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I’m not a person who delights in pointing his finger at others. By and large, I’m happy to leave their failings and idiosyncracies for them to deal with themselves. After all I have more than enough of my own. Pointed fingers can easily point straight back.
Also, it seems to me that if I started to focus on shortcomings of those around me there would be no stopping. It could easily become a full time job. I’ve known in my time a few people who seemed to operate like that, quick to judge and slow to understand or forgive. They were not people I wanted to spend much time with.
So far what I’m writing seems to be in tune with the spirit of our times. Most of us hesitate, don’t we, before we challenge the behaviour or attitudes of others. Especially if that challenge is based on anything resembling a moral absolute. Those things are definitely out of fashion. Live and let live. If it’s right for them, who are we to criticise? We snigger at the concept of sin. Outdated superstition. Nonsense from another age that is no longer relevant. Most of our role models tend to focus on self actualisation, or perhaps less kindly, self gratification. Anything goes. It is after all, ‘all about you’ isn’t it?

But I am actually quite radically out of tune with this spirit.

I don’t believe avoiding self righteous attitudes needs to go hand in hand with abandoning moral absolutes. This is one of the sucker arguments our culture sells quite successfully.
A couple of nights ago I was watching a TV documentary about the history of the Bible (yes, maybe I need to get out more). A passer by was being interviewed about her views on the Ten Commandments as a guide for life. The blank look was followed by a sneering patronising tone as she dismissed the relevance of such stuff to her life. She thought the Commandments were about controlling and repressing people. Live and let live, she thought. She isn’t the only one, it seems, to have bought the argument that clinging to absolutes may be potentially even abusive.

Is any behaviour really ok as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else? (Another sucker argument). I’m not hurting anyone by doing this. it’s my choice. How dare you try to tell me it’s wrong!
What is really being said here is: “I want to do what I want to do, and I do not like being told that I might be wrong in doing so”.

Life is complicated. Who am I to know enough to condemn someone? I am not equipped to judge. I have just learned in my own way (the hard way) that some roads lead to predictable destinations. The moral absolutes in my life have not damaged me or those around me. Neither are they there for me to use as a weapon to bludgeon or belittle others. They are a gift, and when I remember to listen to them, they keep me out of trouble and help me be the person I was meant to be.
A deal too good to refuse I think. I won’t be throwing them away any time soon. My own desire to self actualise, self gratify, and ultimately self destruct, is strong, and all too ready to get going at a moment’s notice, at others’ expense.

I thought I would finish with an experimental metaphor. It is an unusual one, being written as a bare, short scripted dialog. I hope it makes sense. It sort of rounds off my thoughts on this topic:

It’s Love’s Illusions I Recall

. . . Conversations between Fools

Act 1

The Dream

Her
I’ll always love you. Love is everything. Nothing else matters.
Him
We shouldn’t let this get out of hand.
Her
It already is. I can’t imagine ever getting over this.

…………………………………………….

Him
When I’m with you, it seems so right.
Her
I live for when I see you
……………………………………………..

Him
But the kids! How can we do this to them!
Her
Kids are resilient. They’ll adapt.
Him
Do you ever think about what we’re doing? It’s adultery.
Her
Adultery? Is that what they still call it? . . . What’s important is to be true to yourself. Follow your heart. That’s the most important thing.
Him
But this will hurt too many people. It has to finish. We can’t continue.
Her
Think about this. We have years of life together to look forward to. Let’s not waste the chance. How do you want to be remembered? As someone who followed their heart, or as someone who lived in a loveless marriage?
Him
I want so much to be with you. If only it were possible.

……………………………………………..

Act 2

The Nightmare

A new beginning built on betrayal and grief. (All for the greater end of love).

……………………………………………..

Act 3

Illusions Unmasked

Her
There’s no rush. We don’t have to rush things.
Him
I hate this. We’re going nowhere. Just drifting without purpose. How can you stand it?
Her
What’s wrong with drifting? Why can’t we just do that? Why does there have to be anything more?
Him
Please marry me.
Her
I can’t
Him
Why not?
Her
My children. I have to consider them.
Him
But I don’t understand. You said you loved me. You said kids were resilient. I thought we’d be together.
Her
Don’t be silly. Nothing is forever.

………………………………………………………………………

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