Humans lie. We do it all the time. Doing one thing when instinct tells you to do another is the same as lying. This is what differentiates us from simpler life forms, which mostly decide their actions with instinct alone—driven by the underlying requirement for the survival of the species. They kill to eat, to live and to procreate. They procreate when ever and where ever they can. In contrast (most) humans do not have sex with any willing and attractive person they see, even though there is a strong desire in us to do so. This too is a lie—a denial of the truth.
Humans use other factors to decide on their actions. Some humans choose to kill other humans, even though they must know it is wrong. Do not be too hasty to deride this ability to ignore a call to action from our instinct, as it is the same ability we use to act in an altruistic manner. Sometimes we act against our species’ better judgement, sacrificing the many for the few…or even the one (and sometimes an insignificant one)—with potential alone to achieve for our species.
So the same behavioural traits and thought processes that raise us above less sentient creatures, the ones that make us in to “Gandhi”s or “Mother Teresa”s, are the same ones that can drag us down an make us in to “Hitler”s and “Pol Pot”s.
It seems, at this stage in our evolution or enlightenment, we cannot have one without the other.
I’ve never come across such a perfect use of “voice” in music lyrics as on Augie March’s latest album Watch me disappear. I find it especially inspiring for my own writing. I can’t get the voice from track seven, The Slant, out of my head. Musically the song has a light and airy sound but the story is deep and dark. It is sung from the point of view of an early Australian convict on the Island of Tasmania. In his last moments of life, “strung up” and ”A’resting in the rope” he reflects on his life and the purpose and future of ours and his new country’s.
The song ends:
But did they pave the streets of Hobart town?
Lop the old wood forests down?
For the press of King and Crown.
For Honey…? Milk and honey…?
M y a r s e.
It works on so many levels for me and the ending voice still haunts me. It is so angry, disappointed, and resolved to its fate…yet still defiant—offering a final verbal moon at the world.
For more information on the band Augie March see www.augiemarch.com.au
My eldest son is in his final year of high school and I went with him when he visited a Buddhist temple as part of an assignment for “Study of Religions”. He chose “the Five Senses” as his topic for the assignment and this alone frightened off the “Aussie” monk who’d been assigned to him; she referred him on to someone “higher”.
It was interesting to note that Buddhists don’t have any creation theory, nor believe in a God—of a western definition. Buddha was an actual person and it is the truths he and his followers discovered that are strictly held in reverence. Anyone can become a Buddhist; we all have the Buddha nature inside us but it is often held down by all of the crap we pad out our daily lives with.
I had a thought about the Christian saying “they will know we are Christians by our love” and concluded that they would mistake a Buddhist for a Christian because they actually strive to live their entire lives properly; not just forty-five minutes on a Sunday.
One clear difference to other “religions” is that Buddhists are encouraged to question everything. But these questions are exploratory rather than confrontational. We can only discover truths on our own; they cannot be taught—only learnt (there is a difference).
There are some great blogs out there but sometime you have to trawl a bit before you come across one to keep track of. This list of Australia’s most popular writing blogs are ranked based on data from; Technorati, Google PageRank and Alexa rankings.
Revolutionaries see only the end state. Their minds are rarely big enough to see how the people they hope to save cannot reach this place alone. They have to be carried. It’s like a parable my father once told me about how Jesus carried a man through his most difficult times. We have to be the people’s Jesus if we want them to make it safely from where they have been to where we want them to be.
– The reaction from one of my characters when he sees the devastation inflicted upon the Russian people in the 1920’s.