Clearing My Mind

Clearing My Mind

Question of the week: “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”
-Buddha

Impression of the month:
“By a lie, a man… annihilates his dignity as a man.”
Immanuel Kant

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. troysnelling
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 19:57:01

    To me, one of the great failures of Greek Rationalism was its failure to acknowledge the presence of evil in the world; Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all attribute wrongdoing to ignorance. At least the Stoics believed that the root of evil was our inability to control our desires, to superimpose our thinking, reasonable, divine part on our animal part. There are echos of that in everyone from Augustin to Freud. The quote you have posted from the Buddha is in keeping with that idea as well. Marcus Aurelius said “Take away the impression that you have been harmed, and you take away the harm”. In “Critique of Pure Reason” as well as in his formulation of the Categorical Imperative, Kant deals with the subjective nature of evil by filtering it through the device of will. Lies, violence. the harming of the innocent with malice aforethought- these are acts of deliberation. They use people as objects, and treat them as things. The immorality is proven through the elemental subtext of universality. We are the root, then, of our own evil. Thus, if the mind can indeed change, as the Buddha rhetorically suggests, the evil would be gone. But, as the Stoics would remind us, if our untempered passions and desires reassert their primacy, we can regress in a moment, not only annihilating our own dignity but assailing the dignity, even the humanity, of others.

    Reply

  2. giovannaleah
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 12:05:53

    Troy,
    On evil: This one is tough for me. I feel that evil is a very relative concept. I used to be in with the Greek Rational that there is no evil. I used to feel that if people did “evil” things (ie. murder, rape, abuse, overall bad things to other people, things, etc.) that is was just a matter of “bad wiring” in their heads. Psychological disorders and things such as that, but sometimes people, so-called normal people, do really awful things for no apparent reason. Again, I am so torn, because what is evil to one person, may not be to another. I am still torn. I suppose if time and love are relative concepts, evil can exist and be relative and not concrete, as well. I’m not sure I believe evil is in the controlling of our desires.
    The Buddha quote: I read this totally differently (and possibly incorrectly). I read it out of context, so I came to it as just this quote: “All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?” Which I took in the point of view of the “wrong-doer.” I thought he meant if one can “fix” themselves (self transformation; mind, body, spirit) will that transform them from wanting to do wrong, because wrong-doing will no longer be a concept, since self doubt and fear has been conquered within? Although, I suppose it works in the transformation of the mind of the person being wronged. If we do not take anything personally can we ever be emotionally wounded? Becoming unwounded or not taking things personally is a person conquest of mine, that I have yet to reach the end of. Haha.

    Gia

    Reply

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