Accepting unforeseeable harm

Choosing (not) to do something usually implies intentionally accepting/ignoring the possibly unforeseeable harm or collateral damage of (not) doing that thing. From an early Buddhist sutta: “Intention, I tell you, is kamma [kamma in Pali = karma in Sanskrit]. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect” (Anguttara Nikaya, 6.63).

For example, when publishing something broadly, one is faced with accepting/ignoring the possibility that the publication might cause harm somehow. That accepting/ignoring intention can be quite negative and selfish on the publisher’s part. Think of how common sexualized advertising is in public, which children often see. Given the vast complexity and inter-connectedness of the world, I think it is very difficult to ensure that one’s intentions about doing almost anything are completely noble or pure-hearted, though one should try.


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