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Author Topic: The philosophical meaning of "harm none"....and is it right?  (Read 15037 times)
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« Reply #15: October 13, 2008, 12:10:07 pm »

I know Wiccans adhere to "an it harm none" (as do I, as best I know how), but to what individual degrees or interpretations?  And what about everyone else?

In my mind,the term "harm none" is nothing more than the re-packaged philosophy we all learned in kindergarten; "think before you act/look before you leap/make sure your barian is loaded before you shoot off your mouth"

But these concepts are so simple and mundane yet essential but not very flashy so in order to make it more attractive it was re-packaged in new ageyness wrappings, colored with fluffy bunny candies and topped with flourescent fairy dust and given a new, esoteric tag and presented as something new.

Of course any concept can be carried to infinite ridiculousness to the point a person feels so paralyzed by fear they cannot do anything for fear of the harm they may cause.

I am causing "harm" right now by using this computer whose electricity is being generated by hydro-electric generators and other power plants. I am causing harm by drinking coffee which was grown, most likely, in poor countries, and I am using milk that came from factory farms.

I am causing harm when I go outside and breathe the air thereby causing additional burden to the atmosphere. I am causing harm right now by expressing a view that will enevitably tick someone off. I am causing "harm" by feeding a squirrel and hence promoting the survival of a "weak" animal even though all I wanted was to do good.

Naturally I do not want to cause harm in any form to others but sometimes that "harm" is not caused by me but by the conscious, willful choice of the other person.
No matter how careful one tries to be, "harm", no matter how subjective, will always be incurred so all one can do is to think first then do your best and that is that.
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« Reply #16: October 13, 2008, 03:55:58 pm »

I think the message is to think before you act..it is not possible to skip through life and not cause "harm" at some point.


That's not the message I got from that post.  It looked a lot like 'meaning well is more important than what happens'
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« Reply #17: October 13, 2008, 04:08:58 pm »

That's not the message I got from that post.  It looked a lot like 'meaning well is more important than what happens'

*note: since I have this only crawling around in the back of my mind, I'm probably totally wrong - if somebody knows better, please correct this*

Aren't there two different and opposing philosophical (what's the correct word for this?) thoughts? claims? don't know.
One from Kant saying: If the intent was good, the deed is basically good, no matter what the outcome is and the other from Nietzsche who says: when the outcome is bad, no good intent helps.

(I think I've heard this somewhere....)

We have an idiom saying kind of the same thing: well meant is the opposite of well done.

If the intent was bad but the outcome was good...bad deed? good deed?

The world is just way too complex to go by simple good - bad scheme, I think.

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« Reply #18: October 13, 2008, 04:18:02 pm »



I can't speak as to the quotes, but for me, while intent matters, what is done matters a lot too.  I mean, consequences are important.  If something severely bad happens to me, Im not going to care if someone meant well.  If they keep insisting upon that point, Im even likely to get more annoyed: because how does a good intent make it ok?
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« Reply #19: October 13, 2008, 04:20:48 pm »

I can't speak as to the quotes, but for me, while intent matters, what is done matters a lot too.  I mean, consequences are important.  If something severely bad happens to me, Im not going to care if someone meant well.  If they keep insisting upon that point, Im even likely to get more annoyed: because how does a good intent make it ok?

*nods*
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« Reply #20: October 13, 2008, 04:29:29 pm »

I can't speak as to the quotes, but for me, while intent matters, what is done matters a lot too.  I mean, consequences are important.  If something severely bad happens to me, Im not going to care if someone meant well.  If they keep insisting upon that point, Im even likely to get more annoyed: because how does a good intent make it ok?

This is where "think before you act" come into play; anyone can use the excuse " I meant well" and think that alone lets them off the hook. Hoping and wishing will not ensure a good outcome either nor does it make a disaster more palatable.

For example one of our family freinds is a sucker for stray cats so she feeds them..unfortunately she lets them into her house and now they swarm around and she has as many as 20 cats at one time in her home.

Her good intentions are not good enough; she could have easily set up dishes far from the house and, since she is in the country, she could place the food in a barn..yet she won't do that because she feels sorry for the kitties.

I still say that good intention is next to useless if it is not coupled with common sense, forethought,planning, prevention seasoned with a back-up plan for all those "intracacies" that creep up.

