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skilly-nilly
July 20th, 2006, 02:34 PM
A little while ago, Morr posted a thread about darkness:

http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=134428
Its been quite a time now that I've been thinking of darkness and its meaning.

I've come to the conclusion that I am a very dark person, darkness is my home and comfort. Its natural to me and I enjoy it.

I dont mean darkness as in depression, sadness, anger or suffering. Darkness, in my eyes, is not evil or painful.

All of the Deities who have claimed me or seeked my friendship are associated with either war, death or the crossroads. I feel that right now I am in the midst of an evolution of my spirit, as I slowly realise and find my place in darkness. It makes sense, its fun. Its home.

I've always thought this intrest in dark things and beings are an extention of my infatuation with the Gothic (literature, fashion, music). But I'm learning now that spiritually, I am embraced by the dark side of life, spirituality and the universe.

I'm not talking about nercomancy or chaos magick, or hexes, etc. I dont really seek out demons and such negative beings. Its not about that.

I'm happy with my life, I love my friends and family. While theres sometimes hardships (as there is in anyone's life), I am content. I even like puppies and flowers, candy and laughter. So I'm not some depressed, angsty person seeking out to rebel and "express" myself by associating myself with anything that would seem "freaky" or not "normal".

I really have no idea if I'm making sense here. I am still learning this about myself. Seems like I'm being called to service the darkness in life. That sort of darkness that is inevitable, that is an essence of the universe and creation, of living and growing.

Does anyone get what the hell I'm talking about? (be honest if you dont I've been finding it difficult to try and express this whole thing, even to myself. I dont know how to put my emotions and spiritual feelings into words in this case).


To me, this only expresses a personal preference as if one liked Fall better then Spring, rainy better than sunny, woods better than gardens.........as stated, liking the dark is largely value-neutral. Although since humans are mostly diurnal, it is a non-majority choice.

However, the thread segued flamingly into a discussion of 'Dark' (as eeeeevilllll), prompting Morr to further post:

I am not afraid and I feel quite comfortable at sitting next to this Pandora's Box. This darkness is natural and comforting.

I am willing to go and explore sides of my soul, spirituality and humanity that 80% of the people never would.

Evil? Evil is a preception. Therefore it DOES exist, but in minds of people.

What you view as evil, I might find as good. What I see as evil, you might enjoy doing and see no harm in it.


On the one hand, this is an irrational conflation. Darkness is just not-dayness, and remains value-neutral.

On the other hand, it is a conflation which is often made; 'Darkness' has been used as a stand-in for evil, bad intentions, danger, surly teens, death-by-hunger-and-cold, people who's beliefs one disagrees with, etc for millennia.

------THIS IS THE POINT, ALL THE PRECEDING IS LEAD-UP, YOU CAN SKIP TO HERE FOR A LITTLE LESS DROOLING------

On the gripping hand, I think that a Irish re-constructionist case can be made for believing in evil and what it is.

I believe that evil is the act of making a choice and choosing against one's better self. Looking at the choice from the inside. From the outside, I believe that evil is the act of coercion--acting on someone against their wishes, knowingly persuading someone to act for one's self against the person's best interests, denying someone the right to choose.

Of course, no one can always respect everybody else--parents act on children, society acts on evil-doers, rational people act on irrational ones. But in these cases, the acted-on person is the responsibility of the acting person/system.
This makes 2 divisions of responsibility:
The system and the person.

For the system, I use Brehon Law. I don't know as much of it as I would like to, but I am familiar with the main concepts. Until post-modern inclusions caught up to it, Brehon Law was distinctly different from Norman-based Law in several ways.

One of them was the recognition of universal emancipation---all beings (including trees) were seen as having individual value. That is, if you harmed any person (by force or defamation) you owed that person (not their owner/spouse/family) retributory payment.

There was also the recognition of women's' rights. Women had the absolute right to decline sexual contact, no matter what their previous sexuality in general or specific was, and both rape and non-penatratory offensive behavior were punished. Woman also, completely unlike the other legal systems that replaced it, had the absolute right to decline marriage.

