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Is the Golden Rule flawed?

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posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 05:52 AM
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Originally posted by Indigo_Child

I want to be loved, respected and accepted, but I certainly would not love, respect and accept a rapist. I would do unto them as I would have them not do unto me.

If somebody bullies and terroizes you. You don't react with love, respect and acceptance. You react accordingly.

Nobody just gives their love away to any stranger on the steet; we give it to those who we consider worthy of our love. A teacher does not give his education away to any tom, dick and harry; he gives it to his students. A mother does not mother everybody; she mothers her child.



I am not sure your thinking it through completely. I believe the whole point of the golden rule is that: If we all lived by it, there would be no rapists, bullies, or terrorists. Society as a whole would be vastly different if everyone treated strangers the way you say a mother treats her child.


Of course it is a bit silly when you try to make it fit into modern reality. But the golden rule is an ideal, something to strive for, not really something realistic. Of course you can't love a rapist, but what if he/she weren't a rapist? If all of humanity treated each other this way, there would be no crime, and no hate, and people would live in a utopia. Unfortunately human nature tells us to do otherwise. Survival of the fittest, the strong dominate the weak, etc.

What if you could look at a stranger the same way you would look at your children? What if everyone looked at each other that way? It sounds like an impossible dream, and I can even hear a few of the snickers from some of the more negative people that read this. I think I have to agree with your motto of: Do unto others as they are. I think it is more realistic in our case, meaning humanity. I actually live by a combination of those two philosophies, in that I tend to treat others as they treat me, but I also am not above extending the olive branch, and giving the benefit of the doubt.

Chrono




posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 06:33 AM
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It is a good question, Indigo.

If you really mean the Christian ideal, then it was not offered as reciprocal. The devotee is to love his or her enemy, period. Nothing about whether the enemy loves you back, stops being your enemy, or endures some torment of psychic guilt in the face of your meekness. The devotee is simply to do it.

So, you are correct to set aside the earlier poster who offered a variety of "reciprocal" rules, including the earlier Hebrew version which Jesus riffed, "Refrain from doing to others what you would not wish done to yourself." That's a different rule, only superficially similar to what Jesus is talking about.

I am unsure that analysis of spiritual advice by its "practicality" gets anybody very far. What practical good is accomplished by treating a rapist rudely? Perhaps "you feel better," but what have you changed?

There is nothing in the principle that prevents a devotee from confining the rapist humanely, which may do some practical good. Early leaders in the American penetentiary-prison movement included Quakers, who were radically non-violent Christians. They did not seek to end prisons, but to build good ones, ones that (they hoped) would work, to change the offender while protecting the rest of us in the meantime.

As to the Jews facing Hitler, where is the evidence that a different response by the Jews would have led to a better outcome? What armed resistance there was to the German plan (principally the Warsaw Ghetto uprising), was put down crisply. The Jewish people survived the Holocaust, though many, many Jews did not, and the Jewish people have gone on to build a kick-butt nation state (they are, after all, not Christian radicals). Was a better outcome achievable given the actual facts? That's specualtive at best.

When Arjuna wishes to put down his arms in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna persuades him not to do so, in part by telling Arjuna that he overestimates what effect his choices have on what actually happens. In other words, Arjuna's consequentialist sense of practicality is unreliable.

Putting aside that Arjuna, like Job, is a moral giant compared with his god, Krishna has a point here about ego, something that gods are experts about. Ego can always come up with a story about how "practical" it is to do what ego wants to do.

One way to understand Jesus is as the advocate of Job, and so of Arjuna. Arjuna was right, Krishna was wrong. Respectively, Job and Yahweh.

Arjuna was not advocating pacifism, but he was advocating a kind of practicality that was lost on Krishna. Oddly, the English word for the kind of self-interest advocated by Arjuna, Jesus, and Job is enlightened. Meh, maybe overclaimed, but maybe not too far-fetched.



