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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Fëanoriondil
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Jewel, I certainly appreciate the adventuresomeness of humans. That's the positive side of the some of the darker aspects of rebelliousness, but yes, I agree that all of that is part of human nature and I wouldn't want to give any of it up.

I mean, my own 'next step' is to move to Ethiopia ;). And I was raised in a family where we were taught that the rules usually don't apply to us. In fact, my sister once commented (after one of my off-hand remarks disregarding the rules) that I showed classic symptoms of a sociopath...but since I was raised in our family, it didn't really mean anything. Not that we were raised to be hooligans; we were raised to do the right thing, and if that's the case...not to worry too much about what other people might think the 'right thing' is. Makes for an interesting scenario in large crowds, when I habitually ignore the directions and go from point A to point B regardless of things like barricades and police tape. (I missed customs at the airport once; nothing too terribly criminal.) I mean, I'm aware of this, so I can try to rein it in, as needed.



But anyway, I don't regard any of that a product of the Fall; that seems to be just human nature to me....and certainly a side of human nature open to being exploited, but not bad in and of itself. Exploration is good and fun...though it can have some nasty side effects. ['I wonder what would happen....' can turn into unethical human experiments, but it doesn't have to if this is checked by other human traits.]

To me, original innocence means an ability to relate to the world in the healthiest possible way. To have an absence of fear (not because of being incredibly naive), but because of a much deeper level of understanding. To truly love people, and to be able to communicate with them in a way that you both see each other clearly. Mutual respect. And yes, not so much struggle between what I want to do and what I feel I ought to do. Not because struggle is annoying, but because it is good when those two urges are in harmony. To be openly and wholeheartedly passionate.

The story of Beren and Lúthien could be read as a contrast between characters who react with love and respect for Lúthien (and her famous beauty) and those who react purely from lust and possessiveness. Of course Morgoth falls squarely on the lust side, and Celegorm (whose reaction to meeting a pretty girl is to lock her in a dungeon and threaten her family). But so does Thingol as the over-possessive father. And while of course Beren is cast as the ideal lover, Huan, too, loves and sacrifices for Lúthien. This dichotomy between loving people and using them is something I associate (strongly) with the Fall, so that original innocence is the ability to relate to people, animals, our environment, God...everything...in a way that is untainted by 'so what do I get out of this?' I don't know if Tolkien was referencing the innocence of the Garden with Huan being a talking dog, but that is a connection I make.

I don't think that is ignorance, strictly speaking. I think you can only fully know someone if you love them deeply. And while of course we do get much joy out of that...once it reaches the level of taking rather than asking or even just accepting a gift, it is twisted well beyond recognition from anything that could be called 'love'.

I think that what was lost at the Fall was a deeper communion that came naturally to humanity in its 'original' state. I think we can (with a lot of work) get glimpses of that in our lives now, but it's hardly a natural state of being in how we relate to our world.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:18 pm 
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Pleasantly Twisted
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SirDennis wrote:
axordil wrote:
Quote:
we are acknowledging that we're not as 'in control' of our lives and actions as we would sometimes like to think we are.


As for me, I am only made whole through the weight of my sins.


Ax, not meaning to pry or assign labels, but is that a Taoist idea, Zen Buddhist, or is it a tenant of Humanism? The idea is familiar but I don't know its origins.


Well, generally big-H Humanists are leery of the whole sin thing, so probably not them. ;) I'm not sure who said it before me (someone, certainly), but I came up with that particular formation of the idea on my own. For a novel, as it happens, but it's a deeply personal conviction for me: my numerous missteps have not only shaped but, in the long run, improved my moral and ethical understanding. I hope they have become less egregious over the years, and less hurtful to others, as I have come to grasp not only the subtler consequences of actions, but also the limits of hurt.

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Resentment is no excuse for baldface stupidity.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:47 pm 
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axordil wrote:
SirDennis wrote:
axordil wrote:
Quote:
we are acknowledging that we're not as 'in control' of our lives and actions as we would sometimes like to think we are.


As for me, I am only made whole through the weight of my sins.


Ax, not meaning to pry or assign labels, but is that a Taoist idea, Zen Buddhist, or is it a tenant of Humanism? The idea is familiar but I don't know its origins.


Well, generally big-H Humanists are leery of the whole sin thing, so probably not them. ;) I'm not sure who said it before me (someone, certainly), but I came up with that particular formation of the idea on my own. For a novel, as it happens, but it's a deeply personal conviction for me: my numerous missteps have not only shaped but, in the long run, improved my moral and ethical understanding. I hope they have become less egregious over the years, and less hurtful to others, as I have come to grasp not only the subtler consequences of actions, but also the limits of hurt.

Wisely spoken.

During our first real conversation my wife (as she prefers to be called) floated a variation of the idea: "I don't regret the horrible things that happened to me as they helped make me who I am today." As it turns out, that person is the person I fell in love with all those many years ago, and still love to this day. I like the Christian idea that God loved us first, and continues to love us, faults and all. Sometimes especially because of the faults.

As you laid out so clearly, ideally we should move towards a way of living that does not cause harm to ourselves or others. I do not think we have to accept God's grace in order to do so. But, in my opinion, it helps. I do note however that in neither case (ie with grace or without) is there a guarantee that "bad" things won't happen to us. It's just that in the grace scenario, we are told that "all things work together for good for those who love God." Which, to me is also a variation on your wise saying.

:)

eta: Thank you Frelga, the feeling is mutual!


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