November 30, 2006

You have heard…but I say…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Otter @ 8:41 am

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

As you may have ascertained, I’m not Christian. So, why the quote? Because it made sense then. And it makes sense now. What? You thought that my being a systemic humanist makes this bad advice?


First laws of man, I say? Wow, the response was overwhelming. Thanks for committing. Well, since I have it all hung out here (so to speak), I’ll continue.

Hammurabi. Nailed it, didn’t he? Read ’em some time. Pretty good stuff. But, oh yeah, God. Yeah, we should probably get to that at some point. I mean, He did, right?

I have a much simpler version. Is there a law of man or God that prevents you from committing evil? I mean, come on. Secretly, you’ve been chomping at the bit to wreak as much personal havoc as you can, right? If not for that silly Bible and those silly commandments (that even *Jesus* thought so much of) you would be driving up to my house and doing…well…great evil. Right? Gosh, I’m so glad that someone wrote some laws to stop you. Yes, I’m dripping with sarcasm. Be smart. Read into it. Hammurabi was kind. He wrote them down. Let’s all go have a bath in the river. Trust me, according to him we all deserve it.

But let’s be a little more realistic. Those laws are crap, right? I mean, among other things, the Bible completely overrode them. Those silly Easterners. God was just dealing with publishers. They should have just held on.

But why? Why bother with laws? Well, I don’t feel like being oblique, so I’ll just tell you. WE WANTED THEM. Why? Well, we were doing something that we simply had never done before. We were living according to the auspicious good fortune that comes with *gasp* organized agriculture. No more hunting and gathering for us. Yup, we had seen the way. Stay where you are and produce. Oops! This whole civilization thing is falling apart for us…what now? This isn’t how we live. No problem! Here are some laws. Follow them or…well…die. Dont’cha love the future? Oh, by the way, can we use your land to grow some stuff on?

Here’s the rub. What laws have you chosen to live by? There are some obvious ones. No right turn on red. No drugs. No domestic disturbances. No public displays. You simply MUST show your receipt to exit the store. Why? Have we not as a society stopped thinking and started accepting? Hell, even the act of rebelling has been glamorized as “interesting” and “compelling”. Ask any middle schooler that decides to protest the school’s requirement that he remove his pony tail. Ask OJ Simpson as he (in great detail) justifies producing “what if” accounts of the death of his former wife and her companion. In fact this arena of despoil is considered entertainment by most. But that’s okay, right? Anyone in a lion’s mouth deserved to be there.

Yes. Sit back and reconcile yourself with some version of the “law” that you think is just. “What has happened to the world?” you ask. Screw that. What has happened to you? You can take this with all the surprise and exclamation with which you acknowledge a bug hitting your windshield. As though this is, somehow, the world “out there”. Sleep well. That 60hz hum in your ears is denial. And thus is the “new law”. The world may, by your willingness, perpetrate any abomination it will…based on your apathy.

“I care about the starving.” Insomuch as it doesn’t inconvenience me TOO much.
“Peace is the answer.” As long as we’re killing the bastards I don’t like.
“Faith is love.” And if you don’t believe that, well, burning in Hell is what you deserve.
“I love my children.” As long as they meet my ideal.
“My friends are my solace.” Did you hear what John did last weekend?

What other possible connivance could you create? What other possible evil could you release upon this world? What other guilt could you ignore?

And, at the end of the day, how could any of us go on without resolute forgiveness? And this just…the revelation…is the word, the fulfillment, and the law. If you ever thought otherwise, you have missed the point. Hell. I’m not Christian and I understand this.

Jesus, Buddha, Siddartha, Mohamed…how many damn names do you need? I can come up with about 12 more right off the top of my head. They only had one message:

In this world there are basic truths. There are basic laws. They aren’t fair or good or evil or kind or forgiving or blessed or pretentious or subtle or equivocal or flexible or modest or loving or comforting. They…are…immutable. And they are the basis for EVERYTHING. And they have ALWAYS been. I don’t care how often you pray or supplicate or sacrifice…the law has been the same. At best I can serve as the “Cribbage Bat of Justice” that whacks you up-side the head and points to the obvious and says, “Ummm…you’re kidding, right? What the hell were you thinking? This is TONS simpler than you thought.”

At worst I can cry myself to sleep again…resolute in tomorrow. So I guess I always win? I would far rather have my message fall on deaf ears than ignorant ones.

How I suddenly feel:
“You always know what’s going to happen next. There’s no mystery.”

Words from the past (Epictetus):

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

Yes, yes, I know. I’m rambling. At least from your point of view. Fair enough. Until next time.

Love ya!!!!


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