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Author Topic: Living your Ethics  (Read 6661 times)
HeartShadow - Cutethulhu
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« Topic Start: October 09, 2007, 09:47:22 am »

Most religions have ethical strictures, either overt or covert.

What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?

If it's a recon religion, how have these strictures changed from before?

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FlameKeeping pretty much says: treat people as Divine, and improve the Universe.  There's a lot of detail under that, of course, but that's the rubric.

As far as how I live up to them?  Well, some days are better than others, of course.  Most days, it's a chop wood/carry water kind of thing.  Living up to my obligations, because failing them would damage the whole.  (if only because it damages me).

I also try to do a "think global, act local" kind of thing.  If I mess up my family, I've not only NOT improved the Universe, I've messed up my own nest at the same time.  It's a very pragmatic sort of ethics while still being community focused.

I wouldn't say I live up to it as much as I'd like to .. but it's a very complicated system for such a simple statement.  Because how much improvement is /enough/?  Until we find Utopia?  (I don't believe in utopias!)  So I do what I can, and hope it's good enough.
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« Reply #1: October 09, 2007, 10:02:11 am »

Most religions have ethical strictures, either overt or covert.

What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?

If it's a recon religion, how have these strictures changed from before?


The only ones I can think of at the moment are the Delphic Maxims: "Know Thyself" and "Nothing in Excess" or something along those lines.

The first one, I believe life is about trying to find yourself.  Many go their entire lives without trying to understand their deepest nature.  When it comes to myself, I feel that I am what I am.  I can't change it and neither can anyone else.

The second one I've been trying to do more recently.  I've started to eat in moderation and cut back on the number of sodas I drink daily.  And I'm taking steps to curb procrastination (excess free time that I could be using for studying/homework)

I don't generally call myself a recon, but my religion is recon-esque.  I don't think these values have changed much.  If anything we need them more today than we ever did.
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« Reply #2: October 09, 2007, 10:20:18 am »

The first one, I believe life is about trying to find yourself.  Many go their entire lives without trying to understand their deepest nature.  When it comes to myself, I feel that I am what I am.  I can't change it and neither can anyone else.

I'd also heard (and I don't have a proper source here, just, "I think it was in a discussion here at TC, maybe", so take this with a grain of salt) that "know thyself" indicated that one should know one's place in the world.  Avoid hubris, know your limitations as a human being, Icarus, Arachne, that kind of thing.

More general response now:

I think I'd go with those two Maxims as being pretty important to me too, although (if I can be the annoying sort of newbie for a moment) I'm really still exploring Hellenic ethics, so I can't comment with any kind of authority about them in a general sense.  I don't do a lot about them consciously, I suppose, but they're sort of rules that line up with the way I try to live my life anyway.  I think I have mixed success, but...  human, you know?  I do my best and try to improve on "my best" when I can.
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« Reply #3: October 09, 2007, 11:46:31 am »

I'd also heard (and I don't have a proper source here, just, "I think it was in a discussion here at TC, maybe", so take this with a grain of salt) that "know thyself" indicated that one should know one's place in the world.  Avoid hubris, know your limitations as a human being, Icarus, Arachne, that kind of thing.

*facepalm*

And there is that aspect of it.  I seem to be forgetful this week.  But yeah, knowing your place in the universe is another aspect of it.
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« Reply #4: October 09, 2007, 03:15:27 pm »

What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?

Pathway of the Gods' ethical structure basically goes: Live up to your Code of Honor (which you create as part of the beginning pathwork) and be responsible for yourself, your words and your actions.

I do my best to live these things every moment of my life. It's not always easy...it can be a fine line to tread and it can be taken too far in either direction, but I don't expect myself or anyone else to be perfect.
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« Reply #5: October 09, 2007, 10:58:26 pm »

Most religions have ethical strictures, either overt or covert.

What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?

Briefly:

There's the 'common knowledge' stuff like the long Rede and the Charge of the Goddess. I think both of these fall into the "Advice worth thinking about before you do something contrary" category, rather than 'ethical stricture', but they also imply a whole bunch of things not only about behavior, but how one thinks through behavior.

Beyond that, my oaths are the most 'stricture' like part of the deal. Without going into detail that isn't appropriate, they do commit me to doing some things (mostly doing my best to help or take action in some specific kinds of settings), commit me to not doing other things (breaking the oath, for example!) and provide guidance on important priorities in a bunch of other more general cases.

