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Does Pantheism have a Moral Compass?

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  • Does Pantheism have a Moral Compass?

    There’s been some interesting discussion concerning ethics and Pantheism but it seems to have become spread over two separate threads;

    Belief statement of the World Pantheist Movement

    And;

    Pantheism as a Basis for Ethics

    I thought that it might be useful to bring the discussion to one thread so that arguments can be pursued without the schizophrenic jumping between threads and if you are in agreement, and let’s face it we usually are, we can examine whether or not Pantheism has a moral compass here, in one place?

    Please feel free to post quotes from the other two threads to make your point where necessary. Apologies in advance if this might lead to some duplication of past efforts!

    Personally I am not interested in creating a framework of ethics but rather deriving a behaviour from a principle or, if necessary, a set of principles. The human world is not black and white but rather a sea of grey sparsely dotted with islands of certainty. For me navigation might be easier if with a simple principle, a kind of moral compass that points north, rather than a more stringent framework that might constantly need adjustment or even to be rebuilt.

  • #2
    good idea. I'll bring over some stuff.

    Comment


    • #3
      well, i mean, it's really quite simple. since everything that exists is divine and since everything is connecetd (again...think spider web not blob), just be selfish. act in such a way that will bring about the most positive result for yourself.

      i think people tend to do this anyway, but sometimes they forget that negativity (thoughts, words or lack of words, deeds) brings about negativity which, in the end, will not bring about the desired result.

      so, act in a way that will bring about the most positive result for yourself...making sure to act in a positive way.

      i'm pretty sure this will bring up the question of what is meant by "negative". by this i mean doing, thinking, saying things that are hurtful/harmful/disrespectful/dishonorable (etc.). i know we *all* do/say/think things that are harmful towards others, etc. once you realize that you have behaved in a harmful way, just do your best to make it better. do this for yourself.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by *oonagh* View Post
        since everything that exists is divine

        Okay, so as we discussed previously this means that anything that exists is composed of the same substance (perhaps it might be more accurate to say that the only thing that exists, or has independent existence, is this substance and there is only one kind/type of it).

        and since everything is connecetd (again...think spider web not blob),
        I'm still not sure what this means. Connected how? Causally? Can one element of this spiderweb affect every other element including itself?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by green aventurine View Post
          Connected how? Causally? Can one element of this spiderweb affect every other element including itself?
          yup.

          Comment


          • #6
            Okay, and each element is represented by an intersection/node on this spiderweb and the actual strings/web itself doesn't actually exist (ie. only the points of intersection are made of this single substance not the whole web itself otherwise it would just be a funny shaped blob) but represents the causal connection between each intersection/node or the pathways with which each element can communicate with each other?
            Last edited by green aventurine; February 11th, 2010, 01:59 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by green aventurine View Post
              Okay, and each element is represented by an intersection/node on this spiderweb and the actual strings/web itself doesn't actually exist (ie. only the points of intersection are made of this single substance not the whole web itself otherwise it would just be a funny shaped blob) but represents the causal connection between each intersection/node or the pathways with which each element can communicate with each other?
              i'm a bit too simple for you. sorry about that <g>.
              what do you mean by "each element"?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by *oonagh* View Post
                i'm a bit too simple for you. sorry about that <g>.

                Or maybe I'm just terrible at explaining what I mean

                what do you mean by "each element"?
                I meant each basic unit of this single substance. if it's not a blob there must be lots of bits and pieces knocking about of this single substance.

                eta: or perhaps thinking about it did you mean at each intersection/node there are human beings (made up of this basic substance).

                When you say everything is connected and spider webs you're not talking about basic metaphysical picture of how things really are ie reality. What you are really showing is a metaphorical picture of causal relationships where there are lots of different entities like human beings and everything they do affects everybody else including themselves? I don't really know much about chaos theory but it sounds a little bit like that.
                .
                Last edited by green aventurine; February 11th, 2010, 03:00 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by green aventurine View Post
                  I meant each basic unit of this single substance. if it's not a blob there must be lots of bits and pieces knocking about of this single substance.

                  eta: or perhaps thinking about it did you mean at each intersection/node there are human beings (made up of this basic substance).

