The human immune system is a vital defense system for the human being against the environment. Yet there is evidence that in arteriosclerosis that is a part of aging the immune system attacks the surfaces of blood vessels and contributes to the development of plaque and the cut off of circulation. Sometimes autoimmune disorders arise which cause diseases such as lupus and gastrointestinal disease. In these examples the defense is dangerous because it attacks the wrong target.
In order to defend ourselves against disease we often take medication that has side effects that can be harmful. In cancer treatment the defense of chemotherapy and radiation therapy attacks both cancerous and noncancerous cells. In these cases the defense is attacking both the right and the wrong targets. During surgery it is often necessary to remove some healthy tissue in order to remove the unhealthy tissue. During surgery it is always necessary to take risks which can result in the loss of the life of the person you are trying to save. So another problem with defensive action is the risks it entails.
When a country spends money on it's military to defend itself, although those expenditures may be necessary, they also are likely to have self destructive consequences the first being that they divert resources from the economy. The second is that the weapons may accidentally go off. In the case of nuclear missiles there is a danger that they will detonate. This is analogous to the immune system attacking the wrong target. Missiles may accidentally fire and lead to war with another country. When a country embarks on military operations in order to defend itself, it risks harming innocent civilians and of course risks it's own people's lives. This is analogous to the risks taken in surgery.
Building up a strong defense is good as long as the person or group or country who does it stays good. Military strength resulting from what was originally intended to be a defensive buildup, may tempt a country to embark on bad imperialistic adventures.
If one owns a store in a bad neighborhood one may be approached by gangsters for protection money. The defensive action of paying the protection money results in strengthening the gangsters and encouraging them to demand more. In this case the defensive action of appeasement leads to negative consequences. The defensive action of calling the police may encourage the gangsters to attack oneself.
In mental illness involving paranoia, the patient is usually trying to defend his or herself against the perceived enemy. The constant state of alert and fear can lead to exhaustion and perhaps to other harmful side effects. The defensive actions taken by the mentally ill in defending against the perceived target is likely to hurt innocent people.
If one defends oneself from constructive criticism with a hostile reaction one will not benefit from the criticism and will antagonize those trying to help.
In summary defensive action can be self destructive because it diverts one's energies from other productive endeavors, it may harm the wrong target including oneself and it may create enemies and lead to an antagonistic response from those enemies.
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