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Re: [existlist] Re: Changes to existlist

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  • tom
    Mary, Louise, Jim, Will etc I believe in discussing both charity as well as ethnic identity, it might be useful to consider the concept of balancing of
    Message 1 of 41 , Apr 1, 2011
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      Mary, Louise, Jim, Will etc

      I believe in discussing both charity as well as ethnic identity, it might be useful to consider the concept of balancing of opposites. These concepts of balancing opposites appear in all or most spiritual traditions whither Eastern, the Kabalah, Christianity etc. The Kabalah lists opposites like justice and compassion etc. and see the ideal as a balancing rather than any one side rigidly being dominant. Jesus said give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. I heard in the TM movement years ago, the analogy of a person being a number of encompasing circles with the physical body the innemost, and then spouse, children, very close friends, acquantances, community, nation, world, cosmos etc. I believe any intellectual paradigm that does not provide for balancing of these opposites is likely to result in ideals that exist more in our heads than in our behavior, or nonsustainable behaviors. I understand Louise attempting to reconcile her humanistic idealism with her ethnicity. Early in evolution, single celled creatures begin to form colonies for hunting and gathering. This is the evolutionary basis of tribes, and tribal reality usually involves more oneness with other members of tribe than most of us have, but much less empathy for anything outside the tribe than we have.Tribal sacrafices, whither of a lamb or a person was expressive of this. Obviously, progress and even human survival push us toward expanding our experience of unity beyond the tribe. However,the genetic and cultural impulses toward unity with our tribes do exist, and must be reconciled the more recent additions to the human psyche. I have heard that if a red ant gets thrown in with a black ant, it is immediately history. Likewise rats in a nest can be having friendly play,but throw in a rat from another nest, and that rat will be history.It certainly might be possible someday for a more diverse society to behave with the nobility of the Japanese, but so far like many things it is speculative rather than historical.

      Peace
      Tom
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Mary
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 12:22 PM
      Subject: [existlist] Re: Changes to existlist



      I think the context of these sayings is important. In the first Jesus is sending the apostles out as "sheep among wolves," not an agape situation. Describing a snake as wise seems to indicate reading one's environment, a prudent activity, and doves as gently flying away and avoiding danger or unnecessary violence. In the second, the emphasis is on who really is a neighbor. The Jew and the Levite were certainly capable of helping the beaten man but chose not to. Anyway, the second does bear somewhat on cultural heritage which we have yet to adequately define, and the first, as Louise suggests, involves prudence. Agape seems to involve empathy which I opine is human rather than ethnic and evokes what people have in common.

      Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
      >
      > Jim and Irvin,
      >
      > If I might join this discussion here, I would like to suggest that agape always bears a certain prudence within it, as evinced by Jesus' words, be gentle as doves, wise as serpents, or, in Paul's words, be in malice as children, in understanding as men. The Good Samaritan shows his prudence by going to the aid of someone he can in fact help. Our English word (prudence) may bear an association of mere calculation, but this does not exhaust its meanings.
      >
      > Louise
      >
      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Irvin,
      > >
      > > Just as Bill misunderstood what Herman meant by his use of the word `charity', so I misunderstood what you meant by the word.
      > >
      > > Rather than use the word `charity' or the word `love', I shall stick to agape, as I am sure you and I can fairly well agree on what that word means.
      > >
      > > Or perhaps not. You write:
      > >
      > > "In reference to charity's potential for corruption, the question isn't whether one can love another too much, but whether love, like other qualities, must be tempered by judgment, by a prudent regard of whether to act or not. Otherwise love can enable its object in bad (though unintended) ways. And agape, no less than romantic love, can be deceived or even self-deceiving."
      > >
      > > My first thought in response is that agape has nothing to do with prudence. The Good Samaritan did not first consider if it were prudent to stop and tend to the injured man, he just did what needed to be done - almost without thought - certainly without thought for himself. Rather it was the Priest and the Levite who prudently considered the alternatives and made the `rational' decision that, all things considered, they ought to stick to their original plans and not be diverted from them by the poor unfortunate at the side of the road.
      > >
      > > Agape, in my view, is an irrational virtue, and thus not at all aligned with what is prudent.
      > >
      > > As for the Scandinavians and the Japanese, I'm not so sure. It has been claimed in the newspaper I read that actually the worst affected victims of the tsunami have not actually got the help to cope with their tragedy that they would have got in a European country.
      > >
      > > Yes the Scandinavians have been found to live more harmonious and happier lives that the citizens of the UK or the US, but, arguably, that is because their societies are more equalitarian than ours, rather than because there is less ethnic diversity.
      > >
      > > Jim
      > >
      >





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jim
      Herman, If I recall we had this conversation about two years ago. I agree Aristotle had a moral blind spot when it came to slaves (and women), and this blind
      Message 41 of 41 , Apr 3, 2011
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        Herman,

        If I recall we had this conversation about two years ago.

        I agree Aristotle had a moral blind spot when it came to slaves (and women), and this blind spot is a serious blight on his ethics as a whole.

        However, Aristotle was no individualist. He argued that the good life could only occur within the polis, i.e. within a `civilised' state where there was respect almost equals and all contributed to the governance of the state.

        I would extend Aristotle's idea of the polis to the whole of humankind. My ability to live the good life does not just depend on whether I can manifest personal virtues, it also depends on the levels of unhappiness and injustice in my community.

        Jim


        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Jim,
        >
        > Forgive my quick response :-). I was finishing another post, when I caught
        > this post.
        >
        > On 3 April 2011 17:57, Jim <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > > Hi Herman,
        > >
        > > Following Aristotle, a virtue is a character trait which contributes to, or
        > > is an element of, the good life. And the good life is the environment where
        > > there is general well-being and the people are happy and flourish.
        > >
        > > Aristotle spoke only for the elite of the elite. The realisation of his
        > virtues demand an entire system of appropriation. There is nothing general
        > about his general well-being. That is why the societies that fashioned
        > themselves after "the Greeks" were just like them. The slavers of the modern
        > world were as interested in general well-being as Aristotle.
        >
        > Sorry :-)
        >
        > Cheers
        >
        >
        > Herman
        >
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