Massage Your Mind!: Are You Living In A Cave?

Written by Maya Talisman Frost

Continued from page 1

Actually, we’ve been putting ourselves in chains sincerepparttar beginning of human existence. In Hindu philosophy (and many would agree that Hinduism and Buddhism are more like philosophies than religions), there are many allusions to illusion. My favorite isrepparttar 122356 story of Narada and maya, or “illusion” (although I personally preferrepparttar 122357 alternate definition of maya as “creative power”).

Narada was a great sage who came to Vishnu. In Hinduism, there are three aspects of Brahma, or godhead: Brahma isrepparttar 122358 creator, Vishnu isrepparttar 122359 preserver, and Shiva isrepparttar 122360 destroyer of evil. So, one day, Narada asks Vishnu, “What isrepparttar 122361 secret of maya?” Vishnu promptly throws him in a pool.

As soon as he entersrepparttar 122362 water, Narada becomes a princess born to a wealthy family, and as such, he experiencesrepparttar 122363 entire life ofrepparttar 122364 little girl. She ends up marrying a prince and going to live with him in his kingdom. They become fabulously wealthy, but then their kingdom is attacked and everything is destroyed. The prince is killed, andrepparttar 122365 princess, as a dutiful mourning wife, throws herself onrepparttar 122366 funeral pyre of her cremated husband. This is consideredrepparttar 122367 ultimate act of self-sacrifice. Suddenly, Narada wakes up to find that he is being pulled out ofrepparttar 122368 pool by Vishnu. At that moment, Vishnu asks him, “For whom are you weeping?”

This isrepparttar 122369 whole concept of illusion in a nutshell. We are caught up in a story that seems so skillful and perfect that we can’t help but believe that it is real.

Young children start asking questions about things likerepparttar 122370 color ofrepparttar 122371 sky orrepparttar 122372 shapes between branches, and we direct their attention to whatever we feel is more significant. They quickly learn what is expected, what is important, what is common in our understanding ofrepparttar 122373 world. After a while, we each forgetrepparttar 122374 perspective we’d had when everything was a wonder. And before we know it, we’ve got a life full of ideas, habits, beliefs and stories that we share with countless others.

Of course, then we wake up one morning around age 40 and start questioning everything. Well, there’s no sense sticking to that time-honored schedule. You can start questioning anytime!

In fact, your best bet is to recognize right off that this whole thing is one big fantastic charade. Recognize it, laugh at it, celebrate it, and keep an eye on that cave exit. Better yet, sneak out there whenever you get a chance. You can always come back inside and hang out with your cavemates and watch those shadows onrepparttar 122375 cave walls. It's safe. It'll always be there.

Prepare now to tiptoe outside. Break your chains. Shake your head enough times to loosen some of those stories that have been filling your mind for most of your life. And head forrepparttar 122376 light outsiderepparttar 122377 cave.

What's out there? Plenty of philosophers just like you--those who have broken free and seerepparttar 122378 world and reality in a whole new way. Life is rich, full, and more meaningful. Come joinrepparttar 122379 thinkers. There are plenty of us waiting to greet you!

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. As a teacher, facilitator and mediator, she has been helping others engage their formidable frontal lobes since 1983. Her popular course, "Massage Your Mind!: Defining Your Life Philosophy", has inspired thinkers in over 60 countries around the world. Her free weekly e-zine, the Friday Mind Massage, is designed to ease you into a thoughtful weekend. To subscribe, visit today!

The Myth of the Right to Life - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

In Judeo-Christian tradition, God isrepparttar owner of all souls. The soul is on deposit with us. The very right to use it, for however short a period, is a divine gift. Suicide, therefore, amounts to an abuse of God's possession. Blackstone,repparttar 122355 venerable codifier of British Law, concurred. The state, according to him, has a right to prevent and to punish suicide and attempted suicide. Suicide is self-murder, he wrote, and, therefore, a grave felony. In certain paternalistic countries, this still isrepparttar 122356 case.

The Right to Have One's Life Terminated

The right to have one's life terminated at will (euthanasia), is subject to social, ethical, and legal strictures. In some countries - such asrepparttar 122357 Netherlands - it is legal (and socially acceptable) to have one's life terminated withrepparttar 122358 help of third parties given a sufficient deterioration inrepparttar 122359 quality of life and givenrepparttar 122360 imminence of death. One has to be of sound mind and will one's death knowingly, intentionally, repeatedly, and forcefully.

