Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Day of Judgement Comes

There is a part of us that does not want to be governed. This is as true of us as individuals as it is for every group that is a function of our communal experience. The discipline that the operation of the common good among us demands is an unflagging inconvenience for that part of us, and for those among us who seek to satisfy their basest instincts at the expense of the potential for a healthy individual and communal experience.

The basic tenets of any well organized and prosperous social unit are expressed in values of mutual respect, a healthy regard for justice, and mechanisms for protecting each and every person from the disgusting excesses of the unconscionable among us. Societies and individuals that disregard these tenets are inevitably headed for their own doom. They may flaunt their ill-conceived and ill-gotten wealth and influences for a while, but eventually they all come tumbling down to their final resting place - the garbage heap of History.

Many among us live to scratch the unnerving itch that is the demand for self-satisfaction. The soothing of ourselves becomes in and of itself the number one preoccupation of our lives; we do so at the expense of our own existential integrity, and to the detriment of any and all who we come to see as obstacles in the way of our own comfort. Self-soothing becomes our raison-d'etre, and Selfishness our creed. To these ends we accumulate wealth and influence by any means we can. We cultivate a terrifying disregard for the ambitions and well-being of others. We devise and articulate in our behaviors a crassness that makes reasonable people scratch their heads. And we build alliances with those whose insecurities are compatible with ours.

Spiritual philosophers like the apostle Paul talk about the above tendencies and behaviors as "living by the flesh"; and he goes on to project that this way of being leads to destruction... self-destruction, and the ultimate failing of all the structures built to support this way of life. I agree with Paul. The well regarded advice that we should do to others as we would have them do to us is well taken. The other side of that coinage is that ultimately we do to ourselves what we do to others. We would do well to heed the wisdom inherent in this commandment. It applies equally to kings and peasants. Justice calls us to do right by each other. The Righteous Judge is no respecter of persons.

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