Re: little lies, big lies
Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:52 am
I still don't get that quote. It seems to be all over the place. what is the underlying philosophy here?
A Buddhist discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Theravāda
Who is advocating that compassion is a "self-existant thingie that is part of the universe" ? Not me.tiltbillings wrote:It is a lie that it is a self-existant thingie that is part ofthe universe, and it "becomes" because we bring it about.
I did not say you were; rather, I am just trying to get at the nature of such things as justice and compassion.kirk5a wrote:Who is advocating that compassion is a "self-existant thingie that is part of the universe" ? Not me.tiltbillings wrote:It is a lie that it is a self-existant thingie that is part ofthe universe, and it "becomes" because we bring it about.
Well, yes, but I think Death said a bit more than that in his last statement.I thought Death's point was that it is a lie period. A useful fiction we believe in, and so there it is. Like Texas. A mere convention.
I dont think im the target audience. I tend to think that beleifs are at best a means to an end, maybe an antidote for bad thinking or maybe a way to conform to cultural norms and not really of much use otherwise. My buddhism is empirical and as much as possible i look to intuition to determine my actions. i try to follow the precepts because i can see that not doing so adversly affects my practice (and i dont do as good a job as id like) the only principle i adhere to as such, if i had to articulate it, would i guess be the golden rule, but i dont really think much about that either. I cant see that thinking about ideals is any different than thinking about anything else, its just thinking. Its what you do when the occaision arises for action in the world that makes a difference.tiltbillings wrote:Actually, it might be interesting to consider the OP in terms of the Buddha's teachings.
Hi Kim. Thanks for the expansion on that. It still says though, that compassion is an "abstraction." I disagree. Even if everyone was a die-hard reductionist, they would find, to their consternation, that compassion arose from time to time anyway.Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, kirk5a,
I'm with Tilt on this - perhaps because I also have read the book and can put the quote in context. Your approach seems to be too literal ... one might ask where a single molecule of Fantasy or Fable is to be found when a text is ground down to its tiniest components
In fact, Death is suggesting that abstractions like Justice and Compassion are real (and have real effects in the real world) but only become real through us - people - and that a reductionist (literalist) approach will not only fail to find them but will (therefore) deny their very existence; further, that if the reductionist approach dominates a culture, those abstractions will cease to exist, and that would be a disaster.
It's rather a lot of heavy philosophy to fit into a brief conversation in a fantasy novel but, as I said, Pratchett is a clever bloke.
"It"? My expansion or the original quote? I'm not sure it matters, anyway, since it seems to me that (in Buddhist terms) an 'abstraction' is as real as a brick - one comes through the mind sense-door and one through other sense-doors (touch, sight, etc).kirk5a wrote:Hi Kim. Thanks for the expansion on that. It still says though, that compassion is an "abstraction."
If I refuse to recognise my evil side, refuse to feed its impulses by acting on them, they will dwindle away. So we are taught.kirk5a wrote:Even if everyone was a die-hard reductionist, they would find, to their consternation, that compassion arose from time to time anyway.
No hijacking at all. This is very much the conversation I was looking for, and I greatly appreciate your insightful comments. Good stuff.Kim O'Hara wrote:Hmmm - I'll split that into two parts which don't necessarily have a lot to do with each other.
(Apologies to Tilt - didn't mean to hijack the thread!)
Except, that is not what being said. Actually, it might help for you to read through this thread with some care before commenting.alan wrote:It is a kind of perverse anti-philosophy that states that ideas are our creations and therefore they have no merit. This is a Nihilist perspective, which the Buddha refuted.
And where are they?alan wrote:I'm going to argue that justice and compassion are not abstractions, but are necessary attributes without which we could never have evolved.
Then what are they? Built in thingies to prevent ourselves from killing ourselves?alan wrote:I don't think it is a question of "where".
And it certainly is a mixed bag; however, where is compassion and where is justice?alan wrote:Oh, tilt. I'm sure you are aware that we are the product of the evolution of our brains.
So, compassion and justice are evolutionary prcesses? But what does that actually mean? Where do they exist? How do they exist?alan wrote:We would never have survived the evolutionary process without inborn senses of compassion and "justice".
As for your quote: I don't get it. What is the meaning behind it? Is it supposed to be profound?
This sounds like the big lie of scientific materialism to me.................alan wrote:Oh, tilt. I'm sure you are aware that we are the product of the evolution of our brains.