morality within evolution

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by juantoo3, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just want to mention here that it's a lovely thing that you start your posts this way. Truly.

    Absolutely. Of course, there are many folks who will say that this is insufficient reason; that there *is* only one correct path. I'm not one of them.

    Ah, no. I'm Pagan; I acknowledge the Divine in nearly everything around me, and far away (the "nearly" has everything to do with my limited vision, not with a lack of Divine Spark in those things I'm unable to recognize as being infused with the Divine).

    You could, on the other hand, accurately conclude that I don't acknowledge a "personal savior" or "God" the way most people use that word.


    And there's this, too: it's not a satisfying way to live. Responsibility is the obverse side of coin called "freedom".

    I'm enjoying them, too!
     
  2. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Spot on.
     
  3. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are you referencing "The Golden Bough"?

    A word or two about effigy sacrifices.

    This is very very old. It has echoes in present-day things like Guy Fawkes Day and football rallies, or more seriously in the burning of political figures in effigy.

    There are two views of effigy burnings. One view is that burning a human effigy is intended to create a spirit messenger - to connect the celebrants with energies and powers which would ordinarily be beyond their control. For early peoples, the energy of fire was connected with the sun which brings light, health, and growth, as well as the hearth fire of food and hospitality. Fire was the spark of life which connected human hearts with the stars; for some it was the fire of inner change and transformation, the quest for knowledge and power.

    Frazer suggested that effigy burnings were rites of purification rather than seasonal solar rituals. But the timing suggests otherwise, or at least a confluence. The most important fire festivals of Old Europe were held in conjunction with the turning points of the solar year: Midsummer, Winter Solstice, the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes.

    And the practices themselves suggest a solar connection, as the wheel that is set alight and spun or rolled down a hill.

    In any case, fire festivals, including the burning of effigies, are related to the Earth's cycle of growth, maturing, decay and death; in particular, they focus on fertilization and growth. Leaping the bonfire (and, in the process, exposing one's reproductive organs to its flame) is widely held to promote fertility. Frequently, torches are carried through orchards, pastures, and fields to insure good crops.

    BTW, the major authority for the burning of humans in a wicker effigy is Caesar's account of his observations of Druid rituals (during his Gallic Wars - hardly unbiased). No other ancient authority verifies this. It is assumed that the prevalence of effigy burning, together with evidence of human sacrifice in at least some groups, implies that effigies are a later substitution for earlier, more literal, practices.

    Effigy buring, today, is used by modern Pagans as a process of transformation, an acknowledgement of the neccessity of change (including death) in the process of life. The sacrificed image represents the spirits of vegetation, the cycle of fertilization, growth, maturity, and death which defines the parameters of life on earth. The dried stalks of last year's growth must be burned and returned to the soil to prepare the way for new growth. Death is intrinsically linked to the emergence of new life. Everything enters the fire and is transformed.

    So, we burn away those things that we wish to change in ourselves, adding them to the effigy on pieces of paper, or calling them out as the effigy burns. We may also burn things (things that burn) representative of what we wish to have transformed - this could be pieces of trash (to transform our consciousness of littering/befouling the Earth), or pieces of clothing from a person whose connection to us we wish transformed or broken), and so on.

    If folks want to know *much, much* more about this, I'd suggest reading The Golden Bough, particularly those chapters about fire festivals in europe, his interpretations of fire festivals, and especially "The Burning of Human Beings in the Fire".
     
  4. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, a further bit on the above. it's difficult to get the requisite permits to do a large-scale effigy burning, or even a large bonfire, so some folks have adapted this practice for indoor sork.

    My ritual working group, for example, has changed it, while carrying over the intent, by *rending* an effigy. At Lammas/Lughnasad (the autumn grain harvest festival) we each contribute something to the making of a (small) straw man effigy, which is torn apart during the working.

    Note: Present-day effigy burning is(at least here in the US) almost exclusively associated with the grain harvest festival (Lammas/Lughnasad), although there are fire festival practices associated with the other harvest festivals (Midsummer - harvest of fruits, Fall Equinox - harvest of nuts, and Samhain - harvest of meat)
     
  5. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Y'kow, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm actually contributing anything to the original question of this topic thread by slogging through pages and pages of posts and replying to some of them.

    Perhaps it would be better to just read all the way through (over the course of a few days) and try to summarize my thinking on the major issues/ideas.
     
  6. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Woof. This is pretty profound, and it goes a far bit towards arguing the evolutionary basis for morality. That which enhances our (family, tribe, etc.) survival is "good", that which diminshes it is "bad".



    BTW, this calls to mind the practice in some societies of the suspension of all moral rules/behavior limitations for the "Year King".
     
  7. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, folks. I'm a little bit burned out on this topic for the time being.

    I'll pick it up again after my eyes stop smarting and my brain-fog clears. ;)
     
  8. earl

    earl ?

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,623
    Likes Received:
    18
    hi kathe & welcome to CR. i know nothing of Wiccan/paganism & never heard of the Rede, but was struck by its apprent identical wording to the famous dictum by the Christian theologian St. Augustine: "love and do what you will." the reason that guideline makes perfect sense to me is that, if 1 approaches Life with an open heart of love-not of the more sentimental & often mixed with self-interest variety that passes for love but with agape as the Christians put it-then 1 will tend to innately act in an optimal manner that automatically takes the action which optimizes the self-other dynamic. so what "we will" will in that moment of action tend to be the "correct" thing to do. take care, earl
     
  9. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you, earl.