                  When you say everything is connected and spider webs you're not talking about basic metaphysical picture of how things really are ie reality. What you are really showing is a metaphorical picture of causal relationships where there are lots of different entities like human beings and everything they do affects everybody else including themselves? I don't really know much about chaos theory but it sounds a little bit like that.
                  lots of bits and pieces knocking about this single substance...i think that's more of a blob <g>.

                  basic metaphysical picture of how things really are (reality), yes.
                  like chaos theory, yes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by *oonagh* View Post
                    lots of bits and pieces knocking about this single substance...i think that's more of a blob <g>.

                    lol okay, when you said blob I thought really what you meant was a unity/unified object which can't be broken into smaller pieces rather than a kind of shapeless/undifferentiated mass. so when you say spiderweb you mean there is literally a solid, indivisible, object shaped like a spiderweb and it's made up of a single substance and when in reality we think objects are completely separate from each other, they are in fact connected both causally and literally, although everything isn't in exactly the same place, as it were, forming a undifferentiated, messy blob?

                    basic metaphysical picture of how things really are (reality), yes.
                    like chaos theory, yes.
                    I need to have a look at chaos theory, I'm not very familiar with it.
                    Last edited by green aventurine; February 11th, 2010, 03:55 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by *oonagh* View Post
                      well, i mean, it's really quite simple. since everything that exists is divine and since everything is connecetd (again...think spider web not blob), just be selfish. act in such a way that will bring about the most positive result for yourself.

                      i think people tend to do this anyway, but sometimes they forget that negativity (thoughts, words or lack of words, deeds) brings about negativity which, in the end, will not bring about the desired result.

                      so, act in a way that will bring about the most positive result for yourself...making sure to act in a positive way.

                      i'm pretty sure this will bring up the question of what is meant by "negative". by this i mean doing, thinking, saying things that are hurtful/harmful/disrespectful/dishonorable (etc.). i know we *all* do/say/think things that are harmful towards others, etc. once you realize that you have behaved in a harmful way, just do your best to make it better. do this for yourself.
                      Tyger:
                      Existence is god.

                      Everything that exists is god.

                      The relationship between matter and energy connects all things.

                      To act against another person in a detrimental fashion is to act against god and, by extension, oneself. To act in a beneficial fashion towards another person is to act in favour of god and oneself.
                      Okay, I think my problem with these two would be that they are both human biased and that within a pantheistic framework they're not taking into account anything else.

                      For example, giving a human being who is sick antibiotics is acting in a beneficial fashion or a positive way towards another human being but then again it is killing off the organisms inside the human being making him/her ill. It doesn't even seem to me possible to act in a positive non-detrimental way to everything, in some instances anyway.

                      Somehow, I'm thinking something more universal is needed. One example I was thinking about could be:

                      When an organism or entity eats another organism or entity it's disrespectful for the eater not to give thanks or acknowledge the role the thing being eaten is providing to the eater in continuing its existence.

                      I suppose it's a bit like saying grace but actually being grateful to the thing s/he eats rather than to a Christian God who is acting as a provider. I'm not sure if that works or not (and perhaps it might be difficult for a virus to feel gratitude lol) but somehow I feel the statements should be more universal otherwise it looks like humanism, perhaps, rather than pantheism, IMO.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by green aventurine View Post
                        Tyger:


                        Okay, I think my problem with these two would be that they are both human biased and that within a pantheistic framework they're not taking into account anything else.

                        For example, giving a human being who is sick antibiotics is acting in a beneficial fashion or a positive way towards another human being but then again it is killing off the organisms inside the human being making him/her ill. It doesn't even seem to me possible to act in a positive non-detrimental way to everything, in some instances anyway.

                        Somehow, I'm thinking something more universal is needed. One example I was thinking about could be:

                        When an organism or entity eats another organism or entity it's disrespectful for the eater not to give thanks or acknowledge the role the thing being eaten is providing to the eater in continuing its existence.

