Temple of the Jedi Order: First church of Jediism

Yule Sermon: FORGIVNESS

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge or embrace forgiveness and move forward. 

     Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Your mother criticized your parenting skills. Your friend gossiped about you. Your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and even vengeance.

     But when you don't practice forgiveness, you may be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Here, we will discuss forgiveness and how it can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  

What is forgiveness? 

     There's no one definition of forgiveness. But in general, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness is the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against you. This can reduce the power these feelings otherwise have over you, so that you can a live freer and happier life in the present. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

  Doesn't forgiving someone mean you're forgetting or condoning what happened? 

     Absolutely not! Forgiving isn't the same as forgetting what happened to you. The act that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. But forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness also doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.  

What are the benefits of forgiving someone? 

     Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being unforgiving and being forgiving. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including: Lower blood pressure, Stress reduction, Less hostility, Better anger management skills, Lower heart rate, Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse, Fewer depression symptoms, Fewer anxiety symptoms, Reduction in chronic pain, More friendships, Healthier relationships, Greater religious or spiritual well-being, Improved psychological well-being,

  Why do we hold grudges and become resentful and unforgiving?

     The people most likely to hurt us are those closest to us — our partners, friends, siblings and parents. When we're hurt by someone we love and trust — whether it's a lie, betrayal, rejection, abuse or insult — it can be extremely difficult to overcome. And even minor offenses can turn into huge conflicts.

     When you experience hurt or harm from someone's actions or words, whether this is intended or not, you may begin experiencing negative feelings such as anger, confusion or sadness, especially when it's someone close to you. These feelings may start out small. But if you don't deal with them quickly, they can grow bigger and more powerful. They may even begin to crowd out positive feelings. Grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility take root when you dwell on hurtful events or situations, replaying them in your mind many times.

     Soon, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. You may feel trapped and may not see a way out. It's very hard to let go of grudges at this point and instead you may remain resentful and unforgiving.  

How do I know it's time to try to embrace forgiveness? 

     When we hold on to pain, old grudges, bitterness and even hatred, many areas of our lives can suffer. When we're unforgiving, it's we who pay the price over and over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience. Our lives may be so wrapped up in the wrong that we can't enjoy the present. Other signs that it may be time to consider forgiveness include: Dwelling on the events surrounding the offense, Hearing from others that you have a chip on your shoulder or that you're wallowing in self-pity, Being avoided by family and friends because they don't enjoy being around you, Having angry outbursts at the smallest perceived slights, Often feeling misunderstood Drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs to try to cope with your pain, Having symptoms of depression or anxiety, Being consumed by a desire for revenge or punishment, Automatically thinking the worst about people or situations, Regretting the loss of a valued relationship, Feeling like your life lacks meaning or purpose, Feeling at odds with your religious or spiritual beliefs. The bottom line is that you may often feel miserable in your current life.

How do I reach a state of forgiveness? 

     Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. It can be difficult and it can take time. Everyone moves toward forgiveness a little differently. One step is to recognize the value of forgiveness and its importance in our lives at a given time. Another is to reflect on the facts of the situation, how we've reacted, and how this combination has affected our lives, our health and our well-being. Then, as we are ready, we can actively choose to forgive the one who has offended us. In this way, we move away from our role as a victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives.

     Forgiveness also means that we change old patterns of beliefs and actions that are driven by our bitterness. As we let go of grudges, we'll no longer define our lives by how we've been hurt, and we may even find compassion and understanding.  

What happens if I can't forgive someone? 

     Forgiveness can be very challenging. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone who doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of their sorrow. Keep in mind that the key benefits of forgiveness are for you. If you find yourself stuck, it may be helpful to take some time to talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider or an unbiased family member or friend.

     It may also be helpful to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who have forgiven you. As you recall how you felt, it may help you to understand the position of the person who hurt you. It can also be beneficial to pray, use guided meditation or journal. In any case, if the intention to forgive is present, forgiveness will come in its time.  

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation? 

     Not always. In some cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender has died. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate, especially if you were attacked or assaulted.

     But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible, even if reconciliation isn't.

     On the other hand, if the hurtful event involved a family member or friend whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness may lead to reconciliation. This may not happen quickly, as you both may need time to re-establish trust. But in the end, your relationship may very well be one that is rich and fulfilling.  

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to? 

     These situations are difficult. If the hurt involves a family member, it may not always be possible to avoid him or her entirely. You may be invited to the same family holiday gatherings, for instance. If you've reached a state of forgiveness, you may be able to enjoy these gatherings without bringing up the old hurts. If you haven't reached forgiveness, these gatherings may be tense and stressful for everyone, particularly if other family members have chosen sides in the conflict.

     So how do you handle this? First, remember that you do have a choice whether to attend or not attend family get-togethers. Respect yourself and do what seems best. If you choose to go, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings. It's important to keep an eye on those feelings. You don't want them to lead you to be unjust or unkind in return for what was done to you.

     Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol as a way to try to numb your feelings or feel better — it'll likely backfire. And keep an open heart and mind. People do change, and perhaps the offender will want to apologize or make amends. You also may find that the gathering helps you to move forward with forgiveness. 

 How do I know when I've truly forgiven someone?

     Forgiveness may result in sincerely spoken words such as "I forgive you" or tender actions that fit the relationship. But more than this, forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. The offense is no longer front and center in your thoughts or feelings. Your hostility, resentment and misery have made way for compassion, kindness and peace.

     Also, remember that forgiveness often isn't a one-time thing. It begins with a decision, but because memories or another set of words or actions may trigger old feelings, you may need to recommit to forgiveness over and over again.  

What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change? 