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by Doglord
 


Are you serious?
How was Adolf Hitler brought up as a child? did he get some kind of love from family? or was he outcast. Was he givin every opportunity to love and be loved, or was he molded into something by someone? You cannot sit there and try and convince me that people are not influenced by the world aroud them and the way they are treated, or the way they see others treated! your argument is flawed! how do you know Adolf would not have been a different person under different circumstances! you dont! so dont try and paint me into a corner with your "HITLER NEEDED A HUG" bullsh1t



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 04:11 PM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


ok, but you are trailing off here. would said rapist still be a rapist if we lived in a society of love and kindness? not just give the SOB love after he commits his crime...and I do understand that sometimes love is not kind! but it is still love!

If someone was driving and their car lost a wheel and crashed into my daughter and killer her..I would be upset and mad, but I would not hate that person, or necassarily want them punished, unless it was done maliciously. I would want them to be comforted and loved too, because that would be a hard thing to live with. now if they were punished and jailed wrongly, for said accident...I would expect them to come out of jail and be worse off, and less loving, and not as productive as if they wre counciled and not punished for an unforseeable accident.

the whole point is we have to start somewhere. you are starting at the end, but we need a new beginning. Do unto others ...from the beginning, and things will be different. if you wait until they are Adolf Hitler, then you have failed!



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 08:39 PM
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A person is not his personality. A personality can define his actions. You love them because they are human.


A person's actions are based on their personality. Behaviour is the physical manifestation of the pysche. You cannot really separate a person from his personality. That person is defined as his personality. He is a complex of his background, values, beliefs, education, skills etc.

How do you punish a person's actions without punishing the person? Of course you have to punish the person.


No, I would expect punishment if I did something wrong. Most wrongs come from them not following the golden rule.


This is based on another interpretation of the golden rule. In fact you're pretty much saying what I said: Do unto others as they are. Yes, I would be expect to be punished if I did something wrong.

In this thread I am refuting the classical golden rule in which you ALWAYS love, respect and accept others, even if they are the enemy. Another part of the golden rule is "Love thy enemy"


And that is selfishness and pride, which is the root of all the problems in the world.


It is not selfishness at all, it is fair. I am not going to love, accept and respect somebody who does not deserve it. I will love, accept and respect somebody who deserves it. I expect others to treat me the same.

[edit on 30-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 08:45 PM
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Originally posted by Indigo_Child
I have heard a few people preach the golden rule recently as an absolute maxim by how we should live life. However, I want to bring that into question. As it does not make immediate sense to me.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
So according to this rule we must love, respect and accept others to get the same in return.

Here we go again folks, sorry, but....into Christianity. Indigo, the so-called golden rule is derived from the Bible...sorry...folk of the old days knew this. The Commandment (and note golden rule follows along) is "Love your neighbor as yourself". Period. Doesn't say anything about "to get the same in return". That's a Kharma notion. So you're mixing New Age into a Christian-based maxim.



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 09:03 PM
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I disagree. Before today, you and I have never conversed. However, I have the utmost respect for you and the opinions you've expressed. And, you deserve that respect, until such time that you do or say something that causes me to retract that respect. Sorry if that sounded confusing.

That is my interpretation of the "Golden Rule", as expressed in the varied "religions". And, I believe it is not in contradiction with what you've expressed. When I come into contact with another human being, I believe I should treat them as I want to be treated. That is, until they demonstrate they are undeserving of compassion.

Taking the rapist into consideration. If you met him, for the first time, not knowing he has committed the crime, you will not treat him as a rapist. He is just a person, deserving of your respect. And, if throughout your entire relationship, you never learn of his crime and he never again commits a crime, your respect shoud continue to be extended.


This is the innocent till proven guilty approach. It is also fallacious. Why should you respect me? You don't know who I am, what my beliefs are, what my credentials are. You know nothing about me. You have no reason to respect me. I find such "respect" to be deeply insincere.

You also have no reason to disrespect me(guilty till proven innocent approach) which is also fallacious. You don't know who I am,what my beliefs are, what my credentials are. You know nothing about me. You have no reason disrespect me.

Do you go about your daily life respecting every stranger you meet on the street? No of course not. Like, many of us, you give respect to people who have impressed you in some way. I respect Einstein, Tesla for example for their achivements.

If you go about randomly respecting, loving and accepting people you are setting yourself up for a fall. I have made the mistake many times in my life where I have trusted people, opened up to them, only to have them stab me in the back. Incidentally, was Jesus not stabbed in the back?

