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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Rede  (Read 5845 times)

Morag

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Re: Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Rede
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2018, 03:05:52 am »
Though I'm not sure Donal2018's formulation, phrased as "Do what you want as long as you harm none," is any different.

It is completely different, though.

"If it doesn't harm" is not the same clause as "harm none". As written, the Rede is advice, which you're free to follow or ignore. "Do what you want as long as you harm none" is lacking the "if/then" clause and as phrased is a rule, as well as an example of that completely untenable position Darkhawk was talking about.

"If it doesn't harm, then go ahead and do it" doesn't actually talk about the situations where harm might happen, and you're left to figure that out on your own. "Do what you want as long as you harm none" doesn't ALLOW for any situations where harm might happen; it's saying the ONLY ACCEPTABLE situations are ones where you cause no harm. It's the same as distilling the Rede down to the (horrendously incorrect) 2-word "harm none" --- the "do you what you want" in there is meaningless without the "if/then" format.

"As/so long as you" is not the same as "if/then". It's a conditional that states that there is something you must do in order to be in alignment with the rest of the phrase.
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Re: Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Rede
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2018, 03:29:36 am »
"As/so long as you" is not the same as "if/then". It's a conditional that states that there is something you must do in order to be in alignment with the rest of the phrase.

In the light of the clarifications in this thread I find the Rede much more intriguing as a bit of witchy/pagan history. It was clearly deliberately designed to stand in opposition to the "Thou shalt/Thou shalt not" commandments so many were familiar with from (primarily) Christianity: a major religious tenet that was no command at all, simply some permissive advice.

That so many modern Wiccans and other pagans have so persistently reconfigured it into some kind of command also says something about our religious culture, I suspect. I am not particularly qualified to speak on what that is, being neither Christian at all nor more than very casually Wiccan, but there's probably something to be unpacked there.
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Re: Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Rede
« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2018, 06:06:53 am »
It is completely different, though.

"If it doesn't harm" is not the same clause as "harm none". As written, the Rede is advice, which you're free to follow or ignore. "Do what you want as long as you harm none" is lacking the "if/then" clause and as phrased is a rule, as well as an example of that completely untenable position Darkhawk was talking about.

"If it doesn't harm, then go ahead and do it" doesn't actually talk about the situations where harm might happen, and you're left to figure that out on your own. "Do what you want as long as you harm none" doesn't ALLOW for any situations where harm might happen; it's saying the ONLY ACCEPTABLE situations are ones where you cause no harm. It's the same as distilling the Rede down to the (horrendously incorrect) 2-word "harm none" --- the "do you what you want" in there is meaningless without the "if/then" format.

"As/so long as you" is not the same as "if/then". It's a conditional that states that there is something you must do in order to be in alignment with the rest of the phrase.

Now I understand the distinction you and Darkhawk are making. I read "as/so long as you" as conditional, entirely equivalent to "if/then"; I suppose I was reading it as "Do what you want as long as you harm none [in doing it]"--that the "harm none" was specific to the act in question, and not a general rule. Reading it now, while that interpretation is possible, it's not written there, and I was probably imposing my understanding of the Rede on a less precise phrasing that opens the door to the misinterpretation we abhor.

The "it" ("An it harm none, do as ye will") vs. "you" ("Do what you want as long as you harm none") helps to avoid the misinterpretation. "It" makes it clearer you're talking about the specific act in question, whereas "you" bleeds into the general rule territory of "you shouldn't do any harm to anyone or anything ever".
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 06:08:48 am by Altair »
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Re: Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Rede
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2018, 09:35:27 am »
"Do what you want as long as you harm none" does *not* inherently encompass "Don't do it if it harms someone or something."

"As long as" is not "if" though, and I would read "Do what you want as long as you harm none" as setting up a requirement for no harm, because that's what "as long as" is used for: setting requirements.  "You can play outside as long as it's not raining" = "If it starts raining, you have to come in."

(And that's not even getting into the magical language differences between "do as you Will" and "do what you want" because that's a level of interpretation that's a whole other kettle of wtf.  Needless to say one of these phrases invokes the concept of "true will" and the other does not.)
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