Sooooooo, looking at the society served by Brehon Law, I generalize that it recognized all self-aware beings as having value and the right to self-determination.

Extrapolating from this, I believe that interference with a rational being's right to act or decline action (that is, coercion) is evil. Whenever one being decides (knowingly) to act on another and either forces their consent or overrides their refusal, they turn themselves to evil. If the impetus towards evil choices has an existence outside of the human mind then that, to me, is Evil the Being.



That leaves the person:
Inside the structure of the legal system, in Irish folklore and the ancient sagas, each person is responsible to themselves first. This is most noticeable in the Hero Sagas but I believe that this is only that stories about the heros were told and passed down, not because the ordinary person didn't make the same choices.

The heros (and many others) had individual obligations that they undertook or were given called geasa. They were distinctly individual; for example Cu, because of his naming, had a gease to never eat dog meat although anyone else could. So for him it was wrong and would have enormous consequences, but for anyone else it was neutral. Many geasa were founded in the rules of hospitality and politeness; for example Cu was under a gease to never refuse food offered from a feast in his honour.

Leading to, of course, the tragic flaw when 3 old crones (poss The Morrigan) stopped Cu by the road, stated that they were roasting a dog in the ditch in his honour, and offered him a slab.

All of the Hero Stories include heros suffering and/or dying because of their personal judgments and their responsibility for their actions. Their friends/Kings/spouses argue against them fulfilling their tragic destinies, but in all cases the Hero replies that ze must do what is right and mandated.

I extrapolate from this that the post-moderen idea that 'right' and 'wrong' are mutable and not a matter of personal choice is not a part of Irish Re-constructionism.


Darkness???
:reading:
Outside of a dog, man's best friend is a book.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)

Morr
July 20th, 2006, 02:57 PM
I'm sorry.

I'm either too much of a foreigner to understand your words, or just THAT stupid.

But I dont understand anything from this post. Care to put it in simpler, to the point type wording?

I am an Irish Reconstructionist. I dont see any problems with my path, and my belief of what is "evil". Darkness is not evil.

Darknes = Evil is a modern invention (or rather, a Christian invention), in my humble opinion, of course.

David19
July 20th, 2006, 04:00 PM
I'm a bit confused too, i understand what Morr was trying to say in her post (she likes the darkness better than the 'lightness', right?), and i kind of understand your post, but i don't see how they connect with each other, what does 'Brehon Law Style' have to do with prefering darkness over 'lightness', are you saying that to be a Irish recon, you have to always love the 'light' or something?.

Sorry, if i sound dumb, but i'm trying to understand.

Hellenic_Witch
July 20th, 2006, 07:02 PM
I extrapolate from this that the post-moderen idea that 'right' and 'wrong' are mutable and not a matter of personal choice is not a part of Irish Re-constructionism.


Darkness???
:reading:

So, is that last statement the gist of what you mean??

I don't want to seem like a dunce, but I think I've missed the point. I think (and correct me if I'm wrong, Morr) that Morr was discussing darkness in an aesthetic way. This is a way that I also understand (as a brief example: I enjoy cold, cloudy days as opposed to bright sunny ones).

skilly-nilly
July 20th, 2006, 07:32 PM
A little while ago, Morr posted a thread about darkness:

http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=134428
Its been quite a time now that I've been thinking of darkness and its meaning.

I've come to the conclusion that I am a very dark person, darkness is my home and comfort. Its natural to me and I enjoy it.

I dont mean darkness as in depression, sadness, anger or suffering. Darkness, in my eyes, is not evil or painful.

All of the Deities who have claimed me or seeked my friendship are associated with either war, death or the crossroads. I feel that right now I am in the midst of an evolution of my spirit, as I slowly realise and find my place in darkness. It makes sense, its fun. Its home.

I've always thought this intrest in dark things and beings are an extention of my infatuation with the Gothic (literature, fashion, music). But I'm learning now that spiritually, I am embraced by the dark side of life, spirituality and the universe.

I'm not talking about nercomancy or chaos magick, or hexes, etc. I dont really seek out demons and such negative beings. Its not about that.