II. Issues inrepparttar 122361 Calculus of Rights

The Hierarchy of Rights

The right to life supersedes - in Western moral and legal systems - all other rights. It overrulesrepparttar 122362 right to one's body, to comfort, torepparttar 122363 avoidance of pain, or to ownership of property. Given such lack of equivocation,repparttar 122364 amount of dilemmas and controversies surroundingrepparttar 122365 right to life is, therefore, surprising.

When there is a clash between equally potent rights - for instance,repparttar 122366 conflicting rights to life of two people - we can decide among them randomly (by flipping a coin, or casting dice). Alternatively, we can add and subtract rights in a somewhat macabre arithmetic.

Thus, ifrepparttar 122367 continued life of an embryo or a fetus threatensrepparttar 122368 mother's life - that is, assuming, controversially, that both of them have an equal right to life - we can decide to killrepparttar 122369 fetus. By adding torepparttar 122370 mother's right to life her right to her own body we outweighrepparttar 122371 fetus' right to life.

The Difference between Killing and Letting Die

Counterintuitively, there is a moral gulf between killing (taking a life) and letting die (not saving a life). The right not to be killed is undisputed. There is no right to have one's own life saved. Where there is a right - and only where there is one - there is an obligation. Thus, while there is an obligation not to kill - there is no obligation to save a life.

Killingrepparttar 122372 Innocent

The life of a Victim (V) is sometimes threatened byrepparttar 122373 continued existence of an innocent person (IP), a person who cannot be held guilty of V's ultimate death even though he caused it. IP is not guilty of dispatching V because he hasn't intended to kill V, nor was he aware that V will die due to his actions or continued existence.

Again, it boils down to ghastly arithmetic. We definitely should kill IP to prevent V's death if IP is going to die anyway - and shortly. The remaining life of V, if saved, should exceedrepparttar 122374 remaining life of IP, if not killed. If these conditions are not met,repparttar 122375 rights of IP and V should be weighted and calculated to yield a decision (See "Abortion andrepparttar 122376 Sanctity of Human Life" by Baruch A. Brody).

Utilitarianism - a form of crass moral calculus - calls forrepparttar 122377 maximization of utility (life, happiness, pleasure). The lives, happiness, or pleasure ofrepparttar 122378 many outweighrepparttar 122379 life, happiness, or pleasure ofrepparttar 122380 few. If by killing IP we saverepparttar 122381 lives of two or more people and there is no other way to save their lives - it is morally permissible.

But surely V has right to self defence, regardless of any moral calculus of rights? Not so. Taking another's life to save one's own is rarely justified, though such behaviour cannot be condemned. Here we haverepparttar 122382 flip side ofrepparttar 122383 confusion we opened with: understandable and perhaps inevitable behaviour (self defence) is mistaken for a moral right.

If I were V, I would kill IP unhesitatingly. Moreover, I would haverepparttar 122384 understanding and sympathy of everyone. But this does not mean that I had a right to kill IP.

Which brings us to September 11.

Collateral Damage

What should prevail:repparttar 122385 imperative to sparerepparttar 122386 lives of innocent civilians - orrepparttar 122387 need to safeguardrepparttar 122388 lives of fighter pilots? Precision bombing puts such pilots at great risk. Avoiding this risk usually results in civilian casualties ("collateral damage").

This moral dilemma is often "solved" by applying - explicitly or implicitly -repparttar 122389 principle of "over-riding affiliation". We findrepparttar 122390 two facets of this principle in Jewish sacred texts: "One is close to oneself" and "Your city's poor denizens come first (with regards to charity)".

Some moral obligations are universal - thou shalt not kill. They are related to one's position as a human being. Other moral values and obligations arise from one's affiliations. Yet, there is a hierarchy of moral values and obligations. The ones related to one's position as a human being are, actually,repparttar 122391 weakest.

They are overruled by moral values and obligations related to one's affiliations. The imperative "thou shalt not kill (another human being)" is easily over-ruled byrepparttar 122392 moral obligation to kill for one's country. The imperative "thou shalt not steal" is superseded by one's moral obligation to spy for one's nation.

This leads to another startling conclusion:

There is no such thing as a self-consistent moral system. Moral values and obligations often contradict each other and almost always conflict with universal moral values and obligations.

Inrepparttar 122393 examples above, killing (for one's country) and stealing (for one's nation) are moral obligations. Yet, they contradictrepparttar 122394 universal moral value ofrepparttar 122395 sanctity of life andrepparttar 122396 universal moral obligation not to kill. Far from being a fundamental and immutable principle -repparttar 122397 right to life, it would seem, is merely a convenient implement inrepparttar 122398 hands of society.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

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