Tuesday, 20 December 2005


"Money is the root - "
(Half a quote is a great way
to avoid the truth.)

It sounds so different from the whole quote: "Money is the root of all evil". We do this a lot, editing our truths so that we only have to see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and then pat ourselves on the back for getting it all so right. My two favourite examples are from the two religions that most influence my life.

One is the justification of multiple wives in Islam. "Have wives if you can treat them all equally and love them all equally - " is the bit that polygamous men latch on to. They forget that this line continues: BUT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DO SO (i.e. love and treat them equally). In other words, DON'T. I'm reminded of a colleague who would zoom across junctions saying cheerfully, "What red light, officer?"

The second example is from the Bible. It sounds like a lovely sentiment: "Love thy neighbour - " but it seems to have become a catchphrase for people to justify codependency, and to negate the self, which is so soul-destroying. I think one's soul has to be full, overflowing with lifejoy before one can be a Jesus or a Mother Teresa or a saint. They didn't operate out of obligation or guilt. They were neither satiated nor deprived: they were at peace. Content. Satisfied.

And so when we're busy driving ourselves into the ground trying to play the martyr, we're doing the exact opposite of what that message is trying to tell us - Love thy neighbour AS THYSELF. We deserve as much care and respect as the other people in our life. God knows it, even if we don't.

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