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Not Self vs. Moral Agency

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Not Self vs. Moral Agency
Answer
6/19/14 1:43 PM
Doesn't morality require a self-model? That is, in order to be a moral person, doesn't there need to be a sense of agency, of somebody who is making moral decisions? How does this relate to the insight of not-self? How can somebody feel (necessary) guilt if they don't even exist?

RE: Not Self vs. Moral Agency
Answer
6/19/14 1:52 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:
Doesn't morality require a self-model? That is, in order to be a moral person, doesn't there need to be a sense of agency, of somebody who is making moral decisions? How does this relate to the insight of not-self? How can somebody feel (necessary) guilt if they don't even exist?
google this ----> site:http://www.dharmaoverground.org Moral Agency

Lots of good conversations on this topic...perhaps you could condense them and make a definitive post that links them all together.
~D

RE: Not Self vs. Moral Agency
Answer
6/19/14 2:21 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Hi Jason emoticon

For me this whole thing was never that interesting from a theoretical standpoint, so grain of salt with my two cents. But experientially what I can say is the more clear the open impermanent nature of phenomena (thoughts, feelings, sensations, intentions and  outer objects...) the more clear it is that things in general don't exist in a solid fixed way. This appears true for inner and outer phenomena.

Phenomena influence each other in a vast web of inter-causation, reality is apparently non-linear. Some phenomena which we label intentions, actions, choices etc. include an awareness of this fact of influence, built right in to those phenomena. Yet intentions, actions, choices also arise and pass in an open-ended way. When mind is hampered by the belief in a solid seperate self it can attribute that to any combination of factors (thoughts, feelings, intentions, sensations). Tagging that imaginary solid seperate self to intentions gives the felt sense of being an Agent.

So intentions without an intend-er are what is experientially evident (to me) when open impermanence is clearly evident. I see no contradiction whatsoever, in experience. There are open impermanent choices and open impermanent consequences which become causes for further reflection and future choices. How simple is that lol? emoticon

On the other, non-experiential hand, both the theory that everything is the result of fixed causes (determinism) and the theory that there is a solid seperate stable Agent which somehow stands behind the impermanent choices which arise and pass have always struck me as good examples of bad philosophy ;)  

RE: Not Self vs. Moral Agency
Answer
6/19/14 2:27 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I find that flipping this around is getting to some interesting thoughts. If there is a seemingly transparent sub/preconscious process that can create the illusion of agency....what else is it doing? Is it protecting the agency? Might moral ambiguities be steered to benefit this? Self justification is a powerful thing....
How do you know that having the sensations of a agent/controller is currently allowing you the maximum freedom to make impartial moral decisions?
Just some thoughts....but what other things are lurking connected to them....steering them...justifying them....connecting feelings to them....can I trust this process? Just because you feel free....look at that feeling....where did it come from...I question it...do you?
~D