by Hans Sebald Beham, 1540]]
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Patience (pā-shəns) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast. Antonyms include hasty and impetuous.
In evolutionary psychology and in cognitive neuroscience, patience is studied as a decision-making problem, involving the choice of either a small reward in a short span of time, or a more valuable reward after a long period of time. All animals, humans included, discount future rewards—the present value of delayed rewards is viewed as less than the value of immediate rewards.
In a 2005 study involving common marmosets and cottontop tamarins, both species faced a self-control paradigm in which individuals chose between taking an immediate small reward and waiting a variable amount of time for a large reward. Under these conditions, marmosets waited significantly longer for food than tamarins. This difference cannot be explained by life history, social behaviour or brain size. It can, however, be explained by feeding ecology: marmosets rely on gum, a food product acquired by waiting for exudate to flow from trees, whereas tamarins feed on insects, a food product requiring impulsive action. Foraging ecology, therefore, may provide a selective pressure for the evolution of self-control.
Patience is often described as a core virtue in religion or spiritual practices. For example, Job is a figure that appears in the Hebrew Bible, Christian Bible and the Qur'an; his story is considered a profound religious work. At its core, the theme is the co-existence of evil and God and the application of patience is highlighted as the antidote to the earthly struggles caused by that co-existence. The plot of the book is that Job endures near-apocalyptic calamities without losing his patience or reproaching Divine Providence. In the Qur'an, the person of Job is actually known as Ayyūb (Arabic: أيوب ), which is a name that is symbolic of the virtue of patience (although it does not mean patience in itself).
Patience and fortitude are prominent themes in Judaism. The Talmud extols patience as an important personal trait. The story of Micah, for example, is that he suffers many challenging conditions and yet endures, saying "I will wait for the God who saves me." Patience in God, it is said, will aid believers in finding the strength to be delivered from the evils that are inherent in the physical life.
In the Hebrew Bible, patience is referred to in several proverbs, such as "The patient man shows much good sense, but the quick-tempered man displays folly at its height" (Proverbs 14:29, NAB); "An ill-tempered man stirs up strife, but a patient man allays discord." (Proverbs 15:18, NAB); and "A patient man is better than a warrior, and he who rules his temper, than he who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32). The emotion is also discussed in other sections, such as Ecclesiastes: "Better is the patient spirit than the lofty spirit. Do not in spirit become quickly discontented, for discontent lodges in the bosom of a fool." (Ecclesiastes 7:8-9, NAB).
In the Christian religion, patience is one of the most valuable virtues of life. Increasing patience is viewed as the work of the Holy Ghost in the Christian who has accepted the gift of salvation. While patience is not one of the traditional biblical three theological virtues nor one of the traditional four cardinal virtues, it is one of the seven virtues, alongside chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, kindness, and humility.
In the Christian Bible, patience is referred to in several sections. The Book of Proverbs note that "through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone" (Proverbs 25:14-16, NIV); Ecclesiastes points out that the "end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride" (Ecclesiastes 7:7-9, NIV); and Thessalonians states that we should "be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good for each other and for all" (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, NAB). In the Epistle of James, the Bible urges Christians to be patient, and " see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,...until it receives the early and the late rains." (James 5:7-11, NAB). In Galatians, patience is listed as one of the "fruit of the Spirit": "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law". (Galatians 5:21-23, NIV). In Timothy, the Bible states that "Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life".(1 Timothy 1:15-17, NIV).
Patience in Islam is one of the best and most valuable virtues of life. Through patience, a Muslim believes that an individual can grow closer to Allah and thus attain true peace. It is also stressed in Islam, that Allah is with those who are patient, more specifically during suffering. Some of the Quran verses about patience urge Muslims to "seek God (Allah)'s help with patient perseverance and prayer" (2:45) and "give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere" (2:155-157). The Quran states that Muslims should "Persevere in patience and constancy" (3:200) and "be steadfast in patience" (11:115). It notes that "No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (41:35).
As well, the Quran states that "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West. But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, And the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; To spend of your substance, out of love for Him, For your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; To be steadfast in prayer And give in charity; To fulfill the contracts which you have made; And to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity And throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing." Qur'an 2:177
The Muslim faith believes that without a good spirit while enduring, the struggle will not bear its full reward, thus, Patiently persevering, striving and going forward, despite the difficulty, is the pinnacle of behavior during challenging times. Through every difficulty, Allah promises, there will be found relief upon its conclusion. Instead of wanting to skip challenging times, and avoid them, Allah is teaching that the way to the easing, is through, the difficulty. It takes Patient Perseverance, or enduring with a good spirit still intact, in order to reap both the internal and external rewards of struggle.
In Buddhism, patience (Skt.: kshanti; Pali: khanti) is one of the "perfections" (paramitas) that a bodhisattva trains in and practices to realize perfect enlightenment (bodhi). Patience is recognized within Hinduism in the Bhagavad Gita. In both Hinduism and Buddhism there is a particular emphasis on meditation, aspects of which lead to a natural state of mindfulness that is conducive to patient, effective and well-organised thought.
In Human, All Too Human, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that "being able to wait is so hard that the greatest poets did not disdain to make the inability to wait the theme of their poetry." He notes that "Passion will not wait", and gives the example of cases of duels, in which the "advising friends have to determine whether the parties involved might be able to wait a while longer. If they cannot, then a duel is reasonable [because]...to wait would be to continue suffering the horrible torture of offended honor...".
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Middle English pacience from Old French pacience (modern: patience), from Latin patientia. Displaced native Middle English thuld, thuild "patience" (from Old English þyld "patience"), Middle English thole "patience" (from Old Norse þol "patience, endurance"), Middle English bilǣfing, bileaving "patience, perseverance, remaining" (from Old English belǣfan "to endure, survive").