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Author Topic: Responsibility and Paganism  (Read 37758 times)
HeartShadow - Cutethulhu
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« Reply #75: April 03, 2008, 07:36:05 am »

My thought was more related to the idea that you are 'responsible' to be aware of the 'possible' outcomes to any action that you take. That had you taken alternative actions in the first place, any reaction that you receive or have received may have been altered or not existed in the first place.

Looks to me like that's still saying "shit happens".

And there's a HUGE difference between foreseeable and unforeseeable outcomes.  I can be responsible for stuff where I could see it coming (yes, it's still a stupid idea to walk down a bad area of town at midnight by myself, even though it's the mugger's fault for mugging me) - but I fail to see how one is *responsible* for things one cannot control or predict.

if a meteor hits my house tomorrow, am I responsible because I bought it?  Or is it just one of those things, and you just pick up and go from there?

I'm not taking responsibility for meteor-strikes, even if I did choose the house.
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« Reply #76: April 03, 2008, 08:01:10 am »

if a meteor hits my house tomorrow, am I responsible because I bought it?  Or is it just one of those things, and you just pick up and go from there?

If a very large meteor or comet hits the Earth and wipes out human life are you partially responsible for choosing to live on the Earth (or choosing to live in this star system)? If you beathe in some random germ and get real sick, are you responsible because you choose to breathe rather than to kill yourself (as killing yourself is the only way to choose to not breathing since breathing is not totally under your conscious control)? This type of stuff is what has always make me reject the "you share responsibility for everything that happens to you" argument. No matter what clothes the argument wears, it always reduces to absurd claims of responsibility for things where you had no meaningful choice and no reliable way to know enough to make a rational choice.
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« Reply #77: April 03, 2008, 08:47:20 am »

My thought was more related to the idea that you are 'responsible' to be aware of the 'possible' outcomes to any action that you take. That had you taken alternative actions in the first place, any reaction that you receive or have received may have been altered or not existed in the first place. Basically that we don't have a direct destiny that everything in life is subject to change with the actions you make in the first place.

But you also seem to be saying that there are theoretically an infinite number of possibe outcomes.  (And I'd broadly agree).

In practise I don't see how being aware that "anything" could happen is different from not considering any outcomes at all.
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« Reply #78: April 03, 2008, 02:58:49 pm »

The main point of saying that the laws may be changed, comes more from the fact that they were created in the first place. If something can be created, it can be altered, it can be uncreated. Our understandings of those laws are pretty irrelevant if you take it from that perspective.
(bolding mine)

For one thing, I don't necessarily believe that the structure of the universe were "created" as such. (I'm going to stop using the term "laws" because that makes it sound kind of artificial.) It's possible that the universe is in its current form by pure chance.

Yes, our understanding of the structure of the universe is irrelevant to its actual nature. To whit, you have no more evidence to claim it can be altered than I have to claim that it can not. And I don't claim to know for sure; all I really know is that the universe has apparently not changed its structure since the first second after the Big Bang.
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« Reply #79: April 03, 2008, 03:22:13 pm »

Looks to me like that's still saying "shit happens".

I think he's saying "humans have free will, therefore shit happens."

And that "the universe is not deterministic and free will is one of its shaping forces." Now I think about it, that could be where he was going with all the physics talk. Of course, insofar as we're not Slaads living in the Plane of Chaos, there's a big difference between that and "nothing is impossible".
 
I must admit that this, though:
There are of course outside choices that affect us. I did say that? Such as the muggers choice to mug us, that is their outside choice that directly affects us. This would be the same as the brain damage etc.

put me in mind of a hernia fairy fluttering around choosing to afflict people. Wink
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« Reply #80: April 03, 2008, 03:52:19 pm »

put me in mind of a hernia fairy fluttering around choosing to afflict people. Wink

Damn it, I KNEW it.  stupid hernia fairies.

*gets a shotgun and goes a'huntin*
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« Reply #81: April 03, 2008, 06:07:39 pm »

Damn it, I KNEW it.  stupid hernia fairies.

*gets a shotgun and goes a'huntin*

No, no, no.  Dont' shoot her.  Leave your brain under your pillow tonight instead.  Maybe she'll being you...well, I was going to say a dollar, but your brain is worth muchmroe than that.   Grin
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« Reply #82: April 03, 2008, 06:57:45 pm »

Damn it, I KNEW it.  stupid hernia fairies.