    "Love and do what you will".

    Y'know, with a couple of commas, this could certainly clear up the whole dilemma that some Christians have about the GLBT community:

    "Love, and do, what you will"
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
    Kindest Regards, Kathe!

    Thank you for your posts, I'll try to catch up on some of them.

    I like this. I have found it difficult to understand why we got to the point of realizing the value in those "not quite whole." I think you may be on to something here.

    I am inclined to agree. In some sense, I think we "paint a picture" of G-d in our own image in our minds.

    Yes, of course. In Alexa's defense, I don't think anything was implied by the comment. One must admit, at least in the West, of a form of "superiority complex." I suspect as much is true in other major cultures as well. To bastardize Orwell, "all cultures are great, some are greater than others." I say this with all sarcasm, and no hidden intent. :)

    BTW, Thanks Brian!

    I think I see this, great post!
    Yes, business is another that seems to be morally a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we need it. On the other, human nature being what it is, business is all too often an abuse of privilege or power.

    I am sure it is a struggle, to sincerely try to be a morally inclined business person.
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
    Kindest Regards, Kathe (again, :) )!

    BTW, thank you Earl, for stopping by! I hope your injury heals nicely and timely! Kindest Regards!

    Why thank you. I credit my mother for good manners, and Vajradhara for showing me that this is just good forum etiquette.

    On one hand I do agree with you, and I limit my critiques of other paths. On the other hand, do we not have to see the value in our path for it to be of service to us?

    In some ways we share views. I do not see G-d as an old white beard on a throne looking for people to punish (and I realize that may not sit well with many of those I consider allies). In the role of "Creator," I think what you say holds merit. I do draw a distinction though, in that I am not the potter, I am the clay.

    Ah yes, freedom is not free. It comes at a cost. That cost is responsibility.

    Indeed I am. When I submitted a term paper to a favorite professor on this very subject (the development of religion, rational thinking and language), along with my grade he gifted me with a high honor of loaning me his copy. I know of no other student he ever did this with.

    Right! Of course, Frazer also went to lengths to touch on the "Wild Man / Green Man" tradition, which in (yet another!) thread we were able to tie this from very far back in antiquity to the modern day Santa Claus.

    Thank you for the modern version and understanding.

    You are contributing more than you may realize. :) It is always nice to get fresh opinions in this discussion.
     
  12. Käthe

    Käthe Kitchen Witch

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Really?

    It seems that a LOT of fascinating discussions I'd like to have participated in happened before I got here.
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
    bump for relevence to another thread.
     
  15. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
    sorry for the bump, a lot of the old links are broken and finding some of the old threads requires a bit of digging.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    2,024
    Hey juantoo3 –

    I've got a recent copy of New Scientist somewhere in which a thesis is put forward that the morality question has been looked at the wrong way. The author posed the question why do some cultures, half the world apart, share common beliefs, while others, geographically close, are quite different?

    He argued a three-stage morality:

    1: Nomadic hunter gathers (the first human communities) egalitarian and surprisingly 'modern' in their views.

    2: The emergence of farming communities meant possession of land, then goods, then people – so slavery and strict hierarchical societies, he argues the morality develops necessarily and as a consequence of the needs of farming on a large scale ... the bigger landowners make more money by having slaves work the land than labourers they pay equal to themselves, etc.

    3: Industrialised societies: This is where we are today, and the emergence of women's right, equal rights, equality, etc., are all necessary in a consumer society where the market needs the largest number of people with the widest freedom of choice to purchase the goods produced by the few at the top.

    So morality is driven by market necessity, not by any notion of 'spiritual evolution'. The thesis has received a lot of positive comment.

    I'll dig the article out if you're interested.
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    21,770
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    by market necessity or by the availability of time and discussion and thought that each step on maslow's hierarchy provides....

    my contention is that slavery is a given until....we no longer need slaves...our economy changes....

    women's rights couldn't happen until they were freed from laundry (advent of the washer and dryer in most homes)
     
  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
    Kindest regards, Thomas!

    And thank you for your input.

    I would be interested in the article, although my first instinctive reaction is to think this coincides nicely with what Abogado wrote of, and Nietzche (sp?) warned of, regarding those in position of power influencing the masses...or in this case attempting to. I would really need to read it first before forming an opinion. At a glance though, I see quite a bit of supposition (although this subject almost demands it) and a lot of "excusing" and "vindicating" as it were the power classes...at the expense of everyday folk just trying to find their moral way through life. Could be too that the concept of "spiritual evolution" used by them isn't quite the same as it developed here in this thread...in effect speaking of two completely different ideas.
     
  19. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,120
    Likes Received:
    419
    Kindest regards, Wil!

    Like I said, I suspect the concepts developed in the article are different from the ones developed here. The only I would add to this is that slavery still exists, alive and well, in first world countries. It is called "debt." It exists to keep the power class in power by fleecing the masses, while providing the illusion of "a better life."
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    2,024
    Well that's rather the point the thesis is making. However, illegal immigrants? The US penal system? Different name, the game's the same, I would have thought.

    Not so sure about washing machines. Suffrage in Europe was well ahead of that, and pioneered by women who weren't tied to the kitchen. The idea however is the same, consumerism promotes freedom and equality because it offers a bigger marketplace. WW1 did more for women's suffrage than white goods ownership.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015

Share This Page