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Choices easy and difficult (was Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??)

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  • Pauline J. Alama
    I m not sure whether this would be called relativist or absolutist, but I think I m inclined to the opinion that while there is a right way to behave, none of
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 6, 2003
      I'm not sure whether this would be called relativist or absolutist,
      but I think I'm inclined to the opinion that while there is a right
      way to behave, none of us can ever be sure we always perceive it
      correctly, and those who are too sure that they know what's right are
      most likely to make wrong choices in themselves, to persist in wrong
      actions once they have chosen, and to do unintended evil in the
      course of trying to set others right.

      Just my opinion-- I could be wrong. ;-}
      Pauline
      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Ernest Tomlinson" <thiophene@f...>
      wrote:
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Elizabeth Apgar Triano" <lizziewriter@e...>
      > To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 11:46 AM
      > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??
      >
      >
      > > I had trouble, for example, with the priest at my old church
      because he
      > > presented everything as black and white, as if all choices should
      be easy
      > > ones. The new priest speaks more from a place where life is full
      of
      > > dichotomies.
      >
      > Some weeks ago I got into a hot (but polite) argument with my
      partner Dale
      > about absolute vs. relative codes of behavior. As I remember, the
      argument
      > started over the message behind stories such as that of Lot's
      wife's turning
      > to salt when she looked back, and Orpheus's losing Eurydice because
      he
      > turned back to look at her as he returned from Avernus. He felt
      that there
      > was something deeply unfair about both of these stories, that it was
      > _natural_ for Lot's wife to look back on her home as she was
      leaving it
      > forever, that it was _understandable_ for Orpheus to glance behind
      him to
      > assure himself that the shade of his wife was really there, and
      that God or
      > the gods was being unnatural and unfair in punishing these persons
      for
      > obeying their natures. I argued stoutly that these stories were
      > illustrating a basic truth of our lives, that however we order our
      affairs
      > and try to avoid tough decisions, we come to moments of decision
      where we
      > _must_ do something, _must_ make some crucial (pun intended)
      decision,
      > without the slightest shred of reasonable justification to be
      found. These
      > stories, I said, were about just those moments. We argued around
      and
      > around, got nowhere, and agreed to disagree, as we so often do.
      >
      > I agree that the attitude that all choices should be easy ones is
      foolish.
      > As a very newly minted Christian I cringe at those who regard the
      Bible as
      > some sort of infallible rulebook, as if one could decide what to do
      in _any_
      > circumstance by consulting the correct verse, like looking up a
      specific
      > section in the C++ language specification to resolve a tricky
      computer
      > programming problem. Nevertheless I am not a relativist; I believe
      that in
      > the end, life _does_ boil down to "black and white" decisions,
      moments when
      > no temporizing is any longer possible, crossroads (pun intended
      again) where
      > either one road or another must be taken. I like to think that the
      great
      > myths, those in the Bible included (oof, I'm already in trouble for
      using
      > "Bible" and "myth" together), tell us something about those crucial
      moments.
      > I think that too many people--I include myself--numb themselves to
      realizing
      > they have reached such moments, and make the wrong decisions almost
      > unconsciously. "So full of sleep are they when they leave the
      right way."
      >
      > > I know
      > > I'm a grayscale contradiction-ridden Libra myself, and my husband
      is a
      > > WYSIWYG workaholic Aquarius.
      >
      > <shrug> I've never held much for astrology, although it's a bit
      fun to talk
      > about. I snicker when I hear people who are more deeply into it
      talk about
      > what Sagittariani (to coin a word) are supposed to be like, because
      I'm
      > nothing like anything they say. I'm reminded of the joke about the
      day when
      > the discipline of astrology took a major leap forward in gaining
      credibility
      > when everyone born under the sign of Scorpius was run over by an
      egg truck.
      >
      > Cheers,
      >
      > Ernest.
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