I'm happy with my life, I love my friends and family. While theres sometimes hardships (as there is in anyone's life), I am content. I even like puppies and flowers, candy and laughter. So I'm not some depressed, angsty person seeking out to rebel and "express" myself by associating myself with anything that would seem "freaky" or not "normal".

I really have no idea if I'm making sense here. I am still learning this about myself. Seems like I'm being called to service the darkness in life. That sort of darkness that is inevitable, that is an essence of the universe and creation, of living and growing.

Does anyone get what the hell I'm talking about? (be honest if you dont I've been finding it difficult to try and express this whole thing, even to myself. I dont know how to put my emotions and spiritual feelings into words in this case).

To me, this only expresses a personal preference as if one liked Fall better then Spring, rainy better than sunny, woods better than gardens.........as stated, liking the dark is largely value-neutral. Although since humans are mostly diurnal, it is a non-majority choice.


MORR POSTED ABOUT DARKNESS



However, the thread segued flamingly into a discussion of 'Dark' (as eeeeevilllll), prompting Morr to further post:

I am not afraid and I feel quite comfortable at sitting next to this Pandora's Box. This darkness is natural and comforting.

I am willing to go and explore sides of my soul, spirituality and humanity that 80% of the people never would.

Evil? Evil is a preception. Therefore it DOES exist, but in minds of people.

What you view as evil, I might find as good. What I see as evil, you might enjoy doing and see no harm in it.

On the one hand, this is an irrational conflation. Darkness is just not-dayness, and remains value-neutral.

On the other hand, it is a conflation which is often made; 'Darkness' has been used as a stand-in for evil, bad intentions, danger, surly teens, death-by-hunger-and-cold, people who's beliefs one disagrees with, etc for millennia.


STUPIDLY, THE THREAD FLAMINGLY DISCUSSED EVIL RATHER THAN NOT-DAY.



------THIS IS THE POINT, ALL THE PRECEDING IS LEAD-UP, YOU CAN SKIP TO HERE FOR A LITTLE LESS DROOLING------

On the gripping hand, I think that a Irish re-constructionist case can be made for believing in evil and what it is.

I believe that evil is the act of making a choice and choosing against one's better self. Looking at the choice from the inside. From the outside, I believe that evil is the act of coercion--acting on someone against their wishes, knowingly persuading someone to act for one's self against the person's best interests, denying someone the right to choose.

Of course, no one can always respect everybody else--parents act on children, society acts on evil-doers, rational people act on irrational ones. But in these cases, the acted-on person is the responsibility of the acting person/system.
This makes 2 divisions of responsibility:


IRISH RE-CONSTRUCTIONIST IDEALS COULD SUPPORT BELIEF IN EVIL; EVIL IS COERCION.




The system and the person.

For the system, I use Brehon Law. I don't know as much of it as I would like to, but I am familiar with the main concepts. Until post-modern inclusions caught up to it, Brehon Law was distinctly different from Norman-based Law in several ways.

One of them was the recognition of universal emancipation---all beings (including trees) were seen as having individual value. That is, if you harmed any person (by force or defamation) you owed that person (not their owner/spouse/family) retributory payment.

There was also the recognition of women's' rights. Women had the absolute right to decline sexual contact, no matter what their previous sexuality in general or specific was, and both rape and non-penatratory offensive behavior were punished. Woman also, completely unlike the other legal systems that replaced it, had the absolute right to decline marriage.

Sooooooo, looking at the society served by Brehon Law, I generalize that it recognized all self-aware beings as having value and the right to self-determination.

Extrapolating from this, I believe that interference with a rational being's right to act or decline action (that is, coercion) is evil. Whenever one being decides (knowingly) to act on another and either forces their consent or overrides their refusal, they turn themselves to evil. If the impetus towards evil choices has an existence outside of the human mind then that, to me, is Evil the Being.

BREHON LAW RECOGNIZES THE SANCTITY OF PERSONAL CHOICE AND INDIVIDUAL WORTH.



