The feeling we have here — remember it, take it home and do some good with it. I’ll leave you with this: Please, be kind.
–Mickey Hart, drummer, Grateful Dead
So many folks that I talk with – particularly non-Pagans – do not really understand the way my morality works within my life. Mickey Hart’s quote from the closing of the July 5th concert in Chicago with the Grateful Dead sums it up very neatly. There are plenty of other ways to phrase it — Google’s corporate slogan of “Don’t be Evil”, the often mentioned “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” from the Christian Bible (among other places) — but its not the phrasing that matters. Its the actions that are built off of the slogans that matters more. Its how one comports themselves that is the essence of all of this.
In a conversation with a Christian friend, I was asked where I get my “authority” from. In simpler concept and logic – the question was asking where I get my reasoning of what is right and what is wrong. I grew up within the Catholic parochial school system, so much of what I learned of what is right and wrong comes from Christian teachings. Which is not a bad place to start, once you strip all the monotheistic trappings from it. Well, for a Pagan like me, stripping off the monotheism is a good start – for a Christian, its a necessary component. But that’s aside from the point.
Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. Tell the truth. All basic aspects of societal ethical bedrock. But I add to that. Let people love who they love. Let people be who they are. Accept people under these basic personal truths, even when they are different from your own. Now, once I added these to my statement – the challenges began. What about pedophilia? What about people who just want to kill others without compunction?
What I had perceived as a conversation was starting to take a turn towards debate and argument, which is territory I do not care to traverse. A conversation has two participants wanting to gain knowledge. Debates and arguments have numerous participants all wanting to “win” the point. But I did my best to answer anyways before I shut things down. There are legal aspects that have to be brought into play. Up until recently, the legal aspects of the government here in the state of Texas was that same-sex marriage was not allowed. As much as I would have loved to see people marry who they wanted to, it just was not going to happen. Now that law has changed, and I am happy that this can happen — for the most part. But that’s a point for another time and *maybe* another blog post.
I see a lot of “not kind” postings around Facebook and other social media sites. I have theories on why people are so much braver in insulting people over the internet rather than to their faces. But now, I am delving into some social theories. The true point is that we no longer seem to consider the idea of “being kind” to others. I am just as guilty of that as anyone else. I have said things via Email, Chat and Facebook comments that I would never have said to someone’s face. The distance between myself and the other individual was quite great. And when I was using an alias rather than my real name on Facebook – the anonymity provided the girding of my loins for that fake battle.
I’m nearly fifty years old. Just another couple of months, and I will be there. My spirituality plays a much larger role in my life now than it ever has before. For whatever reason. But my spirituality is built around my personal ethos of treating people as I would prefer to be treated. Add to that, “be kind”…and I am really looking to have meaningful conversations with people that amount to learning, enjoying, and experiencing one another’s company. Yeah, maybe I am getting old and mellowing out in my old age…in fact, I believe that may just be the case. And if it is…so what? Just be kind when you make fun of my perspective, alright? ;)~