     Getting the other person to change their actions, behavior or words isn't the point of forgiveness. In fact, the other person may never change or apologize for the offense. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing.

     Forgiveness takes away the power the other person continues to wield in your life. Through forgiveness, you choose to no longer define yourself as a victim. Forgiveness is done primarily for yourself, and less so for the person who wronged you. 

What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness? 

     It may help to spend some time thinking about the offense you've committed and trying to determine the effect it has had on others. Unless it may cause more harm or distress, consider admitting the wrong you've done to those you've harmed, speaking of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically asking for forgiveness — without making excuses.

     But if this seems unwise because it may further harm or distress, don't do it — it's not about making yourself feel better by apologizing. You don't want to add salt to a painful wound. Also, keep in mind that you can't force someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time.

    In any case, we have to be willing to forgive ourselves. Holding on to resentment against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone else. Recognize that poor behavior or mistakes don't make you worthless or bad.   

     Accept the fact that you — like everyone else — aren't perfect. Accept yourself despite your faults. Admit your mistakes. Commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect. And again, talking with a spiritual leader, mental health provider or trusted friend or relative may be helpful. Forgiveness of yourself or someone else, though not easy, can transform your life. Instead of dwelling on the injustice and revenge, instead of being angry and bitter, you can move toward a life of peace, compassion, mercy, joy and kindness. 

