Sunday, November 2, 2014

Faithlessness of our Fathers

Attesting to our faith becomes a test of ourselves; the manner in which we choose to demonstrate what we believe, and the conviction with which these beliefs are held in the face of adversity define our values and our lives.  The task of living rather than verbally espousing faith challenges every individual's integrity as far as they are true to themselves; but also provides a method to infuse life with meaning and purpose.

Faith is easily hollowed rather than hallowed; the course of sloth and pride lead to advocating virtue to others while avoiding it ourselves.  The most grievous sins seem to be those in which others indulge; while our own, though regrettable, carry less of an affront to nature.  Thus, the obligation of witnessing devolves into denunciation, erecting barriers between people designated "good" and "evil".  Condemning others often leads to a spiritual blindness, the intoxication of self righteousness numbing senses to shortcomings much closer to home.  Energy devoted to exposing failure in others becomes paramount; self improvement resources are greatly diminished and deemed of secondary importance.

Faith serves best when it compels action within, rather than censure without; the most effective method of changing the environment  involves expending moral capital upon ourselves.  There is little enough power allotted to mold the person over which we have the most control, ourselves, to afford us the luxury of changing others.  We suppose that, in our wisdom, we can best choose the course of neighbors when navigating our own way is job enough for many lifetimes.  Perhaps it is the distraction of judging others that we use to hide from our own responsibilities; much more pleasant to focus on anything but the primary task at hand.

The worst aspect of castigation lies in its role in moral erosion; indulging in the debasement of others saps the will to create positive change, and leads to a degradation of faith.  Raising self can't come at the expense of lowering others; in the end, all become dragged down.  Aiding others by a demonstration of virtue is far more instructive, if far more difficult; but it is the effort that makes the task worthwhile.  By effecting self improvement we not only show the strength of our convictions, but infuse ourselves with the virtue we claim to value.

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Marked by Cain

Reign of blows has washed away the corpse of Abel,
Cain is now the king in every Babel


His blood cries out from the ground, and our silence is deafening.  The noise of babel rises up in an attempt to obscure the calls for justice; and with it, the sound of gunfire and the ring of truncheons.

This has become the backdrop to the lives of this land; this resonates across the cities and towns with deadly echoes; this violence and murder plays in the daily soundtrack that accompanies us throughout these times of contention and fear.

We clamp our hands upon our ears, and sing ever louder to deaden the horrific bedlam we have composed, and hope that by ignoring the lamentations they will cease.  There can be no respite, however, no relief from the slaughter symphony program selected for performance; the chorus and musicians drone on as their hire demands.  The tune called, the piper paid in wages of brutality; the song remains the same.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Fear, cowardice and race

The truth can't hurt you, it's just like the dark
It scares you witless
But in time you see things clear and stark
e. costello

Is fearing for one's life or safety a valid justification for the use of force against another individual?  Th assessment of the fear's validity and the appropriate response must  outweigh the power of dread and the convenience of cowardice, or tragedy will surely follow.

Fear is a primary and forceful motivator.  It can lead one through difficult and dangerous decisions;
pushing an individual beyond perceived boundaries and limitations,  The sheer power of fear, however, can also overwhelm conscious thought, and personal conscience; leading to destructive and self defeating behaviors.

Fear, in itself, is neither good nor evil, rather, it is one's mode of coping with this emotion that is either commendable or deplorable.  While most find some pleasurable excitement stimulating, unbridled and unmitigated fear is both deeply unpleasant, and detrimental to daily life.  Finding an effective strategy  to deal with the kinds of apprehension that populate social interaction is crucial; especially when it is being used by unscrupulous emotional manipulators.  For when cowardice infects fear, hate easily festers and quickly poisons its unhappy host.

Whereas fear often springs up spontaneously, marketable hatred must be carefully cultivated if it is to bear its bitter by-products.  Training someone to deny their responsibility in managing their fear requires both a pandering to pride and an appeal to ignorance.

First, comes the denial of the source of fear; it must be cloaked with a rationalization to hide its true nature.  Thus, the dread that surfaces when one views a face of a different hue arises from a supposed knowledge of the criminal and immoral nature of such individuals; not from a prejudice gleaned from years of superficial  media depictions of such groups as less than fully human.

With such willful ignorance fully embraced, hating easily becomes a moral obligation, rather than a personal indulgence; and empathy and compassion morph into deplorable vices.  To view people outside of such preconceived notions is seen as tantamount to the appeasement of evil; an inability to "face facts" concerning the "true nature" of the individuals in question.  Lacking the personal courage to objectively analyze one's own feelings and motives allows cowardice to dictate action, and vindictive and punitive measures take the form of reasonable responses.  Seeking to banish fear by wielding hate and violence leads inexorably to more fear; for without an understanding of the source of dread, its power only grows.

If one cannot face the truth about himself, the capacity for realistic evaluation of others diminishes.  A starting point for self awareness hinges upon recognizing unpleasant realities that exist within us; otherwise, the tendency to project these abhorred tendencies to others becomes a threat.
It is the face in the mirror that should inspire the greater fear; for ignorance of ourselves poses a danger immediate and destructive, and this can not be segregated away.