So the following subject was recalled in conversation earlier today, and if anyone still follows this group or cares about LiveJournal, I'd love to see some debate:
To what extent does a society have a responsibility to care for an injury versus the individual's responsibility? Does this boundary change between physical and mental injuries? What does this imply about our perceptions and ethics?
"Injury" is being used in the context that it is used in all medical writing (I write medical textbooks for a living), that is, as any condition that manifests from outside influence, accident or infection. These terms are intentionally value-free.
And yes, I want to hear about all injuries; temporary, permanent, physical and mental. Tell me about "fair," tell me about "ethical," tell me about "effective." Let me hear the range of discussion.
on the long car ride to mooresville last friday, i was talking to cristina about an idea i had, which is pretty much a useless one but one that sort of captured my attention for a little bit and took up some of the car ride in discussion.
what if the garden of eden was not a literal garden but a state of human being? i will try to explain this idea.
in the beginning, when god(something) created man and woman, we were much like animals, not aware or caring that we didn't have clothing, merely going through our normal processes eating, defecating, mating. the apple was not an apple at all but a step of human consciousness. we became aware, we created an ego to filter and process the world around us. we became separate entities aware of each other as distinct from ourselves. this ego acted as a shield between us and the divine. our ego matrix made us aware we were naked, thus adam and eve wore clothes. the ego matrix was weak and fragile, so it wanted protection and comfort. fear became the primary dominating tool through which humans would interact. language became a way to communicate without telling truths. dichotomy was implemented to further satiate the "us" and "them" catagories, which don't actually exist at any level but are just superimposed to make us feel like we have structure.
fear became the primary tool through which everything we created was in response to this fear. fear dominated entire lifespans, decisions. words, created out of fear, grew into barriers so great they separated large groups of people. depending on the vocabulary, words could be used to limit the ability for humans to describe their surroundings.
the quest to communicate with the divine, and the rest of the universe, grew more and more difficult as more and more man-made constraints were put into play.
eventually, people sold the "idea" of communing with the universe and the idea became more and more perverted to the point that humans shunned the actual notion of the actual thing and were more interested in following the "steps" (man-made dogmas) created to attain notional views of immortality (which doesn't exist).
"love the lord, your god, above all others. love thy neighbor as thy self. this is the whole of the law and the prophet."
can any disagree with this? perhaps, should you not believe in god. but the second part, loving thy neighbor as thyself? is this surely a disagreable statement? and the last part as well, that between these two statements lies everything that one needs to truly commune and exist in our universe?
our lifespans are not infinite. surely, this is evident by the certainty of death and the end of life as we are aware of it. there is no mention of heaven towards afterlife. the heaven that is attained, is attained here. the kingdom of god is amongst the meakest and the humblest of men. hell is also here and it is in our own gnashing of teeth and lamenting, both expressed in our actions and in our internal emotions. and as i said before, as dichotomies merely exist to satiate our egos, let us remove that barrier. heaven and hell are both amongst us as we breathe and live right here. we choose, everyday, every waking moment, which one we will exist in.
Its glibly proscribed that the party is down in hell, that all the cool people end up there for various and assorted technical violations, and that heaven, in its respective contravention, is ambrosia sipping conservative boors and harp music. The dream of heaven is claimed as falsehood, because, fundamentally, the interesting people, those gray heroes, those heroes who struggled vainly against their world, often didnt play by the technical rules.
Lets throw out the book on this, and re-image heaven and hell to new accords. The first question is, what merits do we evaluate individuals on?
"You taught me one thing, the only thing, I should always remember? Which is? I forgot."
Heaven or hell appears fundamentally a measure of one's soul, and to what extents one has lived their life in direction and under prescription of their soul's guidance. Its a remarkably universal belief that one has to listen to one's soul, both eastern and western (albeit perhaps only as a function of the great karmic/daoist wheels of fate in some belief circles), that its us to up to play out the weight of judgment invested in something transcending our bodily selves.
What if we replace the conventional sing-song repentance rulebook with an actualization schema? Heaven is where those who followed their callings go, hell is where the supplicants to worldly convention and normality fall? Those of God's will, those who follow his and their own soul, hold court in heaven, their combined voice the aggregate Unity of being? The rest, those corrupted by the world, those who did not listen to the soul, left to cycle again and again until they can hear their own voice? I think here of the rapture of What Dreams May Come, the housewife Anne Nielsen, lost, a soul rent upon the barbs of a harsh reality, unable to imagine itself.