The proper approach is to be good willed to strangers. You size them up and then you can respect/disrespect, love/indifferent/hate, accept/reject them. This is something that comes natural to human nature.

In Yoga it says how we should approach people:

Be loving and joyful with your friends and family
Be good-willed to strangers
Be indifferent to bad people

This makes more sense than the golden rule. It is logical. It is natural. The golden rule on the other hand is an ideal, irrational and impractical.

[edit on 30-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 09:35 PM
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I am not sure your thinking it through completely. I believe the whole point of the golden rule is that: If we all lived by it, there would be no rapists, bullies, or terrorists. Society as a whole would be vastly different if everyone treated strangers the way you say a mother treats her child.



Of course it is a bit silly when you try to make it fit into modern reality. But the golden rule is an ideal, something to strive for, not really something realistic. Of course you can't love a rapist, but what if he/she weren't a rapist? If all of humanity treated each other this way, there would be no crime, and no hate, and people would live in a utopia. Unfortunately human nature tells us to do otherwise. Survival of the fittest, the strong dominate the weak, etc.


The reason I divided your paragraphs into two quotes was to illustrate the irony of your points. You claim that if everybody followed the golden rule then there would be no rapists, criminals etc. It would be a utopia. Then you say that this ideal is silly in the modern world once again affirming my point that the golden rule is impractical.

Something might sound good in theory, but be impossible in the world. Communism is another ideal that does not work in the world.

This is not an ideal world and it can never be an ideal world. It is impossible my friend. This world - the plane of opposites - is governed by the laws of nature which operate by contradiction. Every action will have an equal and opposite force. All evolution is the stuggle between different species and only the fittest survive. Progress is also the struggle between different civilisation groups. It is a history of conflict.

There will always be conflict in the world because of law of opposites. Not everybody will agree forever on something. There will always be a struggles of ideas/ideologies, unless everybody was turned into a borg and connected to a hive-mind computer and could not think for themselves anymore.

Look at nature. Nothing ever remains permenant or still. It is chaos. Ice ages come and go; massive earthquakes and tsunamis occasionally swallow parts of the world, volcanos erupt, meteorites batter the planet. It is no different with the history of civilisation. Even the greatest empires fall.

Utopia is a pipe-dream.

It is irrational trying to bring ideals into the world because they do not belong in this world. I am a realistic person and I encourage others to be realistic if they want to survive in this world. Come to terms with the fact that is a non-ideal world and live according to its laws. Do unto others as they are is consistent with its laws. You behave with others as they deserve it. Justice is the prime directive of this world not compassion. This is the world of logic, of difference, of rationality.

These hippy ideals like the golden rule have no place in this world. This was in my opinion Jesus's biggest failing. He was simply not being realistic. His heart was bigger than his head lets say. He needed balance.
This is why Krishna is a better spiritual teacher for this world.

[edit on 30-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 11:17 PM
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Originally posted by eight bits
It is a good question, Indigo.


I liked your reply the most, because it's a lot more educated and complex.
So far the defense's offered for the golden rule have been dissappontingly simplistic.


If you really mean the Christian ideal, then it was not offered as reciprocal. The devotee is to love his or her enemy, period. Nothing about whether the enemy loves you back, stops being your enemy, or endures some torment of psychic guilt in the face of your meekness. The devotee is simply to do it.


This is what makes it even worse than the reciprocal interpretation. It means you should always be loving, respectful and accepting of people, come what may. This is in my opinion, a self-destructive philosophy that is turning everybody into passive, impotent, ineffectual doormats. It is also a highly selfish philosophy because it allows unjust people to get away with what they do and let offers suffer.

Is it surprisingly that Christianity is a religion of suffering and wallowing. No wonder, when people are made to think that raising their voice against injustice and fighting to protect themselves is a defect - a "sin" No wonder they are brought up believing they are sinners. And no wonder that such a religion would be adopted by the state. It seems to be a religion that promotes slavish worshipping of ideals, whereas in the real world the leaders get away constantly with murder.


