Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

My Photo
Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sin; Assertions of superiority are admissions of lack and need.

SIN: in addition to having no other gods “before” Jehovah, or Yaway, no graven images to bow down to, no impious oaths, to keeping the Sabbath “holy” and honored like one’s father and mother, and to not murdering, indulging in adultery, stealing, bearing false witness or greedily coveting, we have some new rules. Religion teaches one to avoid gluttony, pride, fornication, cheating, mischief making, deceit, sowing discord, stinginess, extortion, envy, irascible wrath, boasting and dejected sloth. So, don’t be idolatrous or idle, lie, steal, over-indulge or indulge in murder, lust, hate, envy or pride. Be honest, temperate, charitable, diligent, humble, kind and forgiving.
That used to be enough. Unnecessary travel wasn’t a sin, but now it is: an irresponsible, wasteful avoidance of duty. Desecration isn’t listed as one of the deadly ones, but is generally regarded as horrible anyway. Sullen, pouty obstinacy that refuses discourse while pretending to it, is another modern sin, like anti-ecological habits (unnecessary travel, littering and other bad garbage habits, killing members of rare species, bathing in the drinking water). So is racism and other forms of generic hatred (you can still dislike individuals, though).
A viable definition of sin could be, putting pride before the safety of others. That doesn’t really cover gluttony, maybe, or envy or sloth, not directly anyway, but does relate to anticipatable results of those sins. Pride certainly can be dangerous, and not only to others, but to the self (see envy, gluttony and sloth…). And then there’s looking like hell, or being grumpy. Bad form. Don’t do it, no matter how you feel. Or you won’t be popular.

Of course, money is now out greatest God and celebrity what we bow down to. Memes on Facebook explain that those who cuss the most profanely are the most honest, “Sabbath” days depend on what “religion” you are and what your job is, and government, our surrogate father and mother, demands that we lie for the sake of efficiency (or so as not to be a square peg in a round hole), kill by proxy or, if in uniform, for our “security” (!) and play miserable political games the like of which have made it so that all that we have was stolen (after being coveted), with those enjoying the benefits of that theft regarded as of the first rank, while descendants of those stolen from the most egregiously exist as of but second or third rank. We’re taught that it’s our duty to consume, and if these realities don’t make you feel somewhat dejected, you have no soul.

So - since we've already neglected to smash the state, let's not forget to consume. It'll make you feel better.

We all decide what, and who, is worth more or less time and energy, depending upon what might be expected from the time invested, and so judge greater and lesser worth. But to make a decision and to proclaim one’s worth are somewhat different, insofar as a decision in action alone is often more readily and easily changed than a proclamation, and less easily judged to be in error. The less obvious the assertion, the less risk. The assertion only has the advantage that it might deceive, with the result of undeserved gain. So the decision to assert is a kind of gamble generally made from lack of better options. Bluster is often used to disguise weaknesses, a gamble which does sometimes succeed, even among animals. But others who gamble (and survive) learn to recognize it for what it is.
The USA’s expansionist doctrine of “Manifest Destiny” (1845) was but the kind of bluster its efforts towards global empire are today, ineffectively hiding reliance upon those stolen from. Superior weaponry wasn’t just bluster, although it did prove to be in Vietnam and seems to be again proving so in Afghanistan. But the costs of oppression have hardly been sufficiently analyzed, as is equally the case with the newly even more powerful force of money.

We need to better recognize that we are not alone, our decisions are not only about us (or the self), and that to be totally alone (without the benefit of the wisdom of others, even very different others) is a kind of hell.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home