I think I largely live up to them. There's places I fail - and in particular, the places where I fail have to do with trying to find balance and energy to do the things that require deliberate action at times. (I may be able to show up for something, but I can't, for example, always manage both mirth *and* reverence: there are things about that set of lines that are an ethical teaching for me.) Which is okay: the most important part is trying.
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« Reply #6: October 10, 2007, 01:45:55 am »

Most religions have ethical strictures, either overt or covert.

What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?


Well my religion essentially says:

1. All is divine, divine is all.
2. Consequently we are all connected. 
3. Be like the Tao, and do not disturb its ways. or in simple terms "be like a river, or the wind etc".
4. Positive and negative are just relative (relativism) and should be not treated as absolute truths.


There are of course MANY MANY repercussions of this. For example, I treat EVERYONE and everything equally. From a blade of grass to my own sister. Another repurcussion is that I death to me, is not the end nor is birth the begining. We just go back to Nature from whence we came. Most of my other beliefs are from Taoism. The strange thing is I had these beleifs WAY before i knew about taoism. Learning about taoism just let me know that there are others that believe as I do. 

As for how I live it. It's mostly an attitude thing. I am not bothered by most things that would normally bother people. I am generally quite humble, most of my friends will tell you its not very hard to step all over me. On the other hand, I speak my mind, and do as I feel most of the time, since that is the way of the Tao. I feel nature knows best, and what comes naturally to someone is always for the "best". Consequently, most of my behaviour is very disturbing to people from the western culture, where it is a rule to respect peoples feelings. Where one does as one is told, and not as one should according to their nature and so on. It's not for everyone of course, i recognise that.  my religion is so, because there are others taht DO NOT follow it.


Most of this stuff can be classified as
"Be like a river".

A river is calm and slow, it reaches its goal in the end. It does not mind taking detours. On the other hand, a river can also be destructive (take niagara falls for example) if it so feels like, if that is what its nature is at that time. But mostly if you throw a rock into the river it will just go around it (but do not forget that it is also slowly carving into the rock its original path, slowly it is doing without acting, or meaning to).

-Tj
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« Reply #7: October 10, 2007, 08:00:09 pm »

Most religions have ethical strictures, either overt or covert.
What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?

In my tradition we have a list of Principles. I wouldn't say these are ethical strictures, but they are guidelines for behavior which tends to foster spiritual growth. They aren't rules that must be obeyed, and we highly discourage people from using them as "a stick to beat your neighbor with". There is a huge range of interpretation of them, and they are ideals, not something one can expect to do 100% all the time. So in that sense, they aren't something you can "live up to". They are more like something you can aim yourself towards.

In short form, they are...
Quote from: Principles of Clarity
1. I will maintain purity of body.
2. I will maintain simplicity in my possessions.
3. I will strive for clarity of words.
4. I will strive to live sustainably on the Earth.
5. I will place no commitment of the heart above my commitment to my spiritual path.
6. I will commit only to honorable work.
7. I will maintain clarity in all relationships.
8. I will strive for purity in my sexuality.
9. I will sustain clarity of faith.
10. I will submit humbly to honorable authority.
11. I will maintain loyalty to the endurance of my community.
12. I will strive always for mindfulness and clarity of soul.

They are described in more detail here, but I know from being flamed on TC some time ago that these are easy to misinterpret if you don't know anything else about our tradition. I'll just say that if you think one of these means something awful, you are probably interpreting it in a way that would make someone who is actively involved in Asphodel laugh. For instance, a number of our folks set the bar for "honorable authority" so high that #10 only applies to the gods, and maybe only a select few of Them.

In any case, some of these I'm better at than others. I'm not so great with purity of body - I grumble a lot about wanting food that I know isn't good for me. I don't get enough sleep on a regular schedule. That sort of thing. But I'm not acting with reckless disregard for my body, so I'm making progress. It is all about progress, not perfection. On the other hand, #2 comes naturally to me. That isn't a mark of my moral superiority, just who I am. It is the points where you struggle that show your character.

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« Reply #8: October 10, 2007, 09:49:31 pm »

The only ones I can think of at the moment are the Delphic Maxims: "Know Thyself" and "Nothing in Excess" or something along those lines.