That leaves the person:
Inside the structure of the legal system, in Irish folklore and the ancient sagas, each person is responsible to themselves first. This is most noticeable in the Hero Sagas but I believe that this is only that stories about the heros were told and passed down, not because the ordinary person didn't make the same choices.

The heros (and many others) had individual obligations that they undertook or were given called geasa. They were distinctly individual; for example Cu, because of his naming, had a gease to never eat dog meat although anyone else could. So for him it was wrong and would have enormous consequences, but for anyone else it was neutral. Many geasa were founded in the rules of hospitality and politeness; for example Cu was under a gease to never refuse food offered from a feast in his honour.

Leading to, of course, the tragic flaw when 3 old crones (poss The Morrigan) stopped Cu by the road, stated that they were roasting a dog in the ditch in his honour, and offered him a slab.

All of the Hero Stories include heros suffering and/or dying because of their personal judgments and their responsibility for their actions. Their friends/Kings/spouses argue against them fulfilling their tragic destinies, but in all cases the Hero replies that ze must do what is right and mandated.

I extrapolate from this that the post-modern idea that 'right' and 'wrong' are mutable and not a matter of personal choice is not a part of Irish Re-constructionism.


THE IRISH, PARTICULARLY THE HEROS, RELIED ON INTERNAL VALUE SYSTEMS.
THEY DIDN'T GIVE A TINKERS' DAM ABOUT THE FACT THAT OTHERS MIGHT NOT SEE RIGHT AND WRONG THE SAME WAY AS THEY DID.



Darkness???
:reading:
Outside of a dog, man's best friend is a book.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)

ITS DARK, BUT NOT EVIL, INSIDE A DOG.

Hellenic_Witch
July 20th, 2006, 07:53 PM
I really like the dog analogy!!

And I get what you are saying now! Sorry I didn't before.

I guess I needed a dumbed down version :)

_Banbha_
July 20th, 2006, 09:25 PM
On the gripping hand, I think that a Irish re-constructionist case can be made for believing in evil and what it is.

I believe that evil is the act of making a choice and choosing against one's better self. Looking at the choice from the inside. From the outside, I believe that evil is the act of coercion--acting on someone against their wishes, knowingly persuading someone to act for one's self against the person's best interests, denying someone the right to choose.

Of course, no one can always respect everybody else--parents act on children, society acts on evil-doers, rational people act on irrational ones. But in these cases, the acted-on person is the responsibility of the acting person/system.
This makes 2 divisions of responsibility:
The system and the person.

For the system, I use Brehon Law. I don't know as much of it as I would like to, but I am familiar with the main concepts. Until post-modern inclusions caught up to it, Brehon Law was distinctly different from Norman-based Law in several ways.

One of them was the recognition of universal emancipation---all beings (including trees) were seen as having individual value. That is, if you harmed any person (by force or defamation) you owed that person (not their owner/spouse/family) retributory payment.

There was also the recognition of women's' rights. Women had the absolute right to decline sexual contact, no matter what their previous sexuality in general or specific was, and both rape and non-penatratory offensive behavior were punished. Woman also, completely unlike the other legal systems that replaced it, had the absolute right to decline marriage.

Sooooooo, looking at the society served by Brehon Law, I generalize that it recognized all self-aware beings as having value and the right to self-determination.

Extrapolating from this, I believe that interference with a rational being's right to act or decline action (that is, coercion) is evil. Whenever one being decides (knowingly) to act on another and either forces their consent or overrides their refusal, they turn themselves to evil. If the impetus towards evil choices has an existence outside of the human mind then that, to me, is Evil the Being.



That leaves the person:
Inside the structure of the legal system, in Irish folklore and the ancient sagas, each person is responsible to themselves first. This is most noticeable in the Hero Sagas but I believe that this is only that stories about the heros were told and passed down, not because the ordinary person didn't make the same choices.

The heros (and many others) had individual obligations that they undertook or were given called geasa. They were distinctly individual; for example Cu, because of his naming, had a gease to never eat dog meat although anyone else could. So for him it was wrong and would have enormous consequences, but for anyone else it was neutral. Many geasa were founded in the rules of hospitality and politeness; for example Cu was under a gease to never refuse food offered from a feast in his honour.

