Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"don't lie"

Most religious and many secular organizations pay some homage to the encouragement, "don't lie." The encouragement is variously observed, but it is one encouragement.

Death, like lies, is variously observed in religious and secular settings. From gloomy to giggling to glorious, it is variously observed and I don't mean to make light of it, but did it ever cross anyone else's mind ....

Death, as one marker in life, is just an excuse for others to start lying about you.

Consider Jesus or Gautama or Mohammed. Granted, these were pretty high-profile guys, guys with more stature than you or me, but still, I think the principle is the same: Drop dead and the lies begin because the dead person is no longer around to correct or despair of or even wallow in the observations.

Would Jesus or Gautama or Mohammed really be willing -- if they were alive today -- to shoulder all of the accolades or opprobrium or shiny organizational building blocks that named them as inventors? Would they take that responsibility and embrace their complicity? Wouldn't that be more than any sane man would shoulder? Where would the room be to pick their noses or laugh at a good joke or snore or eyeball a hot chick at some local watering hole?

By what right or reality does death confer the smooth and soothing willingness to lock these men -- or any others -- up in a jail cell of convenience and convention? Wouldn't that be a death beyond death -- a denial of life ... and a lie?

And what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: No need to be a high-profile spiritual leader or a villainous dictator. Uncle Howard and Aunt Minnie, once dead, suffer a similar fate, however benevolent and healing the intention and however limited their tableaux: Lock 'em up and throw away the key. These were "good" people or "famous" or "benevolent" or "evil" or ... well, there is no end to the shaping lies that limit a life that lacked any such limits. Most of us will suffer such a fate in very limited ways -- ways limited to family and friends and enemies.

Is there a truth anywhere that cannot and will not encourage the plumage of a lie? I doubt it. So I guess the best anyone can do when observing the encouragement "don't lie" is to acknowledge the lies they are bound to tell. Lies, like death, are not simply harmful or spooky, they are also just an aspect of life. Acknowledge, yes.

But don't fret too much: Life has a way of coming around to bite the liar on the ass. Consider the fate of guys like Jesus or Gautama or Mohammed. Consider the jail cells of applause or catcalls. Would you want anyone lying about you that way?

Isn't your life more interesting than that?

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