I don't know..just because someone meant well doesn't always justify the end result no matter how candy coated it is.
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« Reply #21: October 13, 2008, 05:09:53 pm »

I can't speak as to the quotes, but for me, while intent matters, what is done matters a lot too.  I mean, consequences are important.  If something severely bad happens to me, Im not going to care if someone meant well.  If they keep insisting upon that point, Im even likely to get more annoyed: because how does a good intent make it ok?

*nods again*
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« Reply #22: October 13, 2008, 05:49:34 pm »

So, are you saying it's okay to hurt someone so long as your intent was "for the best"? 

no not at all because i don't believe in when people say "the ends justify the means".

what i mean is that from a Wiccan perspective, you are always dealing with the deities....and i definitely think the deities KNOW what you're intent is and that would essentially determine a karmic backlash and cause "harm". 

for example if you're sitting down filled with love and light for a person but SAYING angry hateful words, which do you think is more important??? the Gods know what's in our hearts/intent and punish based on THAT!!!

you can have honest and pure intent and say a few words that didn't come out right and could be "misconstrued" but in the end that's not going to make the spell "harmful"

All in all i think the Gods/Goddesses know what we are up to and aren't going to be tricked by the words!!!
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« Reply #23: October 13, 2008, 05:53:36 pm »

This is where "think before you act" come into play; anyone can use the excuse " I meant well" and think that alone lets them off the hook. Hoping and wishing will not ensure a good outcome either nor does it make a disaster more palatable.

For example one of our family freinds is a sucker for stray cats so she feeds them..unfortunately she lets them into her house and now they swarm around and she has as many as 20 cats at one time in her home.

Her good intentions are not good enough; she could have easily set up dishes far from the house and, since she is in the country, she could place the food in a barn..yet she won't do that because she feels sorry for the kitties.

I still say that good intention is next to useless if it is not coupled with common sense, forethought,planning, prevention seasoned with a back-up plan for all those "intracacies" that creep up.

I don't know..just because someone meant well doesn't always justify the end result no matter how candy coated it is.

i wasn't referring to the result so much as whether you're planning good or evil.  but it would only make sense that if you sit down with the INTENT to do something GOOD for something and truly WANT that to happen.....how would the end result be bad??? i have NEVER seen a spell go horribly awry because someone "said an oops" or burned the wrong candle color.... so YES if you go IN with good INTENT, the the EFFECT is GOOD.  i don't find much to argue with on that!!
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« Reply #24: October 13, 2008, 06:23:19 pm »

i wasn't referring to the result so much as whether you're planning good or evil.  but it would only make sense that if you sit down with the INTENT to do something GOOD for something and truly WANT that to happen.....how would the end result be bad??? i have NEVER seen a spell go horribly awry because someone "said an oops" or burned the wrong candle color.... so YES if you go IN with good INTENT, the the EFFECT is GOOD.  i don't find much to argue with on that!!

Ahh, okay.  I see what you meant now.
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« Reply #25: October 13, 2008, 07:51:34 pm »

for example if you're sitting down filled with love and light for a person but SAYING angry hateful words, which do you think is more important??? the Gods know what's in our hearts/intent and punish based on THAT!!!

What you're saying, of course.  The person listening to you can't see the love and light inside you, and if you're being hurtful would probably believe it was a false or hypocritical light anyway (and so do I).  It really doesn't matter if you think you are loving, or if the gods know you think so - the effect you are having is angry and hurtful, and the person you are hurting has every right to judge you on that basis.

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« Reply #26: October 13, 2008, 09:03:57 pm »

for example if you're sitting down filled with love and light for a person but SAYING angry hateful words, which do you think is more important??? the Gods know what's in our hearts/intent and punish based on THAT!!!

you can have honest and pure intent and say a few words that didn't come out right and could be "misconstrued" but in the end that's not going to make the spell "harmful"

All in all i think the Gods/Goddesses know what we are up to and aren't going to be tricked by the words!!!

I don't think it's about being tricked though.  I think it's about being judged in this world for what we do rather than what's in our heads. What I do and say are supposed to be a reflection of what's in my heart.  If I stand by and witness someone being hurt without intervening or calling for help, the gods *know* what's in my heart.  Cowardice.  If I ramble through a prayer or ritual and continuously goof up, the gods *know* I was being careless.