And what of this alter heaven? Is it open only to the blessed? What of modern monsters who followed their own unique callings? Is there room for aparthiedists, segregists, dictators, and capitalists? Of these, undoubtedly some felt that they had a destiny greater than themselves they were living out, that their atypical journey was a part of their truest self? How do we judge the cases where the soul contravenes the moralities of the world and goodness?
So here's a spinoff from a comment I made to the last post.
Let's suppose for a minute that this country nationalizes healthcare, providing free or low cost medical coverage to all. Let's just pretend that happens and not argue over whether it should. I'm sure most of you know where I stand personally.
But if it does. . .
Since you would be paying for my addiction recovery program, would that give you the right and/or obligation to insist that me and all the other addicts out there knock that shit off? Would you be more inclined to condemn blatantly self-destructive behavior if you were forced to share the consequences of everyone's self-destructive behavior?
Right now most Americans live in a (delusional) bubble of "That's your problem, not mine." If my problem became your problem, would it pop that bubble and inspire you to get more up in my bidness? Or would you still pretend it wasn't your problem? Would you feel disenfranchised since, sure, you can throw my meth in a river and lock me in a closet till I detox, but it ain't gonna make a dent in the thousands of other meth-heads out there?
And there's the slippery slope element as well. Getting some community shunning going on for folks who engage in wantonly self-destructive behavior like drug use and violence is one thing, but telling me that I shouldn't be able to have my sixth baby because you're going to be paying for the delivery is another. And that slip slides even further down the eugenics slope. If you're paying for every delivery, would it not make sense to create societal disincentives for multiple children? (Hey, works in China, eh?)
Or maybe I just like my slip-n-slide. Wheeeee!
In any case, I actually have no passionate opinion about this thought experiment, but thought it might make for interesting discussion. Would living in a socialist country make you more inclined to voice your opinions about other people's choices?
sometimes it feels like we're desperately trying to duct tape the financial golem back together. i for one hold no great hope our actions will alleviate its poor behavior. how long until we declare that our capitalist system needs a fundamental & thorough restructuring? how long until the monster kills a second time?
It's been a while since we had a nice talk about social constructs. The subject came up recently about what the meat and bones of marriage is. I have decided that the best way to come to a consensus is to turn it over to my fellow Men of Strange Honor for debate.
First off, I put forward that a marriage is a ritual (that is a distinct ceremonial event with established rites/actions) that is meant to join people in an official, social, emotional or legally binding way. The ritual is most frequently associated with a romantic subtext or context. Please note that use of the word "or" in the above list means that the ritual need only fill one to be a marriage ritual. Filling more than one is just fine too.
From this definition I asks you fellow Men of Strange Honor the following questions:
Are there any other requirements of a marriage ritual?
Is an officiator essential for a marriage ritual?
If so, what is the purpose of the officiator?
If not, can two people simply marry each other?
To help start discussion my answers to these questions are as follows:
-- For a ritual to be valid it must have a link to a third party that either is or represents a social, spiritual or legal power that the parties being married have a real commitment and faith to. The philosophical part is that marriage is a blend of the married parties to one another and then to the thing that makes up the fabric of their world. For some that's God. For some it's ancestor spirits. For some it is the rule of law.
-- This means that for the most part an officiator is necessary for marriage. Lacking the presence of the deity/construct/concept itself as witness, it is necessary to have someone(s) endowed with that deity/construct/concept's authority and power act as its stand-in. (this also answers the question after that)
-- However, I posit that if two people are in a great enough state of commitment and passion to their deity/construct/concept (what some would call "grace") that an officiator is no longer necessary. For people such as these, the promise that a marriage ritual implies runs deep enough to be a part of thier essence.
-- While Carlos really does believe that people like this are out there right this minute, he's pretty damn sure that 99% of people that claim to be this committed are not. Furthermore not a single one of the Men of Strange Honor is qualified to waive the presence of an officiator. Sorry guys!
So let's hear some answers! I believe in the consensus so I want to see some. . . um. . . consensusing! Also, please save commentary on the necessity of marriage for another thread. This is not a debate on why one should get married. It merely seeks to ask the question "What is a marriage ritual?"