May The Force Be With You - Always

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    • Quote: Today's discussion was on good/evil and moral relativism Spoiler: (18:52:42) Lykeios: okay, my topic begins with a question... do you believe in evil? do you believe that it exists? (18:54:01) FAT: I believe that evil has to exist in an equal portion to good. An imbalance of one will reverse their polarities. (18:54:50) Parnerium: I don't think evil exists as an external entity or polluting force in the world (18:54:57) Lykeios: so yes, you do believe in evil. in that case what qualifies as evil? (not EVERYTHING that might qualify but just...a few basic things) (18:55:16) Lykeios: I don't either, Par (18:56:10) Rosalyn_J: oooh thats a good one (18:56:24) FAT: Evil = malicious. Anything done by someone or something with malicious intent is influenced by evil. (18:56:52) Parnerium: "Does style exist?" Well... there are things I see that I would describe as stylish. But it's an adjective that I use to explain a judgement as opposed to something that exists outside of that. (18:56:57) FAT: Cats are evil for chewing the legs off mice and leaving them on your pillow (18:57:11) Rosalyn_J: I think evil begins to exist at the time that we define good (18:57:17) Lykeios: good answer, FAT...I've never heard that definition (18:57:17) Rosalyn_J: See Tao te ching 2 (18:58:10) Lykeios: See that's why I don't believe in a moral "good" either...I think our actions stand for themselves without such judgements, they're just things that we do (18:58:56) FAT: But doing too much good encourages corruption. Every charity has corruption issues. (18:59:03) Lykeios: any judgement of good or evil will be completely subjective based on the person making the judgement (18:59:13) Aco: I would have to agree with Lykeios.. (18:59:19) Rosalyn_J: I think that at some point, in order to live together with a group of people, we have to create a set of guidelines (18:59:28) Rosalyn_J: its like reality (18:59:41) FAT: Mother Theresa did most of her visits to help the poor....but also spread the word of her religion. (18:59:47) Rosalyn_J: subjective, but in some areas agreed upon (19:00:57) Lykeios: well I think there are things that are conducive to living together in a society and things that aren't conducive to living in a society...there are things that should be avoided, but there is no "good" and no "evil" except in our minds (19:01:06) FAT: The Pope doesnt go anywhere ever to do anything unless there is a political message attached to it. Absolute Good corrupts. (19:01:31) Parnerium: Driving on the wrong side of the road isn't conducive to living in society, but I doubt many people would call it "evil" (19:01:55) Lykeios: right. a good example (19:02:59) Rosalyn_J: harm to another person within the group is the only thing that I might consider evil (19:03:17) Rosalyn_J: I was going to broaden it to animals, but we eat them (19:03:36) Parnerium: Tell that to PETA (19:03:40) Lykeios: can an animal do something evil? 0.o (19:03:58) Lykeios: oh wait...I know what you mean now...lmao. nevermind (19:04:30) Lykeios: but that is a good question anyway...can an animal be evil? or do something evil? (19:04:49) Rosalyn_J: hmmm (19:05:04) Rosalyn_J: its not held to the same standards as members of the group (19:05:58) Aco: an animal would have no sense of human subjectivity. (19:05:58) Parnerium: I'd call an animal evil if it plotted to torture it's brother and felt joy in seeing it suffer, but I'll never know if any of those thoughts or emotions are behind the actions of an animal (19:06:21) Rosalyn_J: it has its own standards related to its own group and species (19:06:55) Rosalyn_J: something that we might consider evil were the standards upheld for humans, for animals is quite normal (19:07:22) Rosalyn_J: consider for example how the lion chooses its prey not of the strong, but of the vulnerable (19:07:43) Rosalyn_J: it thins out the heard by killing off the weak and the left behind (19:08:03) Rosalyn_J: but it strengthens the herd as a whole (19:08:16) Rosalyn_J: something like Euginics (19:08:37) Rosalyn_J: or genocide would be on par with that idea (19:08:52) Rosalyn_J: or something like the greeks did (19:08:56) Rosalyn_J: you know (19:08:58) Lykeios: right...but the lion isn't evil for hunting the weak (19:09:12) Rosalyn_J: leaving their baby to die on the mountain (19:09:21) Rosalyn_J: I think they had a place for it (19:09:58) Avalonslight: I would say that evil is a moral, and therefore subjective.... (19:10:59) Rosalyn_J: if everyone decided what was evil in their own heart then someone could decide that murder is not evil (19:11:32) Lykeios: right, exactly. that's why I don't think evil exists...everyone can decide for themselves what is evil and what is not (19:12:13) Avalonslight: thus subjective... (19:12:18) Rosalyn_J: but the committing of murder, the killing of another individual, is it wrong? (19:12:28) Avalonslight: subjective to the moral standards of that particular culture and society (19:13:10) Rosalyn_J: subjective within the bounds of a group. is that truly subjective? (19:13:21) Parnerium: Evil is an adjective, not an entity (19:14:06) Lykeios: is killing wrong? It depends (19:14:22) Lykeios: it depends on the circumstances...on who you're killing...on why you're killing them (19:14:41) Rosalyn_J: Ah so it is case by case (19:14:49) Rosalyn_J: it also depends on perspective (19:14:50) Avalonslight: Certainly Ros... It may be an absolute within that particular group due to that particular group's morals, but in the interactions of that particular group with other groups, it becomes subjective. (19:15:13) Avalonslight: therefore, the moral itself is subjective, and thus whether it is evil or not subjective (19:15:41) Lykeios: yes, it does also depend on perspective (19:16:05) Parnerium: I've got to go for the night guys. It was nice talking with you all (19:16:16) Lykeios: and yes, it is case by case. for the most part though...killing is destructive to society and therefore undesirable (19:16:18) Temple Bot: Parnerium has left the chat. (19:16:18) Lykeios: good night Par (19:17:13) Temple Bot: FAT has left the chat. (19:17:27) Rosalyn_J: so evil and not evil depends not only on the rules set down by the particular group, but also the motivation behind the act? (19:17:37) Rosalyn_J: I think the same can be said for good (19:18:36) Avalonslight: Certainly I would not attempt to condone the acts of say... the US government on Hiroshima or Nagasaki... or even the Holocaust as a whole. I certainly wouldn't justify it or attempt to support it or anything of the sort. But if you stop and put yourself in your shoes at the time... From the perspective of the one, there was no other better way to end what was already a very costly, bloody war. From the perspective of the other (and perhaps terrifyingly so given some current modern political rhetoric), there was the perspective that those individuals were responsible for a great many wrongs and troubles in their society and there needed to be an "cleansing" to help put society back together. By today's "modern standards" we would tend to agree that both acts were "evil"... but. . . well... Again, I'm neither condoning nor justifying either event. (19:20:49) Avalonslight: And yes, I know and recognize that that was an extreme example which global society as a whole recognizes as a moral and ethical atrocity... But at