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

Written by Maya Talisman Frost

When I was three years old, I had an experience I’ll never forget. My mother had just prepared lunch for my brother and me, and a neighbor lady came running over, breathless, telling my mother some news. Mom went right torepparttar television and turned it on. This was unusual—she rarely watched TV. She set uprepparttar 122356 ironing board inrepparttar 122357 living room(!) so that she could iron while watching.

Stranger still, she seemed to have forgotten all about naptime. My brother and I sat onrepparttar 122358 couch quietly, hoping that if we didn’t draw attention to ourselves she wouldn’t put us to bed. We needn’t have worried—Mom was completely caught up in what was onrepparttar 122359 television.

Fromrepparttar 122360 couch, we watchedrepparttar 122361 TV as a scene was played over and over…a man in a car with his wife, and then sudden pandemonium. I couldn’t make much sense of it. Whenrepparttar 122362 man onrepparttar 122363 TV was talking, there was a big photo ofrepparttar 122364 man inrepparttar 122365 car behind him. In fact, whenever anyone was talking, there was that same photo ofrepparttar 122366 man withrepparttar 122367 thick hair and toothy smile. My mother kept ironing, steam rising from my father’s shirts as she said, over and over, “Oh, God….oh, my GOD!”

And that is how, forrepparttar 122368 next ten years of my life, I had an image of God as John F. Kennedy in a long white robe. Even when I realized what I was picturing, and remembered why I had that association, I couldn’t shakerepparttar 122369 image. Even now, forty years later, I still find that mental picture popping up when I least expect it!

It’s fascinating to look at how we learn and what our minds store as knowledge. Do you have a JFK story? We all have stories in our heads ofrepparttar 122370 way things happened or how details fit together. The interesting thing is that they are, indeed, simply stories.

Fortunately, there’s nothing harmful about my childhood image of God. I didn’t start worshippingrepparttar 122371 Kennedy family or anything like that. The entire fields of psychology and psychiatry are based on our early associations andrepparttar 122372 stories we tell ourselves aboutrepparttar 122373 way things are.

And what stories! We create our own histories in our heads, and sometimes it takes a great deal of counseling (or our own application of philosophy) to remodel our stories so that they help us seerepparttar 122374 world in a more realistic way.

Plato had an interesting way of thinking about false beliefs and illusions. He developed an elaborate image of a cave in which all people are chained torepparttar 122375 floor and watching shadows onrepparttar 122376 wall. He described a man who, escaping his chains, becomesrepparttar 122377 first to venture outsiderepparttar 122378 cave. He comes to realize thatrepparttar 122379 shadows cast uponrepparttar 122380 cave walls fromrepparttar 122381 light ofrepparttar 122382 fire bear little resemblance torepparttar 122383 outside world. He sees forrepparttar 122384 first time that cave life is an illusion, and he races back to free his cavemates and show themrepparttar 122385 real world.

Plato goes on to say that this is exactly what a philosopher does. When he tells his cavemates his strange tale, he is cheered by some and rejected by others. Some cave folks are just fine in that cave, thank you very much. They don’t need any other reality. Others are intrigued but hesitant, breaking free of their chains and stepping cautiously intorepparttar 122386 sunlight.

The philosopher’s role is to continue inrepparttar 122387 difficult but necessary work of freeing fellow captives and introducing them to a brighter world. His task is to help us wake up and recognizerepparttar 122388 limitations we’ve constructed for ourselves.

We tend to like our illusions. It’s a pain to question them. It takes too much time, and then it messes up our carefully crafted ideas about life. Better to just sit there with our chains, staring atrepparttar 122389 cave wall. We don’t think it’s so bad…some of those shadows are kind of nice. That fire feels pretty good. These chains, once you get used to them, are barely noticeable. And so it is in modern life.

The Myth of the Right to Life - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

The Right to Have One's Life Maintained

This leads to a more general quandary. To what extent can one use other people's bodies, their property, their time, their resources and to deprive them of pleasure, comfort, material possessions, income, or any other thing - in order to maintain one's life?

Even if it were possible in reality, it is indefensible to maintain that I have a right to sustain, improve, or prolong my life at another's expense. I cannot demand - though I can morally expect - even a trivial and minimal sacrifice from another in order to prolong my life. I have no right to do so.

Of course,repparttar existence of an implicit, let alone explicit, contract between myself and another party would changerepparttar 122355 picture. The right to demand sacrifices commensurate withrepparttar 122356 provisions ofrepparttar 122357 contract would then crystallize and create corresponding duties and obligations.

No embryo has a right to sustain its life, maintain, or prolong it at its mother's expense. This is true regardless of how insignificantrepparttar 122358 sacrifice required of her is.