Leading to, of course, the tragic flaw when 3 old crones (poss The Morrigan) stopped Cu by the road, stated that they were roasting a dog in the ditch in his honour, and offered him a slab.

All of the Hero Stories include heros suffering and/or dying because of their personal judgments and their responsibility for their actions. Their friends/Kings/spouses argue against them fulfilling their tragic destinies, but in all cases the Hero replies that ze must do what is right and mandated.

I extrapolate from this that the post-moderen idea that 'right' and 'wrong' are mutable and not a matter of personal choice is not a part of Irish Re-constructionism.


Darkness???
:reading:
Outside of a dog, man's best friend is a book.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)
Some questions: Could you extrapolate on why you believe Brehon law is distngiushed from Norman law only after Post-Modern inclusions caught up with it?

(I don't require a lecture on Brehon vs. Norman law here)

Evil is in the eye of the beholder, hence it is a perception.

Are you suggesting evil is a more tangible aspect in Ancient Irish society because of Geasa? Is this hard evidence? There is always choice involved. The fact that hero's faced the consequences of such choices is representational of the existance of evil?

Cu's gaese was not pulled out of thin air, it was of direct result of his own actions. And the gaese of not refusing food in a banquet in your honor was universal, and not indivdual, within society as a matter of honor and part of the rules of hospitality. I'm not sure why this is specifically evidence of a universially accepted concept of evil on a societal level. There is choice and choose wrongly and you loose your honor. A hero obviously would rather die than loose honor.

Are you saying the Morrighan was evil for offering the dog meat feast to Cu?

Cu had many enemies in Connaught, were they all evil too or are you just listening the story from the perspective of Cu and Ulster?


THE IRISH, PARTICULARLY THE HEROS, RELIED ON INTERNAL VALUE SYSTEMS.
THEY DIDN'T GIVE A TINKERS' DAM ABOUT THE FACT THAT OTHERS MIGHT NOT SEE RIGHT AND WRONG THE SAME WAY AS THEY DID.
I some how missed this post. Going out to dinner and leaving the computer on with my answer half writ....yes when it comes to the PC, I'm a evil energy waster. Just know I wrote my answer to you before you began shouting.

The hero's loosing face was a worse fate than death. But there was a choice.


ITS DARK, BUT NOT EVIL, INSIDE A DOG.Well, I agree. :lol:

skilly-nilly
July 20th, 2006, 10:58 PM
Some questions: Could you extrapolate on why you believe Brehon law is distngiushed from Norman law only after Post-Modern inclusions caught up with it?

(I don't require a lecture on Brehon vs. Norman law here)


Leaving a comparison of Norman and Brehon law right out of it, what I perceive is that the repudiation of Brehon law abrogated the civil rights of poor people, minorities , and women in favor of substantially beefing up the rights of land-holders and gentry and that not until the post-modern concepts of universal suffrage (in the realms that have it) and the application of the law to the powerful equally to the meek (not that it's a perfect world) that those concepts have been, in some measure, returned to.



Evil is in the eye of the beholder, hence it is a perception.


No, I disagree; it's a post-modern concept. Evil is in the choice of the evil-doer to act. If the impetus to act comes from inside then it's in the mind; if it comes from the suggestion of Some Other then it's elsewhere. I think there is no way to firmly establish where the evil impulse comes from.




Are you suggesting evil is a more tangible aspect in Ancient Irish society because of Geasa? Is this hard evidence? There is always choice involved. The fact that hero's faced the consequences of such choices is representational of the existance of evil?

No, it's my personal belief that evil is coercion. My argument is that this belief of mine is not contradicted by Brehon law and personal geasa as a means of determining action.



Cu's gaese was not pulled out of thin air, it was of direct result of his own actions. And the gaese of not refusing food in a banquet in your honor was universal, and not indivdual, within society as a matter of honor and part of the rules of hospitality. I'm not sure why this is specifically evidence of a universially accepted concept of evil on a societal level. There is choice and choose wrongly and you loose your honor. A hero obviously would rather die than loose honor.