                        I suppose it's a bit like saying grace but actually being grateful to the thing s/he eats rather than to a Christian God who is acting as a provider. I'm not sure if that works or not (and perhaps it might be difficult for a virus to feel gratitude lol) but somehow I feel the statements should be more universal otherwise it looks like humanism, perhaps, rather than pantheism, IMO.
                        The above clarifies an earlier post you made on one of the other threads regarding creeping humanism. Well, for me anyway!

                        I agree with the idea of a more universal concept but I think that due to our subjective experience of existence that it will prove difficult to achieve something truly objective. People will always make judgements in relation to themselves first, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no value in trying though.

                        As to the conduit for connection between all things my hopes rest upon a particle similar to a gluon, capable of binding matter and energy together.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by green aventurine View Post
                          Okay, I think my problem with these two would be that they are both human biased and that within a pantheistic framework they're not taking into account anything else.
                          The usual Western focus is human biased, yes.

                          However, I'd consider vegetarianism a good example of constructive selfishness, which isn't purely human-focused. Not eating meat means that there are nutritional benefits to the human being doing it, sure; but it also means that either an animal isn't killed, or that at least if the animal is killed inhumanely, the person refraining from eating meat, does not share in the responsibility for the animal's death.

                          For example, giving a human being who is sick antibiotics is acting in a beneficial fashion or a positive way towards another human being but then again it is killing off the organisms inside the human being making him/her ill. It doesn't even seem to me possible to act in a positive non-detrimental way to everything, in some instances anyway.
                          That's true; but carnivorous, and occasionally parasitic behaviour exists within nature as well. It is, however, also true that a lot of contemporary medicine is destructive in focus; it might kill the bacteria, but it often does damage to the host individual as well.

                          Antibiotic herbs, such as garlic, will still remove some bacteria from a body, but they will generally do so in a way that is much less harmful to the host, and by extension, will probably actually kill less of the bacteria on balance as well.

                          When an organism or entity eats another organism or entity it's disrespectful for the eater not to give thanks or acknowledge the role the thing being eaten is providing to the eater in continuing its existence.
                          I would put it in positive, (it is mutually beneficial to do so) rather than negative (it is disrespectful not to) terms.

                          It is mutually beneficial, both for an animal's spirit and for me, if as a meat eater, I express gratitude for said meat. However it is equally beneficial if the same is done, even when eating purely vegetarian food as well.

                          If, however, a person chooses not to do this, they choose not to do it. Will is free; I can make decisions concerning my own behaviour, but not decisions governing the behaviour of others.
                          "I worship the greatly beautiful one, with limbs the colour of thunderclouds, who is naked and sits on the corpse of Shiva, who has three eyes and earrings made of the bones of two young handsome boys, who is garlanded with skulls and flowers. In her lower left and upper right hands she holds a man's head and a sword, her other two hands bestowing boons and banishing fear. Her hair is greatly dishevelled."

                          -- Chapter 13, The
                          Brihad Nila Tantra.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TygerTyger View Post
                            The above clarifies an earlier post you made on one of the other threads regarding creeping humanism. Well, for me anyway!

                            Yes, I'm afraid I'm not very good with ethics. I just don't know that much about it.

                            I agree with the idea of a more universal concept but I think that due to our subjective experience of existence that it will prove difficult to achieve something truly objective. People will always make judgements in relation to themselves first, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no value in trying though.

                            Yes, I agree although I'm not sure how far you're going to get with it. I'm still not quite sure what qualifies as being alive/conscious in pantheism.

                            As to the conduit for connection between all things my hopes rest upon a particle similar to a gluon, capable of binding matter and energy together.
                            I'll come back to metaphysics on the belief statement thread. I probably shouldn't have started getting into it with Oonagh as it's going to start derailing the thread a bit. I'm having enough problems discussing the ethics lol

                            Petrus4: thanks for your comments. I'll get back to them in a bit.

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                            • #15
                              all i know is we are human and therefore act as humans. so, of course we are going to do harm just like anything else. the goal is, in my small brain, to simply do our best given our limitations (i.e. given that we are only human).

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