Yet, by knowingly and intentionally conceivingrepparttar 122359 embryo,repparttar 122360 mother can be said to have signed a contract with it. The contract causesrepparttar 122361 right ofrepparttar 122362 embryo to demand such sacrifices from his mother to crystallize. It also creates corresponding duties and obligations ofrepparttar 122363 mother towards her embryo.

We often find ourselves in a situation where we do not have a given right against other individuals - but we do possess this very same right against society. Society owes us what no constituent-individual does.

Thus, we all have a right to sustain our lives, maintain, prolong, or even improve them at society's expense - no matter how major and significantrepparttar 122364 resources required. Public hospitals, state pension schemes, and police forces may be needed in order to fulfill society's obligations to prolong, maintain, and improve our lives - but fulfill them it must.

Still, each one of us can sign a contract with society - implicitly or explicitly - and abrogate this right. One can volunteer to joinrepparttar 122365 army. Such an act constitutes a contract in whichrepparttar 122366 individual assumesrepparttar 122367 duty or obligation to give up his or her life.

The Right not to be Killed

It is commonly agreed that every person hasrepparttar 122368 right not to be killed unjustly. Admittedly, what is just and what is unjust is determined by an ethical calculus or a social contract - both constantly in flux.

Still, even if we assume an Archimedean immutable point of moral reference - does A's right not to be killed mean that third parties are to refrain from enforcingrepparttar 122369 rights of other people against A? What ifrepparttar 122370 only way to right wrongs committed by A against others - was to kill A? The moral obligation to right wrongs is about restoringrepparttar 122371 rights ofrepparttar 122372 wronged.

Ifrepparttar 122373 continued existence of A is predicated onrepparttar 122374 repeated and continuous violation ofrepparttar 122375 rights of others - and these other people object to it - then A must be killed if that isrepparttar 122376 only way to rightrepparttar 122377 wrong and re-assertrepparttar 122378 rights of A's victims.

The Right to have One's Life Saved

There is no such right because there is no moral obligation or duty to save a life. That people believe otherwise demonstratesrepparttar 122379 muddle betweenrepparttar 122380 morally commendable, desirable, and decent ("ought", "should") andrepparttar 122381 morally obligatory,repparttar 122382 result of other people's rights ("must"). In some countries,repparttar 122383 obligation to save a life is codified inrepparttar 122384 law ofrepparttar 122385 land. But legal rights and obligations do not always correspond to moral rights and obligations, or give rise to them.

The Right to Save One's Own Life

One has a right to save one's life by exercising self-defence or otherwise, by taking certain actions or by avoiding them. Judaism - as well as other religious, moral, and legal systems - accept that one hasrepparttar 122386 right to kill a pursuer who knowingly and intentionally is bent on taking one's life. Hunting down Osama bin-Laden inrepparttar 122387 wilds of Afghanistan is, therefore, morally acceptable (though not morally mandatory).

But does one haverepparttar 122388 right to kill an innocent person who unknowingly and unintentionally threatens to take one's life? An embryo sometimes threatensrepparttar 122389 life ofrepparttar 122390 mother. Does she have a right to take its life? What about an unwitting carrier ofrepparttar 122391 Ebola virus - do we have a right to terminate her life? For that matter, do we have a right to terminate her life even if there is nothing she could have done about it had she known about her condition?

The Right to Terminate One's Life

There are many ways to terminate one's life: self sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one's life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing and self inflicted death that isrepparttar 122392 result of coercion. Like suicide, in all these - barrepparttar 122393 last - a foreknowledge ofrepparttar 122394 risk of death is present coupled with its acceptance. Does one have a right to take one's life?

The answer is: it depends. Certain cultures and societies encourage suicide. Both Japanese kamikaze and Jewish martyrs were extolled for their suicidal actions. Certain professions are knowingly life-threatening - soldiers, firemen, policemen. Certain industries - likerepparttar 122395 manufacture of armaments, cigarettes, and alcohol - boost overall mortality rates.

In general, suicide is commended when it serves social ends, enhancesrepparttar 122396 cohesion ofrepparttar 122397 group, upholds its values, multiplies its wealth, or defends it from external and internal threats. Social structures and human collectives - empires, countries, firms, bands, institutions - often commit suicide. This is considered to be a healthy process.

Thus, suicide came to be perceived as a social act. The flip-side of this perception is that life is communal property. Society has appropriatedrepparttar 122398 right to foster suicide or to prevent it. It condemns individual suicidal entrepreneurship. Suicide, according to Thomas Aquinas, is unnatural. It harmsrepparttar 122399 community and violates God's property rights.

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