the time, things were quite different on both sides. Or so I would like to think... (19:22:16) Rosalyn_J: I suppose that's why the doctrine is there (19:22:25) Rosalyn_J: because things like this can get messy (19:23:19) Avalonslight: I think that in 45 years, global society is going to judge us as harshly as we judge those of 45 years ago, simply because of changing morals.... (19:23:35) Rosalyn_J: the thing is that we cannot know the mind of a person committing either good or evil (19:23:43) Lykeios: hmmm...good point Ava (19:23:48) Rosalyn_J: oh for cetrtain (19:24:01) Rosalyn_J: consider the conflicts we are engaged in (19:24:22) Avalonslight: and that is why I say "evil" is subjective.. (19:24:30) Rosalyn_J: people are going to see a fuller picture of them because they will be emotionally removed (19:26:39) Avalonslight: I wish I were able to think of a less polarized example off the top of my head, but I'm finding it a bit hard to, simply because any other example would be one that is currently on going today, and we're in the middle of it, rather than removed from it like we can be of the events of the past. (19:27:22) Lykeios: I thought it was a fine example (19:28:29) Avalonslight: I'm not even certain I like to call something "evil" for that same reason. Certainly morally reprehensible, or ethically inappropriate... (19:30:11) Rosalyn_J: I think there is also the matter not only of looking at the person committing the act, but also the person on the recieving end (19:30:23) Rosalyn_J: do we take their view into consideration? (19:30:27) Avalonslight: I suppose another example would be something like.. I dunno... a political ideology. Say socialism. I've got family members who consider socialism to be the devil's work, and by virtue of that, inherently evil. (19:30:32) Lykeios: I don't call things evil anymore at all...unless I'm joking (19:31:05) Avalonslight: I still do... but I don't do it often. (19:31:13) Lykeios: I'm a socialist...lol (19:31:30) Avalonslight: And certainly we ought to, Ros. But it's a good question of whether or not we actually do. (19:32:16) Avalonslight: Well according to these particular family members then Lyk, you're doing the devil's work, unpatriotic, and a danger to the country, adn you should be either imprisoned or thrown out of the country... (19:32:20) Avalonslight: ;) (19:33:08) Rosalyn_J: wow (19:34:14) Avalonslight: I think it might be safe to say something along these lines: Just like the events of history are written by the victors, the morals of society are determined by the powerful. In the end, it is they who determine right and wrong, and good and evil, only with regard to their own personal viewpoint, and without regard to those around them. (19:34:36) Avalonslight: I have some pretty extreme fundamentalist family members. (19:35:37) Lykeios: I'm only a socialist because anarchy seems so unlikely (19:35:43) Lykeios: :P (19:36:40) Avalonslight: Maybe you're the devil incarnate himself then ;) :P (19:36:45) Temple Bot: Proteus has joined the chat. (19:36:49) Lykeios: hahaha. maybe I am (19:36:57) Avalonslight: the Anti-Christ! that's it! I'm speaking with the Anti-Christ!!! (19:37:01) Avalonslight: lmao (19:37:21) Lykeios: perhaps you are ;) (19:37:28) Lykeios: how would you know? (19:37:39) Avalonslight: Hi Pro :) (19:37:50) Rosalyn_J: hey E (19:37:54) Avalonslight: I wouldn't, of course. And it's not like you would tell me if I were so... (19:38:01) Avalonslight stares at Lyk. (19:38:05) Rosalyn_J: we are talking about evil (19:39:20) Lykeios: hehehe. indeed (19:39:49) Lykeios: and hello Pro (19:40:50) Avalonslight: any way that is about as good of an answer i can give that one lyk (19:41:21) Lykeios: :) and a very good answer it was (19:41:31) Rosalyn_J: it was really good (19:42:00) Rosalyn_J: I think a good follow up question (19:42:09) Temple Bot: Proteus has been logged out (Timeout). (19:42:09) Rosalyn_J: knowing that evil is subjective (19:42:36) Rosalyn_J: how do we go about living that truth out? (19:43:50) Avalonslight: the same way our ancestors did before us.... acting the best we can with what we know and the knowledge of our current morals and acting within those current morals. I wouldn't say it's right to second guess what we currently call right or wrong based on the possibility of a future change due to forces we can't possibly begin to predict. (19:44:29) Reacher awakens. (19:44:29) Lykeios: I think it's always right to question what we call right and wrong...I think it's always right to question just about everything (19:44:36) Lykeios: hey Reacher! (19:44:54) Avalonslight: Hey Reacher (19:44:55) Reacher: Are we making a case for moral relativism? (19:45:37) Lykeios: I believe so (19:46:05) Reacher: That is a dangerous proposition. (19:46:44) Lykeios: morality is always relative (19:47:20) Reacher: I disagree, but I don't think in the way you imagine. (19:47:32) Reacher: *you might imagine. (19:47:54) Lykeios: so you're saying there is an objective morality? (19:48:10) Avalonslight: moral relativism and the subjectiveness of the concept of "evil" as a whole (19:48:39) Reacher: In the end it doesn't really matter if there is objective morality or no...the only thing that matters is the morality you're willing to accept. (19:49:47) Avalonslight: I woudl say that that in itself is a level of relativism... (19:50:30) Reacher: Perhaps...it is in keeping with the sentiment you wrote of earlier - that the powerful set the conditions for morality. (19:51:05) Reacher: Because if we have a different view of morality, and you're more powerful...well objectivity isn't really a factor, is it? (19:51:32) Avalonslight: No it's not (19:52:14) Avalonslight: I'll brb (19:52:18) Avalonslight: going to reset my chat window.... (19:52:23) Temple Bot: Avalonslight has left the chat. (19:52:25) Temple Bot: Avalonslight has joined the chat. (19:53:25) Reacher: I've definitely seen evil...and if it isn't evil, then the fact that it isn't evil means little to me. Everything in me defines it that way. (19:53:55) Rosalyn_J: go on please (19:54:37) Temple Bot: Avalonslight has been logged out (Timeout). (19:55:30) Temple Bot: Avalonslight has joined the chat. (19:57:33) Reacher: I do think I ascribe to relativity in most things...but I found that I have my limit in that as well. Usually related to the enjoyment of suffering. (19:59:21) Lykeios: There may be a few people I would enjoy seeing suffer... just being honest (20:00:05) Lykeios: but as a general rule I don't enjoy suffering (20:00:11) Reacher: Moral objectivists certainly run the risk of pressing the easy button on morality...but so do total relativists - in terms of consequences. (20:00:29) Rosalyn_J: I'll bbiab (20:02:20) Reacher: So perhaps I'm a moral consequentialist :D (20:03:09) Lykeios: interesting (20:07:22) Lykeios: morals based on the consequences of actions? (20:08:31) Reacher: Not solely... (20:08:52) Reacher: But weighted heavily in that direction. I'm not making a case for ends justifying means. (20:10:48) Lykeios: ahh, right (20:17:57) Reacher: I think I would've been a moral relativist had I not seen some REALLY messed up stuff a few times. Beyond politics and ideology. I when I found something I couldn't abide...I spent a lot of time thinking about it. What I concluded is that it didn't matter if it was objectively or subjectively amoral - I simply couldn't abide it. Perhaps that says more about me than my assessment of it...but there it is. (20:18:16) Reacher: -I (20:19:11) Avalonslight: Yeah I get that (20:19:34) Lykeios: makes sense to me... (20:20:30) Avalonslight: I would have to say that in general, I think those who are current or former military, particularly deployers, have a firmer set of morals than other segments of the population. Simply because they get exposed to so much more than your average individual (20:21:10) Lykeios: that sounds about right to me. I can see that (20:22:26) Reacher: I feel like it made me a bit more sensitive to when I think I see something amoral. 