These last two days I've been having a lot of fun playing the little flirt but today I've been thinking on Jon's last post, Resisting Stagnation. It really is seductively easy to fall into a routine in order to get everything done that we need to in today's busy world. Routines can be comfortable but before you know it that routine has somehow turned into a rut. Ruts tend to limit us to a point where we aren't flexible enough to handle anything new that might come up in our lives. I'd even go so far to say that if you have allowed yourself to become stagnant you aren't really living! You're surviving, existing but to really LIVE a life you've got to be willing to stretch, explore, and grow! We ALL do it but I do agree with Jon that it's something to guard against and if we find ourselves in a rut we have to fight free.
My contribution to stamping out stagnation today is one of the core beliefs of many Wiccans and Pagans, the Rede. Trying to get all Wiccans and Pagans to do things the same way is as useless as trying to herd a massive group of cats so I don't speak for all but when someone learns from me the first thing we thoroughly explore together is the Rede. Whereas Christianity has the 10 Commandments Wicca has only the Rede and it says "an it harm none do what ye will." Well heck, that makes things really simple doesn't it! As long as I don't hurt anyone I can do whatever I want!! That is what many who come to our religion think but I challenge practitioners to go further to test the bounds of this deceptively simple rule.
The logical place to start seems to me to be defining "harm." Is it anything that causes physical pain? Maybe it's anything that causes actual injury! Then what about mental/emotional/spiritual pain that leave no measurable injury that can be pointed to but does it count as "harm?" If I sliced the front of you open with a sharp object have I harmed you? What then about a surgeon who makes the exact same cut into the abdomen of a patient in an attempt to heal? Is it ok to harm some but not others? When we breathe we kill thousands of microscopic creatures but does the Rede ban harming yourself by not breathing? If we accept that killing these creatures in order to continue our own lives is still abiding by the Rede we must then ask what creatures are ok to kill and which aren't? Where's the line? Most of us have come to rely on our technology to live our lives but much of this comes at the expense of certain types of living creatures. So are we obligated to learn to live without as much technology as possible? How do we decide what we can and just simply can't live without?
The Rede is actually much more complex than it appears at first but in our struggle for self improvement it is something that I feel must be examined this closely. If we are to truly live by the Rede we must build upon it a practical working moral and ethical structure that forms how we live our lives. It's how we decide right from wrong and should be our touchstone for all aspects of our lives. I hope I helped you to stretch a little today :)
Otto strikes again!
9 hours ago