Negative Contamination and Purification Through the Positive

Whoever acts in such a way that a new human being begins to exist is responsible for the existence of this latter in a world where contamination through the negative greatly outweighs the possibility of purification through the positive. A drop of mineral oil will pollute some 600 litres of drinking water – but a drop of drinking water will not make the least bit more drinkable 600 litres of mineral oil. Many people would no longer want to touch a plate of food that they’d seen a spider or a cockroach run over – but adding a handful of tofu to a pile of cockroaches will not make this pile seem, to most people, any more edible. If a Hindu from a higher caste accidentally consumes a meal prepared by a lower-caste individual this can mean a diminishing of his status – but a lower-caste Hindu who happens to consume a meal prepared by a higher-caste one does not thereby find his status raised.

One thought on “Negative Contamination and Purification Through the Positive

  1. Very apt parables to underline the asymmetry of pleasure and suffering! To imagine being subjected to the worst imaginable torments for 5 minutes and then enjoying the most wonderful pleasures for the same length of time seems to me to be a very powerful thought experiment in favour of asymmetry too.

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