99.9% of everything I see I don't think of as 'evil' but when I do I really can't get it out of my head as anything but. (20:23:20) Temple Bot: Kahn_Xander has joined the chat. (20:23:36) Avalonslight: I'm not sure I would say that moral relativism makes it impossible to see something as 'evil' or 'morally reprehensible' though... Just because you accept that morals can vary, doesn't mean you have to accept the variation from your own. (20:23:58) Temple Bot: Proteus has joined the chat. (20:24:10) Rosalyn_J: I think there was a good point made recently (20:24:22) Rosalyn_J: about the people in power making the rules (20:24:26) Avalonslight: wb Ros (20:24:34) Rosalyn_J: we can shout subjectivity as we like (20:25:04) Rosalyn_J: but its the people in power, not ourselves, that determine the morality of our actions (20:25:19) Rosalyn_J: and I think this goes in spheres (20:25:32) Rosalyn_J: there is a small sphere which you control (20:25:47) Rosalyn_J: mainly those things that you do that don't harm others (20:26:08) Rosalyn_J: if its not against the law, its within your right to decide whether to do it or not (20:26:17) Rosalyn_J: and then you have your familial group (20:26:43) Rosalyn_J: a microcosm of society with views that are held by those in power within that small group (20:26:59) Rosalyn_J: parents, aunts, uncles etc (20:27:11) Rosalyn_J: and then you have your social group (20:27:22) Rosalyn_J: individuals you choose to associate with (20:27:31) Rosalyn_J: whose opinion you value (20:27:41) Rosalyn_J: there are morals there too (20:27:53) Rosalyn_J: lastly you have the "society" (20:28:14) Rosalyn_J: for ease lets just call that "government" (20:28:29) Reacher: Mmm...careful there. (20:28:37) Avalonslight: Very true, but typically you're raised within the morals of that sphere determined by that majority, so your morals end up aligning with those who are in power. It's why it takes so long for morals to change in the first place... why things like like slavery were morally acceptable for so long, or male civil superiority (ex: men having the right to vote but women not), and more recently, the morals related to marriage relationships and the treatment of unborn children/fetuses/whatever you want to call them... (20:28:53) Rosalyn_J: because when you commit acts outside of the bounds of society" you are tried by the government large or small (20:31:36) Temple Bot: Kahn_Xander has been logged out (Timeout). (20:32:28) Temple Bot: Avalonslight has been logged out (Timeout). (20:33:00) Lykeios: I can agree with all that...there are certainly various spheres that we fit into (20:33:34) Temple Bot: Arthur_H. has joined the chat. (20:34:06) Temple Bot: Avalonslight has joined the chat. (20:35:22) Arthur_H.: Are we still talking about morality (20:37:40) Avalonslight: I think that those spheres though are why it's important to recognize that morals are subjective and will vary from sphere to sphere.... Certainly in order for the better good of the one sphere as a whole it is probably best to make rulings off of the prevailing morality of that sphere. But is it morally or even ethically acceptable to force a set moral of another unrelated sphere simply because that sphere has a differing moral regarding that same topic? Who gets to make those judgments... (20:39:04) Temple Bot: Arthur_H. has been logged out (Timeout). (20:40:04) Temple Bot: josephbrotzman19 has joined the chat. (20:40:21) josephbrotzman19: Philosophical discussion? (20:40:49) Rosalyn_J: We are talking about evil and moral relativism (20:41:29) Rosalyn_J: that is a good point Ava (20:42:17) Rosalyn_J: I'm torn (20:42:31) Temple Bot: josephbrotzman19 has been logged out (Timeout). (20:42:49) Rosalyn_J: because I think by us engaging in something completely subjective we may rend the fabric of social cohesion (20:43:02) Rosalyn_J: but I can see where you are coming from (20:43:13) Rosalyn_J: maybe I am just fatalistic (20:43:28) Rosalyn_J: I wonder what would happen if we had no forced moral code? (20:43:47) Reacher: I think it's vitally important to have an agile sense of morality and ethics. Whatever we decide to do, and whatever we believe does not excuse us from our responsibility to think. (20:43:52) Rosalyn_J: if nothing were good or bad would people still be able to live in harmony (20:45:06) Avalonslight: Please understand I am partially playing devil's advocate in my rhetoric here. If only because I think it's important for people to realize that what they determine to be good or wrong is going to be based upon their own raising. And we need to stop and think "is it right for me to apply my morals to this situation?" (20:45:46) Rosalyn_J: I think that it would only be right if it directly affected you (20:46:01) Lykeios: alright guys, I hate to leave in the middle of this wonderful discussion but I've gotta head off to bed so I can get up for work tomorrow (20:46:12) Lykeios: good night everyone! (20:46:17) Reacher: I think we have to consider values, obligations, and consequences. (20:46:20) Reacher: Goodnight! (20:46:22) Rosalyn_J: Lyk would it be ok to post this? (20:46:30) Lykeios: of course, feel free :) (20:46:40) Rosalyn_J: well I might as well ask everyone engaging lol (20:46:51) Reacher: Please do, Ros. (20:46:52) Rosalyn_J: how does everyone feel about having this posted? (20:47:09) Rosalyn_J: we don't have to stop the party (20:47:16) Proteus: i would partake, but i feel like there is a book i should have read before attending this :P (20:47:25) Rosalyn_J: haha (20:49:07) Temple Bot: Lykeios has been logged out (Timeout). (20:49:45) Reacher: Moral values, subjective or no, play a part in ethical decision-making. Our obligations do as well...if I am a teacher, do my morals have any place in the classroom? Even if objective (by my judgment)? What about the obligation I have to the institution I teach at? What if it's a Catholic School and I disagree with their teachings? If I believe in objective morality do I have a leg to stand on in terms of deviating from their curriculum? The last is consequences...do I hold to my morals and obligations even if the consequences are absolutely terrible? (20:50:04) Reacher: Do consequences have any place in ethical decision-making? (20:51:17) Rosalyn_J: good point (20:51:32) Avalonslight: I think k they have to play a part in that. (20:52:18) Avalonslight: And to be fair, I would say that there are some universal morals that cannot be varied from culture to culture... But perhaps that's idealistic of me. (20:52:43) Reacher: Then in relativist terms, why not just weight entirely upon consequences? (20:52:52) Rosalyn_J: And I wonder if this idea that I only have the right to exercise my morals when something directly affects me, I don't know if that will make me selfish (20:52:58) Rosalyn_J: or blind or what (20:53:26) Rosalyn_J: if there is a starving child