Are you saying the Morrighan was evil for offering the dog meat feast to Cu?

Cu had many enemies in Connaught, were they all evil too or are you just listening the story from the perspective of Cu and Ulster?

I just finished re-reading the story of the Tain in several translations. Sometimes Cu's gease is described as accepting any food offered to him, sometimes as having to attend feasts in his honour, and sometimes as being unable to refuse food offered by a person of lesser status than himself, but it's always referred to as a personal gease. I am illiterate in Old irish, so I just read several translated versions to get a sense of the core meaning. It's true that it was polite to attend feasts in one's honour, but not compelling.


My argument here is that 'rightness' and 'wrongness' are not external, but a matter of choice on the part of the person accepting the gease. In many of the hero Stories (not just Cu's) the heros accept geasa or decide for actions that are against their own best interests. Their Hero Buddies argue that it's foolish and dangerous to do 'whatever'. The Hero answers that his personal honour requires 'whatever'. So, although losing face was very important (no argument there), the personal perception of what was required over-rode external opinion.

I don't think The Morrigan was evil, She was taking advantage of a loop-hole that existed in Cu's geasa. Perhaps to cause an oath-breaking cascade that would allow him to not die, or perhaps just because She could. Her motives or agenda aren't really discussed.



I some how missed this post. Going out to dinner and leaving the computer on with my answer half writ....yes when it comes to the PC, I'm a evil energy waster. Just know I wrote my answer to you before you began shouting.

The hero's loosing face was a worse fate than death. But there was a choice.

3 different people mentioned that I had posted gibberish, so I excerpted. I excerpted in caps so the condensations wouldn't get lost in the babble.

Morr
July 21st, 2006, 03:44 AM
I still dont understand the connection between darkness and evil, here. Since you said you didnt think they were connected even on modern terms. Maybe the title of this thread is throwing me off.

I personally thing that choice goes hand in hand with preception. You dont choose to go ahead and do something if you think it will not benifit you or harm you.

This is why I stick to the Hearth path :lol: Its simple and fun.

Oh, and Mama Morrigan is known for her trickster ways. She was also very hot for Cu, and he refused her on several ocassions. This angered her because she didnt get a piece of ass.
On a more folklore-y level, he refused to commit to sovreignty and the land. Refused to promise the protection and care of the land and the people (just like Dagda did, and other Kings). His downfall is tied to the fact that he was somewhat selfish and arrogant. He wanted fame, and power. He didnt see anything else short of "kill kill kill, be loved by the people, drink and be famous!". Much like the Greek Achiles.

skilly-nilly
July 21st, 2006, 12:38 PM
I still dont understand the connection between darkness and evil, here. Since you said you didnt think they were connected even on modern terms. Maybe the title of this thread is throwing me off.

I personally thing that choice goes hand in hand with preception. You dont choose to go ahead and do something if you think it will not benifit you or harm you.

This is why I stick to the Hearth path :lol: Its simple and fun.

Oh, and Mama Morrigan is known for her trickster ways. She was also very hot for Cu, and he refused her on several ocassions. This angered her because she didnt get a piece of ass.
On a more folklore-y level, he refused to commit to sovreignty and the land. Refused to promise the protection and care of the land and the people (just like Dagda did, and other Kings). His downfall is tied to the fact that he was somewhat selfish and arrogant. He wanted fame, and power. He didnt see anything else short of "kill kill kill, be loved by the people, drink and be famous!". Much like the Greek Achiles.


MORR POSTED ABOUT DARKNESS

STUPIDLY, THE THREAD FLAMINGLY DISCUSSED EVIL RATHER THAN NOT-DAY.

------THIS IS THE POINT, ALL THE PRECEDING IS LEAD-UP, YOU CAN SKIP TO HERE FOR A LITTLE LESS DROOLING------

IRISH RE-CONSTRUCTIONIST IDEALS COULD SUPPORT BELIEF IN EVIL; EVIL IS COERCION.

