2008.11.12 13:00 - Lion cough

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    Quilty Bookmite was the guardian for this session. Posted without comment.


    Wol Euler: hello adelene
    Quilty Bookmite: Hi Adelene.
    Wol Euler smiles
    Adelene Dawner: Hullo :)
    Quilty Bookmite: Sorry I missed your birthday.
    Adelene Dawner: No worries :)
    Wol Euler: it was a grand party, I thought.
    Adelene Dawner: yes ^.^
    Quilty Bookmite: Then I am doubly sorry. I like a good party.
    Adelene Dawner: I still have the pics up - I might just distribute 'em to the group, if there's interest. :)
    Wol Euler: on your wiki page maybe?
    Quilty Bookmite: Certainly.
    Adelene Dawner: Makes sense, Wol.
    Wol Euler scritches Ade's ears gently.
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Wol Euler: A friend of mine nearly had a close encounter with a lion a few years ago, it changed her life (as they say)
    Adelene Dawner: oh my.
    Bell: *ding*
    Quilty Bookmite: In a good way?
    Wol Euler: On a kind of camping tour in Africa, in an area that should have been safe.
    Wol Euler: in the night, in their tent, they heard a lion cough right nearby.
    Wol Euler: as she told the tale: she woke up _absolutely alert_, heart going 180, mouth dry hands wet
    Wol Euler: looked across at the guide who was loading his rifle with shaking hands
    Wol Euler: she didn't have to ask himi what that was, and he didn't have to tell her
    Wol Euler: because every cell in her body was screaming at her "this is bad news"
    Wol Euler: well, it went away, in search of easier game perhaps.
    Wol Euler: but she experienced herself for a moment in a new way, as a small furry animal in real, desperate, immediate fear of its life at the hands of a larger furry aimal
    Wol Euler: within six months of returning to England, she had quit her job, broken upwith her boyfriend, sold their house, moved up north (home), gone back to college to study art, and outed hesrelf as a lesbian.
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Adelene Dawner: wow.
    Wol Euler: I was impressed.
    Adelene Dawner: yes!
    Quilty Bookmite: Shocked out of complacency.
    Wol Euler: absolutely. In that moment she saw everything about herself in a new light, and found most of it wanting.
    Quilty Bookmite: We do have a quite primal response to big predators. To suddenly be reminded that although we are the top of the food chain now it wasn't so not that long ago and it can change so quickly.
    Wol Euler: oh yes. It's only the opposable thumbs that have kept us around.
    Quilty Bookmite: Well, I think all apes have them and they can be eaten by a lion too. :-)
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Wol Euler: nope, they are specific to homo sapiens
    Quilty Bookmite: In fact we are not so different. It's very hard to define what makes us unique as humans.
    Quilty Bookmite: I'm sure gorillas have opposable thumbs.
    Adelene Dawner: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumb#O...posable_thumbs
    Quilty Bookmite: Thanks Adelene.
    Wol Euler: there goes everyhting I learned in high school biology.
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Quilty Bookmite: So Gorrilas have opposable big toes as well. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: We are inferioir. :-)
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm.
    Quilty Bookmite: The thing that makes us unique is intelligence and that is quite hard to define.
    Wol Euler: given that so many other species have some demonstrable degree of it.
    Adelene Dawner: There's actually a theory that the loss of the opposable big toe led to us being more social and having language... it makes babies harder to care for (as they can't cling to the mother ) andthus makes living in a large group more favorable.
    Quilty Bookmite: In Buddhism (sorry) it is said that you can only become enlightened as a human being and that is a rare thing to be born as.
    Wol Euler: lol
    Wol Euler: oh, I misread that.
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Wol Euler: I thought it said "... only AS enlightened as a human" meaning not very...
    Adelene Dawner: hehe
    Quilty Bookmite: Well, opposable toes would make walking upright harder.
    Adelene Dawner: mhmm
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Well, maybe it should be read that way. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Maybe they are wrong and in some ways animals are more enlightened than we are.
    Adelene Dawner: That sounds entirely plausable to me...