in the street, can I give it food? (20:53:35) Temple Bot: josephbrotzman19 has joined the chat. (20:54:52) Avalonslight: I would personally say you're morally obligated to... (20:55:07) Rosalyn_J: why (20:55:09) Avalonslight: But that's just me. (20:55:15) Rosalyn_J: it doesnt affect me (20:55:23) josephbrotzman19: Avalonslight I disagree but that's cool (20:56:09) Reacher: rarehistoricalphotos.com/​vulture-little-girl/ (20:56:37) Avalonslight: Because that would fall into my idea of "universal morals"... In this case a moral obligation to preserve an innocent life where one is capable. The child starving may not directly affect you, but it is within your capability to ease it's suffering. To ignore it would be wrong. (20:56:39) Rosalyn_J: I saw that (20:56:56) Rosalyn_J: now see? (20:57:00) Reacher: I think it's an interesting case to explore some of what we're talking about. (20:57:17) Rosalyn_J: why should there not be a law that says there ought to be no starving child? (20:58:05) Avalonslight: I would ask why isn't there one already. (20:58:31) Rosalyn_J: because people have different views on who ought to feed the child (20:58:43) Avalonslight: Why do we sit back and watch when it is well beyond our capacity to ensure that every child is well fed. (20:59:10) Rosalyn_J: consider social welfare programs and the unbelievable idea of the "welfare mother" (20:59:12) Avalonslight: That's a different matter all together though. (20:59:27) Rosalyn_J: how so? (21:01:44) Temple Bot: josephbrotzman19 has been logged out (Timeout). (21:01:57) Avalonslight: Moral right vs active responsibility. No one is going to willingly take active responsibility for something when someone else exists to do so, simply to save themselves the cost of effort and money. That does not mean the moral obligation ceases to exist purely because there is argument over who holds the active responsibility. (21:02:27) Avalonslight: We get very selfish when we can place active responsibility onto someone else, as a general rule. The moral obligation still exists. (21:02:37) Rosalyn_J: but then what not pushing the morals of myself on others (21:02:54) Rosalyn_J: what about if someone else's morals relate to the survival of the fittest (21:03:06) Rosalyn_J: and pulling oneself up by their bootstraps (21:03:13) Rosalyn_J: and not giving handouts this was a great conversation! moral relativism is useful and not just ridiculous and socially destructive when you understand it as being about understanding, motives, and circumstances is it wrong to steal? who is stealing what, and why? are you feeding a staving baby the only way you can? are you stealing the plans to the death star? have you just conned the old lady that likes to feed the ducks out of her life savings? every act has a motive and impulse underneath it, and this is what distinguishes good from evil in the broadest strokes, "evil" is selfishness developed to the point of predatory malevolence this guy is a good example you dont have to use the word "evil" if you dont like, any number of words or phrases might be used instead but it is easy to understand how such a person is a danger to those around him regardless of what culture you place him in, and from that its clear that the word describes a type of thought and behavior that is very real i would add that just because an evil person tells you that they believe they are doing good (like isis murdering and raping their neighbors in the name of allah) does not at all at mean that you as a decent person are obligate to acknowledge that assertion as having any kind of merit whatsoever regarding some things that were said in that conversation: you cant compare us to other animals it would be absurd to expect a giraffe to navigate the internet or file a tax return right? well, so too is it silly to think that we can interact with reality and relate to each other with the simplicity of giraffes we have the most complex society of any earth species and sophisticated cooperation is integral to our survival also, people get confused with morality and assume that it is a top-down imposition of the ruling class or the religious leadership i blame marx for this misunderstanding and caution people not to be too impressed with sociologists oppression certainly exists but thats not all there is to it by any means and maybe not even most of it but all that is another discussion, for now let me just saythat civilization works better with an administrating class than without potentially dangerous as they are, the police are useful, military is useful, government is useful, ect generally, the morality of a culture the deference to transmission of the prominent lessons contained within that cultures historical memory sometimes humans dont learn well or dont interpret well, or hold on to things way beyond their usefulness- well basically human beings have a kooky streak a mile wide- so theres a lot of backward stuff in the world but the essence of morality is "acting in such a way so as to respect my own best interests as well as the best interests of my society in general and those i encounter in particular, to the greatest extent to which this is possible" and while different cultural circumstances, norms, and hierarchies will require or allow for different ways to express that theme, and different cultures place more or less emphasis on the individual vs the collective, morality everywhere is humankinds effort to live out that basic ideal
    • What we can learn from KOTR (Last post by JamesSand)
    • Never played it :) But in support of "video games as legit media" - I quite enjoy the morality of early Fallout games (Help the Sheriff kick the casino boss out of town? Whoops, Sheriff becomes a tyrant! Help the small town fix a powerplant? Whoops! Nearby town invades and wipes them out to steal their power. Lessons in trying to be a "hero" all the time >_< )
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    • ive been wondering about going to another gym to roll, just as a way of checking my own progress against other beginners, but im hesitant because i dont know how people will interpret it lol my coach has convinced me to start doing tournaments so i guess that will be my answer lol i dont have a whole lot of money but im absolutely willing to pay in sweat! (and money too of course, i just have less of it lol) i really love submission grappling; its the most precise (maybe scientific) way to fight and like you said in another thread its just fun to wrestle around with friends lol my intention is to just keep showing up and doing my best
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    • I was a reader of High times for roughly ten years before I quit for a while to raise my neices. I learned quite a bit from that monthly publication, for instance it successfully treats individuals suffering from epileptic seizures, and although it certainly is not a cure (yet) for cancer, I have seen first hand the benifits of a friend who was stricken with breast cancer who used it reguraly. This issue goes deeper than what alot of the posts here reveal, say for instance the reasons hemp is still illegal in the states. This isn't just about Marijuana, but the fact legalizing hemp alone holds the potential to end the worlds dependence on fossil fuels, forever. It's also exceptionally strong and can be turned into building material, preventing further deforestation. If one is legalized, in this instance the other must follow. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq hightimes.com/culture/10-reasons-marijua...ion-cant-be-stopped/ www.wakingtimes.com/2012/06/27/the-hemp-...-farming-was-banned/