BREHON LAW RECOGNIZES THE SANCTITY OF PERSONAL CHOICE AND INDIVIDUAL WORTH.

THE IRISH, PARTICULARLY THE HEROS, RELIED ON INTERNAL VALUE SYSTEMS.
THEY DIDN'T GIVE A TINKERS' DAM ABOUT THE FACT THAT OTHERS MIGHT NOT SEE RIGHT AND WRONG THE SAME WAY AS THEY DID.

ITS DARK, BUT NOT EVIL, INSIDE A DOG.


Your post about darkness made me think, so I referenced your post in mine---I like to point to what made me think rather then just post out of thin air. However, as I said in my pm to you and reiterated in the post what I was thinking about wasn't

'I like darkness' which seems to me to be merely a statement of preference but

'What is the Nature of Eeeeeevillll?" which I think is a meatier point.

To make it clear that what I was posting wasn't about your post, but a spin-off I signaled in my post (THIS IS THE POINT....) where I was sliding away from a discussion of night vs day. So the rest of the post isn't about darkness at all.

Because the Nature of Evil is, to me, an interesting concept. I was struck in the flaming parts of your post by the various posters insistence that Evil, either perceptual or absolute, is action. My belief is that Evil is intent.

And I feel that the belief that Evil is in intent can be supported by the cultural and mythic precepts of Irish Re-Constructionism.


You say:
"You dont choose to go ahead and do something if you think it will not benifit you or harm you."

I think this is often not the case, and particularly so in the case of the Heros and their stories.

Not only do parents sacrifice for their children, and soldiers for their countries, and believers for their God/s/dess/desses; but people everywhere throughout time do wrong-headed things because they believe they 'must' even in the face of others pointing out that it will not benefit/will harm them.

Cúchulainn in particular; I disagree with your characterization that he "he refused to commit to sovreignty and the land. Refused to promise the protection and care of the land and the people (just like Dagda did, and other Kings). His downfall is tied to the fact that he was somewhat selfish and arrogant. He wanted fame, and power. He didnt see anything else short of 'kill kill kill, be loved by the people, drink and be famous!' ".

In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, he defends Ulster even though it is not his native kingdom because he has sworn to do so. He was arrogant and wanted fame, but boasting and flamboyant display were encouraged attributes of the heros of the day. Just because post-modern thought discourages self-aggrandizement doesn't make him venial, just not modern.

He dies protecting Ulster. Cú Chulainn dying, tied to a post so that even in death he might face his enemies standing, isn't showing lack of commitment.

I also don't think that the interactions between Cú Chulainn and The Morrigan are wholly about sex, but also about recognition and clearness of purpose. The Morrigan's agenda (apart from offering sex) are not clear. She, in the end, sits on his shoulder while he is dying which, to me, indicates affirmation.


Let's just pretend that the title of the post is 'The nature of Evil--It's Not Dark'

Morr
July 21st, 2006, 05:45 PM
Question is, had he not been driven by fame or arrogance -- Would he do the same things he did?

Also, heros are often very different than commoners, or just the people.

Intent is almost always followed by an action.
Even if the intent is subconscience or an instinctive one (a parent sacrificing themselves for their children's lives).

However, there are those who have intents but dont act on it. Does that still make them evil? Or just angry people who are being responsible about it?

*shrugs*

But then again, I dont believe this thing people call "evil" exists to begin with.

_Banbha_
July 21st, 2006, 10:09 PM
Leaving a comparison of Norman and Brehon law right out of it, what I perceive is that the repudiation of Brehon law abrogated the civil rights of poor people, minorities , and women in favor of substantially beefing up the rights of land-holders and gentry and that not until the post-modern concepts of universal suffrage (in the realms that have it) and the application of the law to the powerful equally to the meek (not that it's a perfect world) that those concepts have been, in some measure, returned to.

I think that makes sense, we are evolving back to a point we were a thousand years ago. My Norman ancestors from Kilkenny had much to do with that transition. _inabox_ Things got much worse though, after them.