I am unsure that analysis of spiritual advice by its "practicality" gets anybody very far. What practical good is accomplished by treating a rapist rudely? Perhaps "you feel better," but what have you changed?


It is a natural reaction to condemn a rapist. You do not have to think "Is this practical" However, condemnation is only the initial reaction. The next reaction is to to punish then accordinly for their actions.


There is nothing in the principle that prevents a devotee from confining the rapist humanely, which may do some practical good. Early leaders in the American penetentiary-prison movement included Quakers, who were radically non-violent Christians. They did not seek to end prisons, but to build good ones, ones that (they hoped) would work, to change the offender while protecting the rest of us in the meantime.


Here is the first slip up of the golden role. We certainly would not like to be confined and yet we are confining rapists. However, merely confining them does not deter others from raping and nor does it deter rapists from repeat offending. There is sufficient evidence to show that the jail system does not work, there is still enormous amounts of crime and criminals do repeat-offend. A rapist usually only gets a few years sentence, and often they do not even serve their full term and are eligible for bail. On the other hand their victim is often scarred for life. This is hardly justice.

Now days our jails have televisions, libraries, recreation rooms, internet, x boxes. This is hardly a deterence, in fact some people may even accept staying in jails for a few years for a rape. In other words this humane jail system is a mockery of justice.

It is interesting in countries like Saudia Arabia the act of rape is punishable by death and it has the lowest rape crime rate in the world.
In other words as far as rape is concerned the Saudia arabia punishment is a rational and practical solution and it works in deterring rape in Saudi society to a large extent.

The punishment should suit the crime and the criminal who commits the crime only then can it produce "practical good" in social order. In my opinion a rapist should be castrated. If they started doing that, I assure you rape rates in our so-called advanced countries would fall rapidly.

As soon as we let ideals interfere with the rational dispensing of justice that is when we allow social order to decay.

From a Hindu point of view giving the right punishment in his life is best for the soul of the criminal, because otherwise they will have to face consequences in their later lives. If we make them face the consequence now we are effectively expunging their sins in this life. Again Hindus have no special place for the human body. Whether it lives or dies is only relevant insofar as it is useful to the evolution of the soul. One who commits a dastardly crime such as killing an innocent person forfits their right to the human body.


As to the Jews facing Hitler, where is the evidence that a different response by the Jews would have led to a better outcome? What armed resistance there was to the German plan (principally the Warsaw Ghetto uprising), was put down crisply. The Jewish people survived the Holocaust, though many, many Jews did not, and the Jewish people have gone on to build a kick-butt nation state (they are, after all, not Christian radicals). Was a better outcome achievable given the actual facts? That's specualtive at best.


The Jews let the injustice against them continue for too long that organized and armed resistance became impossible. This is also something to do with Jewish philosophy of Messianism, waiting for somebody else to bail you out. They waited too long and then suffered.
If the Jews had spoken up against the injustice from the start it may have been a different outcome.

Again from a Hindu cosmic perspective their fear of losing their human bodies should not have got in the way of them doing the right thing and fighting the injustice. Instead by enduring the soul-destroying torture, they caused untold karmic damage to their soul and in their subsequent incarnations this pain will remain with them. Again to reiterate, from the Hindu point of view as soon the human body is no longer useful, it should be discarded. There is nothing to be gained by prolonging a useless life.
Most of those jews were exterminated in the most inhumane way, the fate that they feared the most by fighting against the Nazis, was the fate that they ultimately were delivered anyway. In my opinion they should have fought to the death with the Nazis, like the Na'Vi does in Avatar. I don't think the example the Jews set is a good example to emulate for any society that suffer the same. I am not being insensitive to the Jews, my heart goes out to them and I cry when I see holocaust films, I know the odds were against them. If they had a more warrior philosophy like the Native Americans they would have fought.

Pacifism and Messianism is a very self-destructive philosophy. The real world is not a world of ideals.


When Arjuna wishes to put down his arms in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna persuades him not to do so, in part by telling Arjuna that he overestimates what effect his choices have on what actually happens. In other words, Arjuna's consequentialist sense of practicality is unreliable.

Putting aside that Arjuna, like Job, is a moral giant compared with his god, Krishna has a point here about ego, something that gods are experts about. Ego can always come up with a story about how "practical" it is to do what ego wants to do.

