(-ish)(-less)(-ness)(-loathing): The Self/Soul and The Insidiousness of Mass Violence

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I remember, over a decade ago, the first time I encountered the Wiccan Rede.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will

I thought that made sense; felt, somehow, that for all the differences between religions, spiritualities, and worldviews of various natures, that this was the key, the thrust behind the cross-contextual, multinational affirmation of the Golden Rule. Whatever you do, whatever you thrive upon: what does it matter, so long as no one is harmed by it? And if we treat one another with a sense of non-violent aversion to harm, then goodness gracious: we’re bound to cultivate some care in the process.

Right?

In the wake Orlando, I read the advice of that Rede with new inflections. I see the gold of that Rule cast, lit by the angle of a different light.

Harming none means none. No one. No harm.

Even to one’s self.

Doing unto others what you would have them do unto you requires that one knows what they’d want, what they might need. So often, in so many contexts and from so many sources, religious and otherwise: we are taught to accept others, receive others—but we struggle even, with this. And do we struggle, in part, because we do not remember that, axiomatically, in order to fulfil the Golden Rule—to do unto others as we would have then do unto us—we must first know for ourselves how we’re meant to be treated; how we feel we deserve to be treated at the very primary point of contact, the initial model of how the self is valued and engaged?

For how else do we learn how to act, how else do we know how we want to be treated, aside from the ways in which we treat ourselves?

We circulate the message of love and goodness and care as the necessary response in times like these. This is necessary, this is honourable, this is human. And yet, to turn those maxims in response to ourselves smacks of narcissism. Indulgence. Something to be earned, or else ashamed of, for availing in the luxury needlessly.

 

((  Read More at State of Formation  ))

The Gifford Lectures: A Review of Dyson Freeman’s ‘Infinite In All Directions’

 

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All rights to the following review, shown here in part and in full via link, are held by Templeton Press.

Science writing of nearly every shade is axiomatically time-sensitive; a lecture on the origins of life from a perspective in the natural sciences, from an theorectical physicist such as Freeman Dyson, therefore emerges as ‘dated’ fairly quickly. Thankfully, Dyson takes his title Infinite In All Directions—quoting Emil Wiechert—very much to heart, with the common thread of the book emerging not in its sequential facts, but instead in its consistent and multicontextual bid for diversity, the “chief source of beauty and value, in the natural universe around is, in the governance of human societies, and in the depths of our individual souls” (xiii).

With the most recent 2004 edition offering the author’s own perspective on what has and has not proven obsolete since the original 1988 publication, Dyson is clear as to the thematic thrust of his work, admitting that he has no desire to “revise” the piece to update the science; in functional terms, though, the necessary updates would do nothing to add or detract from the great value of Dyson’s work where it stands to be gleaned from the the philosophical insights he never shirks, and arguably circles back to as a rule.

 

((  Read More at Gifford Lectures  ))