    • Practical Jediism (Last post by Loudzoo)
    • CHAPTER VI: LOVE AND WILL This steady effort towards the simplifying of your tangled character, its gradual emancipation from the fetters of the unreal, is not to dispense you from that other special training of the attention which the diligent practice of meditation and recollection effects. Your pursuit of the one must never involve neglect of the other; for these are the two sides - one moral, the other mental - of that unique process of self-conquest which Ruysbroeck calls "the gathering of the forces of the soul into the unity of the spirit": the welding together of all your powers, the focussing of them upon one point. Hence they should never, either in theory or practice, be separated. Only the act of recollection, the constantly renewed retreat to the quiet centre of the spirit, gives that assurance of a Reality, a calmer and more valid life attainable by us, which supports the stress and pain of self- simplification and permits us to hope on, even in the teeth of the world's cruelty, indifference, degeneracy; whilst diligent character building alone, with its perpetual untiring efforts at self-adjustment, its bracing, purging discipline, checks the human tendency to relapse into and react to the obvious, and makes possible the further development of the contemplative power. So it is through and by these two great changes in your attitude towards things - first, the change of attention, which enables you to perceive a truer universe; next, the deliberate rearrangement of your ideas, energies, and desires in harmony with that which you have seen - that a progressive uniformity of life and experience is secured to you, and you are defended against the dangers of an indolent and useless mysticality. Only the real, say the mystics, can know Reality, for "we behold that which we are," the universe which we see is conditioned by the character of the mind that sees it: and this realness - since that which you seek is no mere glimpse of Eternal Life, but complete possession of it - must apply to every aspect of your being, the rich totality of character, all the "forces of the soul," not to some thin and isolated "spiritual sense" alone. This is why recollection and self-simplification - perception of, and adaptation to, the Spiritual World in which we dwell - are the essential preparations for the Jedi life, and neither can exist in a wholesome and well-balanced form without the other. By them the mind, the will, the heart, which so long had dissipated their energies over a thousand scattered notions, wants, and loves, are gradually detached from their old exclusive preoccupation with the ephemeral interests of the self, or of the group to which the self belongs. You, if you practise them, will find after a time - perhaps a long time - that the hard work which they involve has indeed brought about a profound and definite change in you. A new suppleness has taken the place of that rigidity which you have been accustomed to mistake for strength of character: an easier attitude towards the accidents of life. Your whole scale of values has undergone a silent transformation, since you have ceased to fight for your own hand and regard the nearest-at-hand world as the only one that counts. You have become, as the mystics would say, "free from inordinate attachments," the "heat of having" does not scorch you anymore; and because of this you possess great inward liberty, a sense of spaciousness and peace. Released from the obsessions which so long had governed them, will, heart, and mind are now all bent to the purposes of your deepest being: "gathered in the unity of the spirit," they have fused to become an agent with which it can act. What form, then, shall this action take? It shall take a practical form, shall express itself in terms of movement: the pressing outwards of the whole personality, the eager and trustful stretching of it towards the fresh universe which awaits you. As all scattered thinking was cut off in recollection, as all vagrant and unworthy desires have been killed by the exercises of detachment; so now all scattered willing, all hesitations between the in-drawing and outflowing instincts of the soul, shall be checked and resolved. You are to push with all your power: not to absorb ideas, but to pour forth will and love. With this "conative act," as the psychologists would call it, the true contemplative life begins. Contemplation, you see, has no very close connection with dreaminess and idle musing: it is more like the intense effort of vision, the passionate and self-forgetful act of communion, presupposed in all creative art. It is, says one old English mystic, "a blind intent stretching . . . a privy love pressed" in the direction of Ultimate Beauty, athwart all the checks, hindrances, and contradictions of the restless world: a "loving stretching out" towards Reality, says the great Ruysbroeck, than whom none has gone further on this path. Tension, ardour, are of its essence: it demands the perpetual exercise of industry and courage. We observe in such definitions as these a strange neglect of that glory of man, the Pure Intellect, with which the spiritual prig enjoys to believe that they can climb up to the Empyrean itself. It almost seems as though the mystics shared Keats' view of the supremacy of feeling over thought; and reached out towards some new and higher range of sensation, rather than towards new and more accurate ideas. They are ever eager to assure us that man's most sublime thoughts of the Transcendent are but a little better than his worst: that loving intuition is the only certain guide. "By love may He be gotten and holden, but by thought never." Yet here, you are not to fall into the clumsy error of supposing that the things which are beyond the grasp of reason are necessarily unreasonable things. Immediate feeling, so far as it is true, does not oppose but transcends and completes the highest results of thought. It contains within itself the sum of all the processes through which thought would pass in the act of attaining the same goal: supposing thought to have reached - as it has not - the high pitch at which it was capable of thinking its way all along this road. In the preliminary act of gathering yourself together, and in those unremitting explorations through which you came to "a knowing and a feeling of yourself as you are," thought assuredly had its place. There the powers of analysis, criticism, and deduction found work that they could do. But now it is the love and will - the feeling, the intent, the passionate desire - of the self, which shall govern your activities and make possible your success. Few would care to brave the horrors of a courtship conducted upon strictly intellectual lines: and contemplation is an act of love, the wooing, not the critical study, of The Force. It is an eager outpouring of ourselves towards a Somewhat Other for which we feel a passion of desire; a seeking, touching, and tasting, not a considering and analysing, of the beautiful and true wherever found. It is, as it were, a responsive act of the organism to those Supernal Powers without, which touch and stir it. Deep humility as towards