One way to understand Jesus is as the advocate of Job, and so of Arjuna. Arjuna was right, Krishna was wrong. Respectively, Job and Yahweh.

Arjuna was not advocating pacifism, but he was advocating a kind of practicality that was lost on Krishna. Oddly, the English word for the kind of self-interest advocated by Arjuna, Jesus, and Job is enlightened. Meh, maybe overclaimed, but maybe not too far-fetched.


Krishna's point was that Arjuna is NOT being practical. Arjuna was not being practical but sentimental and idealistic. He said "It is better than they slay me, than I slay them" How is a dead Arjuna practical? He said "It is better I beg on the streets, than kill my kin my kin" With Arjuna reteating to the streets begging and renouncing his position of power he allows an unjust people to rule the people who will make life of the people difficult and subject to the whim of the rulers. Then he too would be an ordinary person and his life would be made difficult and subject to the whims of the rulers. Again how is that practical?

Arjuna by not fighting would be going against his duties of a warrior that the society have entrusted on him to protect them. If he does refuses his duty then he introduces discord into the social order. His selfish act would mean others would suffer for his actions, condemn his soul and his soul would incur massive karmic costs setting his evolution back. How is it practical for Arjuna's soul to be regressed in his evolution?

Notice Krishna first instructs Arjuna on his duties. And when that does not persuade him, Krishna instructs Arjuna on the nature of reality so that Arjuna can understand how insigificant the human body is and how the highest good is what will bring his soul closer to god. His sentimentality and idealism is only relevant to his human body(which he is going to lose anyway) to his soul it is a curse that the soul will have to suffer for.

[edit on 30-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Dec, 31 2009 @ 05:13 AM
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Hello, again, Indigo.

My point about the role of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in prison reform was to illustrate how the Chrisitan principle has been practiced by an especially radical group of Christians. That they did not succeed does not mean that they were wrong-headed to try.

In any case, there was no violation of the principle involved. The principle is not "Treat people as you think that they would like to be treated." Indeed, if there is a "flaw in the principle," then it is that the receiving party might prefer different things than the donor does. Your heaven may be my hell.

So, it is unavailing to say that the rapist would object to the confinement. The confinement is merely a necessary incidental to doing what the Quaker would wish done to him- or herself: being afforded the opportunity for a life-transforming spiritual experience. Quakers enjoy spiritual improvement activities.

Analogously, physicians do many things to their patients that hurt. Nevertheless, they conceive of themselves as serving their patients' greater good. Patients often agree, perhaps more readily afterwards than at the time.

The feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an example of many things. I would not have numbered practicality among them. And, of course, it is not just the rapist whom they kill, but the woman as well, if the judge thinks her protests were insufficiently pleasing to Allah. That is practical in one sense: reported rapes will be rare.


The Jews let the injustice against them continue for too long that organized and armed resistance became impossible.

That would describe much of the world between the wars. Germany re-armed, in violation of treaty, and the rest of Europe watched.

The Jews were not, however, and had not been for centuries, a nation-state. Their opponent was a nation-state, with an army. It is difficult to see how a dispersed civilian ethnic group could ever have mounted more resistance than, say, Belgium.

As to Arjuna, reasonable people could differ about his practicality. The terms of his decision, however, were that the only survivors of the battle were to be Arjuna, his brothers, and Krishna. A great deal of the prize is to be destroyed, namely those on both sides who are the best people of the realm.

So, fine if you find Arjuna to be sentimental and idealistic. Although, evidently, it is OK with you if he were to fight against injustice on account of duty, which would be neither sentimental nor idealistic, because... ?

I think Arjuna does an admirable job of cutting through the BS. Krishna persuades Arjuna, of course. Resistance is futile, as the saying goes. But those who expect moral behavior from gods are doomed to disappointment, IMO.

[edit on 31-12-2009 by eight bits]



posted on Dec, 31 2009 @ 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by eight bits
Hello, again, Indigo.

My point about the role of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in prison reform was to illustrate how the Chrisitan principle has been practiced by an especially radical group of Christians. That they did not succeed does not mean that they were wrong-headed to try.


