[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas

Joy Vriens joy.vriens at gmail.com
Fri Jun 11 22:58:48 MDT 2010


Perhaps. A turning point for me away from the cultural relativism that would

> oppose such an effort ("when in Rome...") came many years ago in the
> American Museum of Natural History, when they opened a new exhibit on the
> Aztecs that neither minimized nor glossed over the human sacrifice that was
> the daily core of the culture. Every day a victim was led up the stairs of
> the pyramid, laid on a table, and a priest would slash open the chest and
> pull out the still-beating heart and hold it up to the cheering crowd. All
> salubriously enveloped in holiness and prayers.

Fortunately that would strike almost anyone as barbarious, which is a sign
we have moved on. Yet at the same time, all proportions being kept, I can
easily recognize the functioning of a legal justice system in this
description. Especially legal systems where the death penalty is still
active, and where certain groups of the population seem to be more present
among the executed than others.

The architecture of an imposing building, with steps leading up to it, high
counters (or what do you call them) in the court itself, judges dressed like
priests, hidden behind the high counter, looking down on the "victim", the
victim, exposed standing behind a barre, having to look up to them. The
victim having their chest slashed open by psychological and other experts,
and their still-beating heart exposed to the crowd: childhood, problems,
mots secret motivations etc. all salubriously enveloped in holiness and
sermons. I did write all proportions kept :-)


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