*gets a shotgun and goes a'huntin*

*gives silver shotgun pellets. And beer.*

I hear it helps if you inscribe a pentagram on the back of some flypaper.
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« Reply #83: April 04, 2008, 07:16:15 am »

No, no, no.  Dont' shoot her.  Leave your brain under your pillow tonight instead.  Maybe she'll being you...well, I was going to say a dollar, but your brain is worth muchmroe than that.   Grin

*cuddles her brain* my brain!  She can't have it!  mine mine mine!

it's okay, brain, she didn't mean it .. awww, it's okay ... *snuggles*
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« Reply #84: April 04, 2008, 07:27:01 am »


I think  the best way to try and sum all of it up, would be to take it from another point.. Basically what I'm trying to say is I don't believe in fate, destiny; in that everything can be changed, any event can go a different way through the choices that we make. So perhaps responsibility is not the best word to use but, a responsibility to yourself, to understand and know the possible outcomes to any action that you take, in order to create the best possible outcome for yourself and those around you, through your own actions. As I said, it's really completely different from choices and actions others make towards you... Which goes onto the next point as well.


I can perfectly understand why you and for that matter many others would want to stay away from the idea, in the instances you mentioned and that of other similar points. The reason I can allow myself to believe this thought, is more related to my personal beliefs over the universe and existence as a whole. Which leads onto the thought that everything is in reality merely subsections of one thing. Therefore though they are events/actions that happen to you on a very 'personal' level. Or to the specific entity that you consider to be you. They are again choices of the over all entity that is everything in existence, the universe included.
Again that's personal belief and the way I come to understand the universe so I can't expect people to think it makes sense or that it is at all reasonable. Merely my own understanding and why I can come to the reason that choice is everything, even in seeming events that can't possibly be controlled by our own 'individual' selves.


Again, I think I've already answered this point, there are of course almost infinite number of possibilities. The statement however is that you are 'responsible' to yourself, to consider at least as many outcomes of every action you take, to undertake the best possible one. Whether people find that practical or not, is a different matter but it is something, I try to achieve.


I personally would consider the universe to be created, not by another force, exactly but by itself. In the sense of the universe we know to be created from the finite energy that has always existed. Our universe to me, is merely an alternative form of the energy in it's 'chosen' entity.

I think the other points have already been covered...

I apologise for all the confusion. I know my views are somewhat different from well... Most other people and as such, it's often rather difficult to explain them.  Undecided
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« Reply #85: April 04, 2008, 11:45:49 am »

Responsibility and Paganism

In general I would agree with the article.  The problem I always have with discussions on responsibility is just how much is mine?  The spectrum seems to run the gamut from Christianity's "The Lord moves in mysterious ways." to The Secret "Your life right now is a reflection of your past thoughts.  That includes all the great things, and all the things you consider not so great." (The Secret, page 9). 

I've come across a couple of organizations that teach you're responsible for everything that happens in your life.  Everything.  Typically the teaching is something akin to having setup your life in some manner, shape or form before entering into the physical realm so Soul can have experiences here and take that knowledge back.  Whatever is happening in your life is obviously because you, as Soul, wanted to have that experience so meditate on it so you can understand it.

Another variation is the western variation of Karma.  "Bad things happen in my life because I was a bad person in a previous life."  Rarely do you hear of anyone using this argument when things go right.

I find this quite frustrating.  How can I be held responsible for making a decision or taking an action that, not only do I not recall, didn't even take place in this life?!  I can take responsibility for the actions and decisions that I consciously make in this life.  It may not be fun but at least I can understand the cause and effect relationship.  If I'm supposed to be responsible for the decisons made as Soul then how am I supposed to focus on this physical incarnation?

On the flip side, this view point can be quite disempowering.  You never know when something's going to happen, you can't stop it because for all intents and purposes it's pre-ordained and it's all your fault.  Good luck with that.  Now go meditate on it.

I agree that there is more to life than that which we see before us physically.  I agree with the concept of reincarnation.  I agree with being responsible.  I just want to understand where my area of responsibility lies and where it doesn't.

