Live to Eat
Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?
I eat because my N & D tend to get cross if I don’t (they’re funny like that). But really, I’d much prefer food for thought, which has the added benefit of being free, hands-free, muck-free, and doesn’t need to be cooked. So here’s my fodder for today.
It seems to me that organised religion was a really good idea, once. It set out rules and standards essential for living peaceably together. But humanity is never prepared to leave well-enough alone, and its addiction to intolerance, arrogance, greed and power has ruined what could have been good for us all. Terrible things have been done in the name of religion, and I swear some people must have had rampant tinnitus when they thought they’d heard the call to the ministry.
As for the actual existence of God – any God, whichever one you subscribe to – that subject is taboo on so many levels that even I am not fool enough to go there.
But I’m thinking of starting a campaign to have Love thy neighbour as thyself adopted as a global mantra – message – whatever you like to call it. No religion involved. No religious overtones. (Except for keeping the thys, which I do feel add a certain gravitas.)
When I was at the very unChristian Christian boarding school I’ve mentioned numerous times before, they were very big on Love thy neighbour, but (now how did that happen?) never got around to mentioning as thyself. Presumably the desired result was a generation of women devoted to the service of others which is not in itself an evil thing, but the side effect, intended or not, was that a lot of us staggered out of there with our self-esteem around our ankles.
Which does rather defeat the purpose, when you think about it. Love thy neighbour as thyself is pretty much the same as Do unto others as you would they should do unto you, so if your expectations for yourself are at the bottom of the barrel, you don’t have a very good yardstick for assessing appropriate behaviour towards your neighbour.
All of which is to say that the second part of my mantra is hugely important, and MUST be given just as much respect as the first.
The beauty of this idea is its absolute simplicity. It doesn’t interfere in any way with those whose religion is a positive and important part of their daily lives, but at the same time it embraces unbelievers. And what’s more, it doesn’t discriminate between religions since all of them are fundamentally in agreement about the basic tenets of morality, irrespective of loose cannons who have reinterpreted portions of their particular texts over the millennia to suit their own nefarious purposes.
I mean, think about it. Those five words deal comprehensively with most of the commandments and all of the cardinal sins. If thou art loving thy neighbour as thyself, you’re not going to kill them, nick their goods (or their spouses), tell lies about them, dump your rubbish over their fence, claim their backyard as yours – or anything else that would upset you considerably if they did it to you. That one instruction is applicable from the personal level to the global level, and if followed, would do away with all the nastiness currently plaguing the world. It would simply be getting back to basics: pruning the choked and overgrown rose to allow its true beauty to flourish.
The biggest challenge at present is how to implement my campaign for maximum impact. I did think of skywriting, but the sky is very big and prone to clouds. I also considered worldwide signage: billboards, posters, leaflets, signs in shop windows, cards in telephone boxes etc, but the logistics are quite daunting, telephone boxes are on the way out and it would cost an irresponsible number of trees.
It’s also unfortunate but true that we humans become inured to things very quickly, so flooding the world with anything at all, good or bad, can become counter-productive. Yeah yeah, we say when we see it for the dozenth time, That again, and off it goes like water off the back of a duck already moving on to something that has the lure of novelty.
But I think I’ve finally cracked it. Deliver the message subliminally via television and the internet. Embed it programs and news broadcasts, have Facebook flash it every time you log on (I don’t know how that’s done but I’m sure it’s possible), hide it under the labels of oft-advertised beauty products, etch it on the tyres of factory-fresh cars flitting through studio mud… You think of it, Love thy neighbour as thyself will be there.
Watch this space!