The first one, I believe life is about trying to find yourself.  Many go their entire lives without trying to understand their deepest nature.  When it comes to myself, I feel that I am what I am.  I can't change it and neither can anyone else.

The second one I've been trying to do more recently.  I've started to eat in moderation and cut back on the number of sodas I drink daily.  And I'm taking steps to curb procrastination (excess free time that I could be using for studying/homework)

I don't generally call myself a recon, but my religion is recon-esque.  I don't think these values have changed much.  If anything we need them more today than we ever did.
 

I seem to have a tendancy not to try and define  my belief system.  Possibly because they seem to be at least partially fluid and second because I don't like absolutes.

But those two certainly fit within my system of beliefs, as does a form of behavior towards others and the universe.
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« Reply #9: October 10, 2007, 10:43:59 pm »

The only ones I can think of at the moment are the Delphic Maxims: "Know Thyself" and "Nothing in Excess" or something along those lines.

Here's a very short article on Hellenic Ethics.
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« Reply #10: October 11, 2007, 09:13:18 am »

Here's a very short article on Hellenic Ethics.

Ah, thanks Smiley
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« Reply #11: October 11, 2007, 03:08:08 pm »


Those are beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cheesy
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« Reply #12: October 12, 2007, 01:30:57 pm »

Most religions have ethical strictures, either overt or covert.

What are your religion's ethical strictures?  Do you live up to them?

If it's a recon religion, how have these strictures changed from before?

I would get most of my guidelines from the Wisdom Literature (Ptah-hotep is my favourite so far) and the Negative Confessions. It sounds like a lot of rules but most are common sense things like "Don't steal", "Don't be a snot", or "Don't sleep with someone else's spouse". I've sadly had a problem with the second one lately, but overall, I'm doing pretty well.

Of course, there are some cultural specifics like "Don't steal offerings left for the gods" that don't really apply but the majority still holds.
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« Reply #13: October 12, 2007, 04:00:53 pm »

Of course, there are some cultural specifics like "Don't steal offerings left for the gods" that don't really apply but the majority still holds.

I don't know if offerings in an AE temple would be tossed out, consumed by the priests, or shared with the poor, but if the third then this instruction does have a corollary in modern life.  Not stealing offerings meant for the gods could equate to not fraudulently receiving charity.  It could cover things like getting welfare under false pretenses, or going to the food bank because you want to use your grocery money to party with, that kind of thing.

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« Reply #14: October 12, 2007, 04:49:13 pm »

I would get most of my guidelines from the Wisdom Literature (Ptah-hotep is my favourite so far) and the Negative Confessions. It sounds like a lot of rules but most are common sense things like "Don't steal", "Don't be a snot", or "Don't sleep with someone else's spouse". I've sadly had a problem with the second one lately, but overall, I'm doing pretty well.

Of course, there are some cultural specifics like "Don't steal offerings left for the gods" that don't really apply but the majority still holds.

The basics of kemetic ethics, for me, would be "uphold ma'at" - support and uphold the structure that makes life possible. That means working to enforce social structures and rules, for example, doing little things that bring order over chaos (Darkhawk has a really nice piece about how part of upholding ma'at at its most basic level involves putting shooping carts back where they belong. Not on my own computer now, so don't have the link handy), being oil in the wheels of the world rather than sand. If you look at it that way, it both changed a lot over the ages and has stayed the same. The principle hasn't changed, but the specifics of "how do I act towards others to make the social process work" has definitely changed.

Being a citydweller, ma'at, for me, is very much a social thing - working to get along with people, treating people right, not standing by and doing nothing when others maltreat eachother. But ma'at is also about environmental awareness. The "proper" functioning of nature is a part of the structures of life (and therefore ma'at) as well, and so I'm responsible for my part in upholding that as well. Basically: structures and order make life, make creation. Without it, there is nothing. The being nothing is bad, and the world tends to degrade in to chaos and nothing if we don't work on it. So we're supposed to work on fixing chaos.

That doesn't mean there's no value in wisdom literature or the Negative Confessions (in whichever variation of 42 you happen to come across) - but to me, they're interpretations, and represent how people thought they should shape the upholding of ma'at in that day and age. But if ma'at is order, and our orders are not the orders of that time, then upholding ma'at means something different, in practical terms, from what it did in that day and age.

--Chabas
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