Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut? Take the money? And walk out the door?
Actually, I did. But then my mental calculator recognized that something didn’t add up right? So I reworked the cerebral debate. And my conscience actually engaged in the deliberation.
I know…I know… My conscience. You’re probably churning with the same suspicions one of my doubting-exes had when she telephoned me after my open-heart surgery.
“You mean you have a heart?” she guffawed. Probably the only witty barb the female-canine ever barked while licking her sprawling back forty.
And apparently I also have a conscience… At least, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it — longer than my ex could ever stick to one of her prevaricating alterations in or out of court.
Hmm… Sometimes jurisprudence really works.
But don’t make me out to be something I ain’t. I am not noble. I’m not a vegan. I’ve killed. And I’ve broken a lot of rules. But I am trying my best – even if my best still may not be good enough – most times. Except this time.
And before I relate my mundane episodic epiphany I need to inquire, for a nanosecond, about Syria; and the West Bank; and the Congo, and the rest of the planet. You know, all those places in the world where our Secretaries of State, such as Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, shake their fingers, roar, make a fleeting diplomatic score for the fawning hordes, and then soar off for the next encore.
May suicidal seagulls bash into their jet engines until they splash deep into the Hudson.
We all talk about our Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and other religion-de-jour world. And yet we all seem to forget that all religions are pretty much the same in getting us from here and now to then and there.
Yet we still don’t seem to GET-IT! Do we?
Our faith, creeds, whatever, ain’t nothing but a thousand miles wide, but only a millimeter deep.
And, meanwhile, we all sanctimoniously suck on the barnyard stew.
No matter how many thousands of years you go back – long before Abraham, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and the rest of the Brahmin plagiarists – there was – with merely a variation on a word or two – some option of the Golden Rule.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
— Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Leviticus 19.18
Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
— Christianity. Bible, Matthew 7.12
Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
— Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.
— Jainism. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.
— Confucianism. Mencius VII.A.4
One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.
— Hinduism. Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8
Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.
— Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 705
One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.
— African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)
Tsekung asked, “Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?” Confucius replied, “It is the word shu–reciprocity: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”
— Confucianism. Analects 15.23
Are you following me here?
All life comes down to the Golden Rule… From day one. Everything else is nothing but commentary and explanation! I mean, that is, unless you are a sadomasochist. Or you are limpidly trying to convince the judge, who just sentenced you to death, that he wouldn’t do that to himself.
But do you really want someone poking you in the eye. Raping your sheep? Charging you to breathe the air?
Where does it stipulate that religions are supposed to be a weapon for war — instead of shields for peace?…
Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe I need to steal away to the mountains with a big breasted momma for the winter holidays. Or maybe I’ve just fed up with more bull shit than is inhumanly possible to swallow over whether your imaginary G-d is better than my imaginary G-d!
As a fellow nut once whispered to me in this insane asylum: Do you really expect people to be both logical AND pious?
In other words: Helpful AND reasonable.
Hell, I don’t expect nuttin’ good from nobody – except if they are so cocksure of their religious aim, why don’t they aim between their own ears? Test it out on yourself before you go around perversely – if not oxymoronically — inflicting war to find some peace. That is, indeed, as inane as “screwing for virginity.”
I have just been too sober for too long. The world just doesn’t amuse me the way it once did when I first ran away to join the circus. I don’t laugh like I used to, especially when I was always more than pleasantly inebriated.
For instance, here’s a thought:
Does “duh brotherhood” ever stop to ponder that the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Syrians, and all the rest of the Arab world, don’t want the Palestinians living in their sovereign territory. Like the Palestinians did before each and every one of their brothers kicked their asses out.
Are we really afraid of the Persians? Or, are we just afraid the Iranians are going to act as badly as the United States, Russia, China and all the other insolent empires have shoddily acted in the past and present and inevitable future?
We are all, supposedly, brothers, yet we are all acting like Abel and Cain. We all need to get laid more. We all need to get drunk more. We all need to treat our fellow animals, minerals and vegetables as we want our funny bones to be tickled.
We’ve got to get tolerant in our mind, body and soul. And that requires education. And experience. Not indoctrination, but enlightenment. And the first step to enlightenment is disillusionment.
Stop the bloody jingoism. Enough with the idiotic football! And the soccer. And playing polo with the heads of the conquered miscreants.
The Golden Rule, or whatever you wanna spread on your doorpost, is all that is required for entrance to this unabashed party of the heart.
The Indians welcomed Columbus and broke Thanksgiving bread with the Pilgrims before we robbed, raped and ate their squaws. Capitalism ain’t supposed to be about getting away with screwing the neighbor’s tattooed wife before the husband actually catches you between his dirty linens. Equal rights ain’t supposed to be only for the people who don’t give you indigestion, or are agreeable to your distasteful palate. Religion ain’t supposed to be about beating your women, stoning blasphemy and condemning non-kosher pigs.
We aren’t supposed to be distracting folks about heaven when they’re already living in misanthropic hell.
Hmm… But of course. If it wasn’t for mischief, what would man do with all his free time?
The other day my epiphany that sometimes I actually am a better person came after I paid the cobbler to nail a couple of heel taps on my new shoes.
I had a few $10 and $20 bills in my pocket. I thought I gave Huan $10, but he gave me back change of $10, $5 and $1 bills for a three-dollar job. I didn’t think about it until after I stuffed the cash back into my pocket. And strolled out the door.
Then my primitive mind got pestered. So I checked my pockets. And sure enough, busy Huan, always scurrying to satisfy his harried customers, had given me too much.
I know what you are thinking: We all have our price. And had it been much more would I have been seduced? Rationalized that all money is dirty anyway… that all property is theft…
All I can say is: I don’t think so… But I really don’t know – yet. I have often struggled with temptation. But temptation is not so tempting these days.
What I do know is I’ve tried to simplify my views. Life ain’t black and white, but a sin is still a sin. No matter how big or small. Only man seems to differentiate. And that’s simply because we are what we are.
I told Huan he gave too much change. He already knew. “I gave you back the $10, didn’t I?” He knew but was too proud. Or realized too late. Or was just too kind to speak out.
We exchanged the $10 bill for a $1. He was happy, he said, to find an honest man.
“Just don’t tempt me with your daughter,” I said. “We all have our day in the sun.”
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony…