It would be incorrect to say that I do not believe that obedience has its place. It does. However, it depends upon who it is that is demanding from you your acquiescence. It also depends what their intentions are. As is said – the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Pure motivation relies on one’s intuition – when to do what one has been told, and when not to. Unless you trust implicitly those that give you instructions, do not ever act on an imperative without thinking it through for yourself. When you can feel that an instruction has your best interests at heart you can act freely, according to your betters’ suggestions, without questioning your integrity. That is a luxurious position in which to be. As is understanding that the word ‘welfare’ is not synonymous with the word ‘charity’.
Children are motivated by the tone in your voice, not by the words you use. They can hear when you honestly mean something and when you don’t, so when you don’t mean something don’t say it unless for some reason it becomes necessary for your child to hear you lie. That may happen purely so they can discern a lie from the truth. Like if you have nothing to compare something to you cannot state categorically whether a thing is one way or another. It is best to be able to state any truth categorically. I do not see the point in illuminating a truth with grey areas? The reason for this is to ensure that the ‘cycle of Life’ with which we are familiar now becomes a framework – a firm foundation – upon which we can all build without the mistrust that has thwarted every successive attempt at transcendence.
I suspect the Catholics had a very serious reason for their ubiquitous statement: ‘thou shalt obey’. Unfortunately, for some, the mere mention of the word ‘obey’ rankles – and deeply. Those are usually people who have once trusted – and obeyed – those giving them instructions only to discover on the other side that ‘obedience’ was used for the purposes of oppression, or abuse. I understand and would accept an imperative, for example, like: Do this or you could die (and let’s not split hairs). I would not accept an order which translates into: Do this because if you don’t I will keep kicking you in the head until you are dead. That is not the way to motivate obedience. In fact, that is probably one of the fastest ways to incite defiance. But then, perhaps defiance is a new-age obedience? I guess it depends on who it is that is saying what, and to whom it is that they are speaking.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to laws. The first – that laws are made to be broken, and the second – that laws were made by man, for man, and as such they must be obeyed. Law-abiding citizens is what the system is after, and it cannot be blamed for that. In a world of seven-odd billion people, what else can hold the masses in check?
Outlaws seem preferable to inlaws in today’s world. Inlaws bring friction, oftentimes, to life. There are too many of them. That is perhaps because marriage has outlived its purpose. This is not bad news. It is good news. It means that there is something valuable in the institution. It has survived itself. Its framework works for many and its infrastructure supports many happy families. This does not mean that marriage is the be-all and end-all, though. It depends on what you believe about unity.
Laws are needed if the world is to make anything worthwhile of its criminals. Everywhere has criminals. This is not out of balance. It gives the laws something to do. The thing about laws, is that the punishments meted out for lawlessness should not only be relevant to the crime committed, they should be serious enough to deter the criminal from ever reoffending. In the first instance, however, lawlessness must be properly defined. It is a broad term. Gayness, for instance, is not lawlessness. Neither is genetic manipulation nor poisoning the environment. It’s a strange world, this.
Ignorance is a choice. As is refusing to believe a fact when it is irrefutable. Fortunately facts abound in our world. They provide stability, a framework. Lay-people should not be so afraid of them, they are tried and tested – each one. Facts can be relied upon. They are there for you to use, so use them wisely. It is pointless ignoring them. That is choosing to be stupid. No one should choose to be stupid. Ignorant is not the same as stupid. There is a marked difference. Ignorance is curable. Stupidity is often terminal.
Should you currently find yourself in challenging circumstances do not plead ignorance as to the whys or whens of these tricky situations. You have brought them to yourself. They have arrived because you needed to learn something new. It is simpler to accept lessons when they come, trust that there is a reason. Lessons occasionally bend you out of shape. They push your boundaries. This is not a problem. Stretching through learning is worth every squeak and groan of the expanding infrastructure in your mind. When you begin to eradicate your ignorance through deliberate effort you will find that your life opens up immeasurably. You will find that you start to care more about the world in which you live because you understand it better.
Educate your children. Then teach them to have patience with ignorance. There are a lot of ignorant people on this planet and the children are the ones who are going to have to remedy this situation. It is the next generation that is going to carry that load. As a people we should think more about what we are consigning to our kids. The society they are set to inherit is not looking good. It is going to take a monumental effort on the part of those currently in power to make this different. One would hope that those currently in power understand their responsibility.