It probably does mean they were "wrong-headed" to try. As they clearly did not ratonally think their justice system though. They thought "If we confine them in a loving way, then we will transform them" was based on idealistic assumption. Just as the Golden rule is.


The feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an example of many things. I would not have numbered practicality among them. And, of course, it is not just the rapist whom they kill, but the woman as well, if the judge thinks her protests were insufficiently pleasing to Allah. That is practical in one sense: reported rapes will be rare.


I am aware of this sexism and I do not support it, because it is irrational. There is still much less reported rape in Saudia Arabia. I think my suggestion for punishment was the best: castration. Barely anybody would consider raping again if they know they would be castrated, because its an unacceptable cost. If your laws can minimize social evils, then your laws are working. That is practical.



The Jews were not, however, and had not been for centuries, a nation-state. Their opponent was a nation-state, with an army. It is difficult to see how a dispersed civilian ethnic group could ever have mounted more resistance than, say, Belgium.


They were citizens of Germany and unfortunately they did not fight soon enough. I think when people started spitting on them in the streets, that was the moment they should have either fought or go out of there. They waited too long. Have you seen the film "Nowhere in Africa"? In this film a Jewish family does the sensible thing and gets out of Germany before it is too late. He tries to convince others to leave as well, but they are too attached and optimistic that everything will be OK.

Like I said ideals are self-destructive. One needs to be realistic in life.


As to Arjuna, reasonable people could differ about his practicality. The terms of his decision, however, were that the only survivors of the battle were to be Arjuna, his brothers, and Krishna. A great deal of the prize is to be destroyed, namely those on both sides who are the best people of the realm.

So, fine if you find Arjuna to be sentimental and idealistic. Although, evidently, it is OK with you if he were to fight against injustice on account of duty, which would be neither sentimental nor idealistic, because... ?

I think Arjuna does an admirable job of cutting through the BS. Krishna persuades Arjuna, of course. Resistance is futile, as the saying goes. But those who expect moral behavior from gods are doomed to disappointment, IMO.


Human morality is just a human interpreretation of morality for their own interests and changes in relation to their interests and there an unreal thing. A god's morality is based on the cosmic laws and endures because it is real. So human morality is unreal and god's morality is real. And this is the point the Gita is making.

Arjuna's mistake is to think his bodies interests are his highest good. Krishna is telling him the reality, that he is not his body, his soul is merely using his body to evolve. If the body is no longer useful, the soul will discard it. The reason that fighting against injustice is not idealism or sentimentality is because it is in harmony with cosmic law.

I think you have no correctly understood dharma which is the main teaching of the Gita. Dharma are of two kinds: you social duties(warriors protect innocent) and this is determined by your current nature(Arjuna had a warrior nature) If you are in harmony with your dharma you do produce dissonance and incur karma. The other kind is higher and is your universal dharma, this is your actul eternal and actual nature. If you are in harmony with your universal dharma you are in Krishna-conscousness and everything you do will never go against cosmic law and thus you will never enter the karmic loop. This is actually the egoless state, the less your ego is present, the closer you are to Krishna-consciousness. In this state you just let go and surrender yourself to the universe to be used as an instrument for divinity to be expressed through.

Arjuna was not in a egoless state he was in an egoic state. He was attached to his self-interests, attached to his relatives and not doing the right thing. It is clear he was in a state of dissonance because he was dejected and confused. Had he just flowed with cosmic law he would have felt no dissonance.

If you are playin a character in a computer game fighting worrying over the virtual things, the one playing the computer game in the world will see your worries as trivial, you are worrying over unreal things. Instead get on with your mission and get to the end and finish the game. This is how Krishna is viewing Arjuna from his godly perspective. Our worries, our suffering, our morals are just an act of drama to the gods because its all fiction to them. Human fabricated fictions.

And we know the gods are right because no human can actually define what morality is, what love is, what perfect is. And they never will because they are ideals in the ideal realm, the realm of gods. Humans are finite creatures and should not even try to understand the infinite with their finite minds. Instead they have to play by the rules of their realms and only when they pass this grade will they be allowed into the realm of gods.

[edit on 31-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]



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