those Powers, a willing surrender to their control, is the first condition of success. The mystics speak much of these elusive contacts; felt more and more in the soul, as it becomes increasingly sensitive to the subtle movements of its spiritual environment. "Sense, feeling, taste, complacency, and sight, These are the true and real joys, The living, flowing, inward, melting, bright And heavenly pleasures; all the rest are toys; All which are founded in Desire, As light in flame and heat in fire." But this new method of correspondence with the universe is not to be identified with "mere feeling" in its lowest and least orderly forms. Contemplation does not mean abject surrender to every "mystical" impression that comes in. It is no sentimental aestheticism or emotional piety to which you are being invited: nor shall the transcending of reason ever be achieved by way of spiritual silliness. All the powers of the self, raised to their most intense form, shall be used in it; though used perhaps in a new way. These, the three great faculties of love, thought, and will - with which you have been accustomed to make great show on the periphery of consciousness - you have, as it were, drawn inwards during the course of your inward retreat: and by your education in detachment have cured them of their tendency to fritter their powers amongst a multiplicity of objects. Now, at the very heart of personality, you are alone with them; you hold with you in that "Interior Temple", and undistracted for the moment by the demands of practical existence, the three great tools wherewith the soul deals with life. As regards the life you have hitherto looked upon as "normal," love - understood in its widest sense, as desire, emotional inclination - has throughout directed your activities. You did things, sought things, learned things, even suffered things, because at bottom you wanted to. Will has done the work to which love spurred it: thought has assimilated the results of their activities and made for them pictures, analyses, "explanations" of the world with which they had to deal. But now your purified love discerns and desires, your will is set towards, something which thought cannot really assimilate - still less explain. "Contemplation," says Ruysbroeck, "is a knowing that is in no wise . . . therein all the workings of the reason fail." That reason has been trained to deal with the stuff of temporal existence. It will only make mincemeat of your experience of Eternity if you give it a chance; trimming, transforming, rationalising that ineffable vision, trying to force it into a symbolic system with which the intellect can cope. This is why the great contemplatives utter again and again their solemn warning against the deceptiveness of thought when it ventures to deal with spiritual intuitions; crying with the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, "Look that nothing live in thy working mind but a naked intent stretching" - the voluntary tension of your ever-growing, ever-moving personality pushing out towards the Real. "Love, and do what you like," said the wise Augustine: so little does mere surface activity count, against the deep motive that begets it. The dynamic power of love and will, the fact that the heart's desire - if it be intense and industrious - is a better earnest of possible fulfilment than the most elegant theories of the spiritual world; this is the perpetual theme of all the Christian mystics. By such love, they think, the worlds themselves were made. By an eager outstretching towards Reality, they tell us, we tend to move towards Reality, to enter into its rhythm: by a humble and unquestioning surrender to it we permit its entrance into our souls. This twofold act, in which we find the double character of all true love - which both gives and takes, yields and demands – is assured, if we be patient and single-hearted, of ultimate success. At last our ignorance shall be done away; and we shall "apprehend" the real and the eternal, as we apprehend the sunshine when the sky is free from cloud. Therefore "Smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love" - and suddenly it shall part, and disclose the blue. "Smite," "press," "push," "strive" - these are strong words: yet they are constantly upon the lips of the contemplatives when describing the earlier stages of their art. Clearly, the abolition of discursive thought is not to absolve you from the obligations of industry. You are to "energise enthusiastically" upon new planes, where you shall see more intensely, hear more intensely, touch and taste more intensely than ever before: for the modes of communion which these senses make possible to you are now to operate as parts of the one single state of perfect intuition, of loving knowledge by union, to which you are growing up. And gradually you come to see that, if this be so, it is the ardent will that shall be the prime agent of your undertaking: a will which has now become the active expression of your deepest and purest desires. About this the recollected and simplified self is to gather itself as a centre; and thence to look out - steadily, deliberately - with eyes of love towards the world. To "look with the eyes of love" seems a vague and sentimental recommendation: yet the whole art of spiritual communion is summed in it, and exact and important results flow from this exercise. The attitude which it involves is an attitude of complete humility and of receptiveness; without criticism, without clever analysis of the thing seen. When you look thus, you surrender your I-hood; see things at last as the artist does, for their sake, not for your own. The fundamental unity that is in you reaches out to the unity that is in them: and you achieve the "Simple Vision" of the poet and the mystic - that synthetic and undistorted apprehension of things which is the antithesis of the single vision of practical people. The doors of perception are cleansed, and everything appears as it is. The disfiguring results of hate, rivalry, prejudice, vanish away. Into that silent place to which recollection has brought you, new music, new colour, new light, are poured from the outward world. The conscious love which achieves this vision may, indeed must, fluctuate - "As long as thou livest thou art subject to mutability; yea, though thou wilt not!" But the will which that love has enkindled can hold attention in the right direction. It can refuse to relapse to unreal and egotistic correspondences; and continue, even in darkness, and in the suffering which such darkness brings to the awakened spirit, its appointed task, cutting a way into new levels of Reality. Therefore this transitional stage in the development of the contemplative powers - in one sense the completion of their elementary schooling, in another the beginning of their true activities - is concerned with the toughening and further training of that will which self-simplification has detached from its old concentration upon the unreal wants and interests of the self. Merged with your intuitive love, this is to become the true agent of your encounter with Reality; for that Simple Eye of Intention, which is so supremely your own, and in the last resort the maker of your universe and controller of your destiny, is nothing else but a synthesis of such energetic will and such uncorrupt desire, released to you by The Force.

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