No, I disagree; it's a post-modern concept. Evil is in the choice of the evil-doer to act. If the impetus to act comes from inside then it's in the mind; if it comes from the suggestion of Some Other then it's elsewhere. I think there is no way to firmly establish where the evil impulse comes from.Okay, I said evil is in the eye of the beholder. That's a perception, not a theoretical concept. I do not believe evil even exsists out side of individual perception in ancient Irish culture as the norm either. The concept arose in my mind out of dualistic philosophy presented to Irish culture in the form of Christianity. I can give you a good example of this in the "Colloquy of the
Sages". (There used to be a Stokes version on-line but Clannada na Gadelica has reshuffled their site. I'll look for one elsewhere and post it later.)





No, it's my personal belief that evil is coercion. My argument is that this belief of mine is not contradicted by Brehon law and personal geasa as a means of determining action. Following a Gaesa is always a choice though. There are consequences to all actions.



I just finished re-reading the story of the Tain in several translations. Sometimes Cu's gease is described as accepting any food offered to him, sometimes as having to attend feasts in his honour, and sometimes as being unable to refuse food offered by a person of lesser status than himself, but it's always referred to as a personal gease. I am illiterate in Old irish, so I just read several translated versions to get a sense of the core meaning. It's true that it was polite to attend feasts in one's honour, but not compelling. Breaking the rules of hospitality have serious consquences if not by law then by reputation. Reputation was all, loose it and face the nightmare. :lol:



My argument here is that 'rightness' and 'wrongness' are not external, but a matter of choice on the part of the person accepting the gease. In many of the hero Stories (not just Cu's) the heros accept geasa or decide for actions that are against their own best interests. Their Hero Buddies argue that it's foolish and dangerous to do 'whatever'. The Hero answers that his personal honour requires 'whatever'. So, although losing face was very important (no argument there), the personal perception of what was required over-rode external opinion.Okay, now we are agreeing unless I'm confused, which is entirely possible in my current state of mind. :hehehehe:


I don't think The Morrigan was evil, She was taking advantage of a loop-hole that existed in Cu's geasa. Perhaps to cause an oath-breaking cascade that would allow him to not die, or perhaps just because She could. Her motives or agenda aren't really discussed.

JMO: The Morrighan was fate and Cu's fate with her was enevitable. She required the finest sacrifice and that was himself. Cu was mortal and Morrighan was Death. He was the mightiest and greatest of warriors but he could not defeat Her.

_Banbha_
July 22nd, 2006, 01:55 AM
Okay, here's the translation I mentioned:

Stokes, Whitley (http://www.ucc.ie/celt/stokebib.html)
1905 'The Colloquy of the Two Sages,' Revue Celtique 16, pp. 4-64

I can not find it yet on the net...:2G:
If I can find it I'll start a thread on it.

'The Collequy of the two Sages" in this book with a contemporary translation that is said to be superior:

Guyonvarc'h, Christian J.
2002
The Making of a Druid: Hidden Teachings from The Colloquy of Two Sages.
Rochester: Inner Traditions.

I've been meaning to order this.

It's a wonderful battle of wits and words from a young, talented upstart and an older more cynical Druid. This older Druid is representional to me of the infusion of Christian philosophy, IMO, in the Druid culture as he brings up doomsday senerios and other more blatant references. (The Collequy means much, much more and is great fodder for discussion) To me it represents, in part, a blending of a before and after picture on a certain level between the old and young Druid in philosophy and perspective. I wish I could link to it. BTW, the old Druid wins in the end. Of course it was monks who recorded the story. :)

Seren_
July 22nd, 2006, 09:13 AM
There's a Stokes translation of the Colloquy here:

http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/colloquy.html

_Banbha_
July 22nd, 2006, 09:35 AM
There's a Stokes translation of the Colloquy here:

http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/colloquy.html

Thank you Seren! At Mary Jones' fantastic site of course. :D

I think the contemporary version in the Guyonvarc'h book is infintly more readable, but the jist is here for those such as myself who require a translation. You can still catch the rythm once they get going.

It's representational of a transitional period to me where evil as a concept was becoming tangable and absolute in judgemnets, biblical references and all.