    Wol Euler wonders whether dolphins with bad karma are reincarnated as tuna...
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Probably depends on what the bad karma is. :-)
    Wol Euler: I read somewhere, returning to Ade's question about intelligence, that one of the working definitions of "being intellingent" is the abililty to tell good from bad -- and choose to do bad despite it.
    Wol Euler: dolphins and many apes kill. Ape tribes conduct wars against each other to the point of extermination.
    Quilty Bookmite: True. Are these things evil though? Or are they just living their nature?
    Quilty Bookmite: And if they are living their nature are we doing the same?
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^ Smart Quilty,
    Quilty Bookmite: It's easy to just ask random questions. :-)
    Wol Euler: if I remember correctly, the ape wars example was telling because in normal times violence within the tribe was severely punished.
    Quilty Bookmite: Doesn't make me smart.
    Wol Euler: but it is a good question
    Quilty Bookmite: Unfortunately I don't know the answer. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: It probably depends on how you view evil.
    Wol Euler: those are the most interesting kind of question...
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed.
    Adelene Dawner sees more flaws and weaknessses in the good/evil meme than the living one's nature meme.
    Wol Euler: mm?
    Quilty Bookmite: Well, I don't believe that anyone acts purely out of evil, although I know it is a central part of Christian doctrine.
    Adelene Dawner: Ok, a general example - if a person does something with good intentions, that turns out to be harmful, is that good or evil?
    Quilty Bookmite: Good question.
    Quilty Bookmite: I think evil implies intent though.
    Wol Euler: yes, I agree with that
    Wol Euler: a falling hammer is not evil. a dropped hammer is not necessarily evil. a thrown hammer is.
    Adelene Dawner: ok... a thrown hammer is evil, is a surgeon's knife evil?
    Wol Euler: intent again Ade.
    Wol Euler: Dr. Mengele's knife was definitely evil.
    Adelene Dawner: yup, I was going somewhere with that.
    Quilty Bookmite: Dr. mengele probably believed what he was doing was good.
    Adelene Dawner: *exactly*
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Quilty Bookmite: So then even in such extreme examples, does evil really exist?
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Quilty Bookmite: Maybe a question better left unanswered. :-)
    Wol Euler raises an eyebrow.
    Wol Euler: is my personal view of my actions the only one that signifies?
    Adelene Dawner: That goes back to my first example.
    Quilty Bookmite: If we are talking about your intent, yes.
    Wol Euler ponders
    Quilty Bookmite: Ok, a slight diversion...
    Quilty Bookmite: Do you think concepts of good and evil and intentions enter into the concept of Being?
    Adelene Dawner: And, just to complicate things - even if we can say that certain actions are evil (which hasn't been concluded) can we then jump to saying that the people who take those actions are evil, or are they just following their natures anyway?
    Adelene Dawner: I think Being is beyond all those, Quilty.
    Wol Euler: I think that these statements would make social life impossible.
    Quilty Bookmite: Of course. you can't go through life thinking there are no consequences.
    Wol Euler: if my intention in performing an act is the only criteria by which to judge it, then there is no reason not to immediately do anything I wish.
    Adelene Dawner: Not impossible, Wol. Difficult. Often amusing. But not impossible.
    Adelene Dawner: Sounds like a plan to me, Wol. :)
    Wol Euler: the murderer would say "I thought he'd look better without a head" and the judge would have to say "ok, then, off you go."
    Quilty Bookmite: I'm not sure I follow that line of reasoning.
    Adelene Dawner: Well, no, Wol, the judge wouldn't have to say that. The judge can do whatever he wants, too.
    Quilty Bookmite: Ah i see what you mean.
    Adelene Dawner: And the judge wants to keep his paycheck, which means doing what he's paid to do, which is uphold the laws that the people in power have said that they want.
    Wol Euler: judges have to explain their decisions. What would he say?
    Quilty Bookmite: Well, the law is a line drawn on the ground in defining moral values.
    Adelene Dawner: "That's the law"
    Wol Euler: ah, so my intention is not a necessary or sufficient criterium for judging my actions!
