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The Parable of the Poisoned Arrow

1harderthanyouthink
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10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

For those who don't know, this parable is attributed to Gautama Buddha.

It is my understanding of that Buddha taught, with this parable, that there are better things to worry about and try to understand and/or fix because they affect us at our core. I going to post a few questions on this:

1. Where should we stop in our pursuit of knowledge? Should we?

2. Do we waste our time speculating on certain topics?

3. What is more important - dealing with pragmatic questions, or metaphysical ones?
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,207
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10/6/2015 6:11:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

For those who don't know, this parable is attributed to Gautama Buddha.

It is my understanding of that Buddha taught, with this parable, that there are better things to worry about and try to understand and/or fix because they affect us at our core. I going to post a few questions on this:

1. Where should we stop in our pursuit of knowledge? Should we?

2. Do we waste our time speculating on certain topics?

3. What is more important - dealing with pragmatic questions, or metaphysical ones?

I would think time and ability would have a lot to do with that parable. Sure, we are all "shot" in some degree or other, but there are a host of questions that could be much more relevant and helpful at that given moment than all those other questions asked. If I may insert a bit of practicality into that parable:

"I will not have this arrow removed until I know the poison on it..."

"Its adder's venom, sir..."

"Oh.. I have something for that."

And his life was saved.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
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drpiek
Posts: 589
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10/6/2015 7:36:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

For those who don't know, this parable is attributed to Gautama Buddha.

It is my understanding of that Buddha taught, with this parable, that there are better things to worry about and try to understand and/or fix because they affect us at our core. I going to post a few questions on this:

1. Where should we stop in our pursuit of knowledge? Should we?

2. Do we waste our time speculating on certain topics?

3. What is more important - dealing with pragmatic questions, or metaphysical ones?

I take the parable to mean that you need to deal with the pressing concerns first, then and only then should you worry about why. Unfortunately in life we rarely have time off where we have nothing pressing to worry about. This is also why meditation and detachment was taught.
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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10/6/2015 7:38:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/6/2015 7:36:11 PM, drpiek wrote:
At 10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
I take the parable to mean that you need to deal with the pressing concerns first, then and only then should you worry about why. Unfortunately in life we rarely have time off where we have nothing pressing to worry about. This is also why meditation and detachment was taught.

I mean, that kind of goes with what I said, but whatever.
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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10/7/2015 1:50:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/7/2015 1:05:58 AM, SM2 wrote:
Lesson: Don't be stupid, or you'll end up in a parable.

Thanks for the outstanding input sir.
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

DDO Risk King
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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10/7/2015 1:51:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I would like to make this two threads where most of the replies actually responded to the questions, but is that too wishful?
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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SM2
Posts: 546
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10/7/2015 2:39:03 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/7/2015 1:50:24 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
At 10/7/2015 1:05:58 AM, SM2 wrote:
Lesson: Don't be stupid, or you'll end up in a parable.

Thanks for the outstanding input sir.

It's true. Most parables only work because their protagonist is a moron.
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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10/7/2015 3:06:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/7/2015 2:39:03 AM, SM2 wrote:
At 10/7/2015 1:50:24 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
At 10/7/2015 1:05:58 AM, SM2 wrote:
Lesson: Don't be stupid, or you'll end up in a parable.

Thanks for the outstanding input sir.

It's true. Most parables only work because their protagonist is a moron.

"The reason I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.'"
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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SM2
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10/7/2015 3:20:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/7/2015 3:06:10 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
At 10/7/2015 2:39:03 AM, SM2 wrote:
At 10/7/2015 1:50:24 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
At 10/7/2015 1:05:58 AM, SM2 wrote:
Lesson: Don't be stupid, or you'll end up in a parable.

Thanks for the outstanding input sir.

It's true. Most parables only work because their protagonist is a moron.

"The reason I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.'"

Your point being...?
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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10/7/2015 3:28:08 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
There is no further conversation needed on that point.

Why does it have to be the time of the month with an influx of multis?
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

DDO Risk King
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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10/7/2015 3:11:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
More text: http://www.accesstoinsight.org...
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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bsh1
Posts: 27,503
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10/8/2015 2:58:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
1. Where should we stop in our pursuit of knowledge? Should we?

The parable seems to present an opportunity cost question. Really, it suggests that the pursuit of knowledge is fine, so long as we do not prioritize knowledge over our own welfare/life. Frankly, I think that knowledge is a wonderful thing, but, in itself, it's rather useless. Wisdom--or the ability to apply that knowledge well--is more important. Pursuing knowledge then, while important, should not be an end in itself. I think there need to be ethical limits on how we go about doing it as well; it isn't just about preserving ourselves, but about preserving others.

2. Do we waste our time speculating on certain topics?

Depends. I gain a lot of satisfaction out of contemplating philosophy, despite it's having little to no practical use in my life. Humans are naturally inquisitive; if we only wondered about things that could be known, I am sure most of us would be bored to death. Thus, contemplating the unknowable is useful in that it satiates a need we have as creatures.

On the flip side, it can be described as wasted time, since it's not achieving anything concrete. Though, I think concrete achievement is a poor barometer of usefulness. Sure, humans need to have SOME concrete achievements, but not everything we do needs to have them. Sometimes, simply enjoying a riddle or puzzling over a thought is beneficial to us.

3. What is more important - dealing with pragmatic questions, or metaphysical ones?

In terms of survival? The former. It terms of the spiritual? The latter.

By spiritual I merely mean the human essence. We need to feed our curiosity, and pragmatics alone don't really do that curiosity justice.
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1harderthanyouthink
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10/8/2015 4:04:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/8/2015 2:58:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
2. Do we waste our time speculating on certain topics?

Depends. I gain a lot of satisfaction out of contemplating philosophy, despite it's having little to no practical use in my life. Humans are naturally inquisitive; if we only wondered about things that could be known, I am sure most of us would be bored to death. Thus, contemplating the unknowable is useful in that it satiates a need we have as creatures.

On the flip side, it can be described as wasted time, since it's not achieving anything concrete. Though, I think concrete achievement is a poor barometer of usefulness. Sure, humans need to have SOME concrete achievements, but not everything we do needs to have them. Sometimes, simply enjoying a riddle or puzzling over a thought is beneficial to us.

Where does this become a negative factor in life?
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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bsh1
Posts: 27,503
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10/8/2015 6:50:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/8/2015 4:04:27 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
At 10/8/2015 2:58:27 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/6/2015 4:09:55 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
2. Do we waste our time speculating on certain topics?

Depends. I gain a lot of satisfaction out of contemplating philosophy, despite it's having little to no practical use in my life. Humans are naturally inquisitive; if we only wondered about things that could be known, I am sure most of us would be bored to death. Thus, contemplating the unknowable is useful in that it satiates a need we have as creatures.

On the flip side, it can be described as wasted time, since it's not achieving anything concrete. Though, I think concrete achievement is a poor barometer of usefulness. Sure, humans need to have SOME concrete achievements, but not everything we do needs to have them. Sometimes, simply enjoying a riddle or puzzling over a thought is beneficial to us.

Where does this become a negative factor in life?

How do you mean? When does pondering the imponderable become a negative factor? The answer to that is pretty straightforward: when it begins to have net negative impacts on the person pondering, or on those to whom that person has obligations.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...