I don't do spellwork, but I have to think it would be a lot like ritual.  Actions matter.  Words matter.  The promises I make and the offerings I give matter way more than whatever I *meant* to say or do.  I don't want to live in a world where good intentions triumph.  I want to live in a world where actions define who we are and how we are judged by others.  Different perspective, I suppose.

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« Reply #27: October 13, 2008, 09:37:57 pm »

what i mean is that from a Wiccan perspective, you are always dealing with the deities....and i definitely think the deities KNOW what you're intent is and that would essentially determine a karmic backlash and cause "harm". 

Um. Don't know about anyone else, but my deities are not my keepers.

I serve them. I honor them. There's certainly stuff I could do that might disappoint them or even offend them - but I don't think they're going to hit me with karma for it. I think it's going to directly affect the *relationship* with them.

If I do something a close friend finds really intolerable, they're not going to smack me with karma. They're going to say "That really bugs me, and if you keep doing that, I'm not going to spend time with you" or something similar. And if I keep doing the stupid thing, they're not going to be around. That's what I mean by affecting the relationship.

Quote
for example if you're sitting down filled with love and light for a person but SAYING angry hateful words, which do you think is more important??? the Gods know what's in our hearts/intent and punish based on THAT!!!

Words matter to me - and to a lot of people here. So does intent. Words are how we tell our conscious mind the intent - and they're how we share that conscious intention with others around us. (After all, Wiccans traditionally work in covens - so being able to share what's going on in our heads is really important for effective group work!)

I don't think anything's going to go wrong if someone mispeaks briefly. They can fix that.

I do however think there's a *huge* gulf between "misspoke" and speaking in anger or deliberate hurt. If I'm intending to do magical work with love and caring in my heart for someone and I misspeak in anger? There's something going on that I desperately need to fix before I continue doing the magical work.

Now, perhaps you mean something different by 'anger' and 'hurt' than I do. Can you give a specific detailed example?
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« Reply #28: October 13, 2008, 10:15:17 pm »

i wasn't referring to the result so much as whether you're planning good or evil.  but it would only make sense that if you sit down with the INTENT to do something GOOD for something and truly WANT that to happen.....how would the end result be bad???

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Just because you intend good doesn't mean that what you intend is good on the one hand, or that you will succeed at your intent on the other.

I've run into people who, for example, with the best intentions, attempt to convince me that only someone damaged could be in a non-mainstream relationship, and that I should really seek treatment for whatever hidden trauma caused that "problem".  They really, truly, honestly think the best thing for me would be to have that life and if I don't want it it's because I'm hurt.

That does not make their assumptions correct or their actions not abusive.
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« Reply #29: October 14, 2008, 01:32:40 am »

I don't think it's about being tricked though.  I think it's about being judged in this world for what we do rather than what's in our heads. What I do and say are supposed to be a reflection of what's in my heart.  

I don't do spellwork, but I have to think it would be a lot like ritual.  Actions matter.  Words matter.  The promises I make and the offerings I give matter way more than whatever I *meant* to say or do.  \

I sort of agree with you, at least about the words matter part. Here's why.
(The underlined part is something I copied and pasted from another post of mine on a different thread, but it kind of fits here too.)

It's not about tricking or confusing. If you want a certain thing in a certain way, I have found it's best to be very specific when you state your will.   

Let me give you an example....
I'm a residential real estate appraiser. Work had been slowing down, and I worked a spell to increase my workload so I could make a little more money. However, I did not state in the spell that it was to be MY workload. In the next week and a half my husband (he's the project manager at Margaritaville, but does custom cabinetry and woodwork on the side to supplement our income) got requests for four different jobs that all needed to be completed within a few weeks. It's not that anything bad happened, and technically I got what I asked for, it's just not exactly what I had in mind. It did solve the problem of us being strapped for cash though, and that was the true intent of the spell.


Just a side note....my husband told me if I ever do that spell again I have to re-word it so there's no mistaking WHO'S supposed to get the extra work. (I half believe he thinks I did it on purpose. I didn't, but now that I think about it it wasn't such a bad idea....maybe I should forget next time too! Grin)
 
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