    Quilty Bookmite: But it is fairly arbitrary. In some countries certain things are allowed and in others not.
    Adelene Dawner: Your intention is not the only - or even *a* - factor in determining the results of your actions.
    Adelene Dawner: No judging required.
    Wol Euler: [13:38] Wol Euler: is my personal view of my actions the only one that signifies?
    [13:39] Quilty Bookmite: If we are talking about your intent, yes.
    Wol Euler: I'm confused.
    Quilty Bookmite: Only you can say what your intent was.
    Adelene Dawner: Intent is relevant when it comeds to hypothetical moral/ethical questions. But the real world works on a different system entirely, even if it says it doesn't.
    Quilty Bookmite: I'm not saying that is the basis for morality.
    Wol Euler: I'm in an odd, absolutist, mood tonight, I may be taking this all too finely.
    Quilty Bookmite: Fair enough. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: And I'm in a mood for throwing around ideas at random.
    Wol Euler smiles.
    Adelene Dawner: It seems to me, Wol, like the main problem is that you're conflating 'did I do the right thing' with 'will the results be pleasant for me'. Those are two very different questions.
    Wol Euler: true, and it was intentional.
    Quilty Bookmite: Maybe. ultimately they may be the same, depending on your view.
    Adelene Dawner: It may be exactly the right thing, for example, to assassinate a very corrupt dangerous leader. You'd still be strung up for it.
    Quilty Bookmite: The law of karma says that you will always reap the consequences of your actions.
    Adelene Dawner: Sounds like a fairy-story, to me.
    Wol Euler: agreed, sorry to say.
    Quilty Bookmite: Fair enough. :-)
    Wol Euler: though on another level I do believe it.
    Wol Euler: in every-day life in society it is clearly true on a micro-scale
    Wol Euler: I smile, you smile back.
    Wol Euler: I cheat you, you try to have revenge. Works well.
    Adelene Dawner: Here's a question...
    Quilty Bookmite: It is said to be true on a much bigger scale. If you don;t get it in this life you'll get it in the next one or the one after.
    Adelene Dawner: on the level at which Karma is generally conceptualized to work... does the singular, personal self even exist?
    Wol Euler: exactly
    Wol Euler: the being that reaps the benefit will not be "me" in any way that can be experienced by Me.
    Wol Euler: (same is true of christianity and heaven, I'm not picking on karma specifically)
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm
    Quilty Bookmite: A good question.
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed the self is said not to exist. There is something that goes beyond karma.
    Adelene Dawner: The world *isn't* fair, you probably *won't* get a happy life by doing good things... but, that's how it is. So, just follow your nature, that's the best anybody can do.
    Quilty Bookmite: And that which inherits your karma is not really you but in a way there is no differnece.
    Adelene Dawner nods at Quilty.
    Quilty Bookmite: I don;t think karma says the world is fair. :-)
    Adelene Dawner: The way most people parse it, it looks like it's supposed to.
    Adelene Dawner: *I* will get good stuff 'cause I did good.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes, it would seem so.
    Quilty Bookmite: The law of karma has spread out beyond Buddhism to the point where it isn;t really understood.
    Adelene Dawner: obviously.
    Quilty Bookmite: Karma isn;t talking about fairness. It's talking about the perpetuation of actions.
    Quilty Bookmite: Fairness implies good and evil and goes back to what we were discussing.
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm. If you want the world to be better in the future, work now to make it better. But that 'if you want' in the beginning is part of the picture too.
    Adelene Dawner: Speaking of working on the future, I've got stuff I need to go take care of. :)
    Wol Euler: :)
    Wol Euler: it was a grand session, thank you both.
    Adelene Dawner: See you next time, folks. :)
    Quilty Bookmite: Thank you.
    Wol Euler: good night, quilty. sleep well
    Quilty Bookmite: Goodnight or good day. as the case may be.
    Wol Euler: night for me too, I shall sleep soon
    Wol Euler: I hope
    Quilty Bookmite: Sleep well then. Goodnight Wol.
    Wol Euler: 'night, take care

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