how empathy works though, it frequently becomes myopic as when we over empathize we empathize with other people's grudges and they become our grudges, their pain becomes our pain and their hate becomes our hate.

empathy is just the ability to feel others feelings.

I think you might be thinking of compassion or sympathy rather than empathy. Which are not based on one's ability to empathize with another person but based more on one's emotional quotient and the understanding of potential emotions.

>>5069
>Again, that sounds incredibly insecure and immature. Apologizing is not humiliating. Not if you genuinely care.

It's humiliating to those who interpret it as admitting defeat. It's humiliating to one's own narcissism and self-esteem. It's humiliating and hurtful to those people who might interpret apologizing as implying they are a bad person, even in those situations where all a person is guilty of is a mistake in judgement. And of course, they will double down if they are accused of doing things deliberately when they actually just made a mistake. That's just how people work.

>Was this being hyperbolic? Because this very same idea (eating the same meal twice in one day being undesired) was used as a comedy bit on the Simpsons.

No, that's just what happens with generalized anxiety disorder. You're brain's anxiety respond is going off spontaneously, or is easily triggered by even the slightest bit of chaos or unpredictability or inability to control something one finds important. That's just how it works. It's a disorder


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