I have to admit that I did not watch the Presidential debate. I had a headache and went to bed. I did see a small portion, but soon realized that neither candidate was saying much. They simply said the same things over and over again. It made me think of the Wiccan Rede and I wondered how that might change things.
If it harm none, do it.
Right off, I have to make a disclaimer. I am not Wiccan and so if I quoted the Rede wrong, forgive me. I have seen it written many different ways and this is just on of them.
Anyway, you get the just of it. If what you intend to do does not harm anyone, then go ahead and do it. I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. A story I was reading used it frequently. The question I have is how easy would it be to live by this Rede.
I think that there needs to be some real work on defining just what the Rede means.
The big issue, at least for me is the word harm. If it means strictly physical harm, then it becomes much easier. If what I want to do doesn’t cause anyone bodily damage, then I am free to do it. That would mean that, since I am a nudist, I should be able to walk down the street naked. It might offend some, it might disgust some, but I don’t think it will cause anyone to start bleeding. Wait, what about the little old lady that dies from a heat attack because she was so shocked at seeing my stellar physique?
If by harm, we include not only the physical, but emotional and economic harm, then it gets harder!
In the above example, my walking naked down the street would cause some emotional harm. They are so ingrained with body shame issues that they would suffer real emotional harm. What about that? Could we say they are not really harmed, but simply offended? Who decides the difference?
If I decide to start a business, that competes with someone else and I put them out of business, haven’t I done them harm?
Going back to the President debate, If Romney taxes the middle class and keeps the tax breaks for the rich, doesn’t he harm the middle class? If Obama takes away oil subsidies to the oil companies, doesn’t he harm those in the oil business? Sure, it’s easy to not feel sorry for those fat cats making millions and to side with the middle class. That’s where most of us live. The thing is, the Rede does not distinguish by class, gender, or anything else.
Who decides what harm is? If it were up to the individual, then it is anything goes unless it causes immediate physical harm. If we say that harm means hurting someone else in anyway, then we become immobilized with fear that we might “harm” someone.
I love the Rede. I think it is right up there with Jesus’ summary of the law. Can I walk down the street naked or not? Can I grow marijuana in my garden (No! I don’t, just in case you’re wondering.) or not?
Sometimes I think that if we all lived by the Rede it would be a much happier world. What’s in my garden again? Then I think, perhaps it would lead to chaos. What do you think?
If it harm none, do it.
Let me know what you think.