I'm sorry if this doesn't quite make sense.  It's a bit of a muddle in my head too.
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« Reply #86: April 04, 2008, 11:56:22 am »


I find this quite frustrating.  How can I be held responsible for making a decision or taking an action that, not only do I not recall, didn't even take place in this life?!  I can take responsibility for the actions and decisions that I consciously make in this life.  It may not be fun but at least I can understand the cause and effect relationship.  If I'm supposed to be responsible for the decisons made as Soul then how am I supposed to focus on this physical incarnation?

On the flip side, this view point can be quite disempowering.  You never know when something's going to happen, you can't stop it because for all intents and purposes it's pre-ordained and it's all your fault.  Good luck with that.  Now go meditate on it.


It's attitudes like those you are frustrated with that make me say "the meaning of life is zygotes making more zygotes".  Because, let's face it' shit happens.  Period.  When my brother was dying (in his 30's) of leukemia, his wife's grandmother told her that he was sick because she had divorced her first husband.  When she told me this I told her her grandmother was lucky I wasn't there when she said it - I would have smacked her.  Shit happens and zygotes make more zygotes. 

I fully agree that we need to be responsible for our actions, but I am not going to believe that some random thought that I never act on is going to shape the rest of my life!
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« Reply #87: April 04, 2008, 01:08:27 pm »



Let me see if I can summarise what you're trying to say.

Everyone is part of one thing, which makes choices.  Everything that happens, presumably, is because of a choice this thing made.  (so I guess we can blame the universe for muggings, nail bombs etc, *after* all).

If the universe is making the choices, how does that not imply some kind of destiny or fate?

Where then, does that leave the responsibility of the particles that are part of the thing?

If I've got the part about the universe making all the choices wrong, then it otherwise seems to come down to: we have free will, but we don't control everything that happens, because other people have free will too.

Am I reading you right?  It seems to me that you're either proposing a view of responsibility that doesn't seem to mesh with most peoples' experiences of life, *or* you're arguing a variant of 'stuff happens', which you appear to have been claiming *not* to be arguing.

Can you indicate your argument in a concise manner, so we can see which you're arguing (or what you're arguing, if neither choice is your argument).
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« Reply #88: April 04, 2008, 06:02:53 pm »

In general I would agree with the article.  The problem I always have with discussions on responsibility is just how much is mine?

I think that's a very important question to ask.  The flipside of accepting personal responsibility is not taking responsibility for things that aren't actually yours to claim.

Quote
I've come across a couple of organizations that teach you're responsible for everything that happens in your life.  Everything.

Another variation is the western variation of Karma.  "Bad things happen in my life because I was a bad person in a previous life."  Rarely do you hear of anyone using this argument when things go right.

On the flip side, this view point can be quite disempowering.  You never know when something's going to happen, you can't stop it because for all intents and purposes it's pre-ordained and it's all your fault.  Good luck with that.  Now go meditate on it.

I'd go further.  It's actively harmful.

If someone's only applying it to themselves, I actually find that pretty egotistical.  It's a refusal to accept that sometimes stuff isn't actually your doing.  And , as you point out, it's very disempowering.

But it's a short leap from there to applying it to everyone.  At which point it's nasty.  Someone's in a wheelchair?  They were obviously a bad person in a past life.  Someone gets beaten up in the street?  Their fault.  Up to and including genocide.  And it gives the perfect excuse for not doing anything to stop injustice, even if you can.  So in the end it actually leads to a lack of responsibility.
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« Reply #89: April 04, 2008, 06:14:27 pm »

But it's a short leap from there to applying it to everyone.  At which point it's nasty.  Someone's in a wheelchair?  They were obviously a bad person in a past life.  Someone gets beaten up in the street?  Their fault.  Up to and including genocide.  And it gives the perfect excuse for not doing anything to stop injustice, even if you can.  So in the end it actually leads to a lack of responsibility.

And as far as I can tell, it's very similar to the reasoning some fundie Christians use to excuse not working to stop injustice: people who suffer injustice or poverty or injustice are suffering those problems because they are not right with God and to help them directly would be interfering with God's just punishment of them so the only thing that should be done to help is to help them get right with God. That type of reasoning is just as annoying in Pagans, IMHO.
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