Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, January 16, 2017

The shadow or the tree ?

“The Seven Social Sins are:

Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.
 This is an excerpt from a sermon by Frederick Lewis Donaldson concerning a mans' character.  

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  Martin Luther King

Each of these men spoke of character. The first defining just what he felt character to be and the later calling for the implementation of those values. Interesting to note is that Donaldson called them the Seven Social Sins and Dr. King was a Reverend. Had the good Dr. read that sermon before writing his own speech ? It is completely possible, indeed, I would say likely. Dr. King was addressing the African-American community wasn't he ? Of course he was, he is their champion. He was a champion of character. A man to be admired for his courage and convictions. Today we have a holiday to celebrate his life. His most well known speech is the " Dream " speech. Given on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in the summer of 1963 it was his call to action. If you listen or read the words of that speech you realize it is character that he was addressing. Yes, he acknowledged all the injustice to his " people " the negroes. He called for a peaceful protest, a protest fought with moral fortitude, not with violence.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it ; the tree is the real thing.  Abraham Lincoln.

In thinking about this I can't help but think of what reputation the African-American in America has garnered for himself. It is a shadow, dark and menacing. It is not the tree. And isn't that also what Dr. King was talking about ? The content of your character, not the color of your skin entitles you. Donaldson wasn't speaking of the Negro, he was speaking to all mankind. Dr. King was focused upon the injustice he saw before him, his people. But he wasn't just addressing his people he was also speaking to all men. What he was saying was the same message as Donaldson. Each spoke of the character required to obtain domestic tranquility. What exactly is domestic tranquility ? Mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution I'd say it was of primary importance. The purpose of government is to ensure domestic tranquility. Simply stated, for all of us to just get along with one another. That can only be achieved when the " seven social sins " are avoided. These sins apply to everyone in the society, Yes, everyone. And on this day, when we are all to remember Dr. King and his message we should consider what he said, about the content of our character. The character of a nation is a reflection of the character of its' citizens.
 Let's review those seven sins.
1. wealth without work. That is an easy one isn't it ? We excuse it by substituting the word charity and when we become uncomfortable with that, we label it a social obligation.
2. Pleasure without conscience. If it feels good and doesn't hurt anyone else, it's fine. That is the only measure of morality we need be concerned with.
3. Knowledge without character. Knowing all these things but failing to act upon them.
4. Commerce without morality. As long as we make a profit it is okay ! We will figure a way to justify it. Perhaps it has a " medicinal " use ? Or the ever popular, a portion of the proceeds will go to the children. Old people and animals are great excuses as well.
5. Science without humanity. Unwanted/unexpected children, just terminate them. After all, we could always use the " parts " for research or sell them to the needy.
6. Worship without sacrifice. No need to attend services and sacrifice your precious time. No need to openly confess your spirituality or belief in God and expose yourself to ridicule. You can always refer to science to justify that. And if we do attend services we will go as celebrants, not supplicants. In that way we go forth with pride not as humble servants. Why that is just humiliation isn't it ?
7. Politics without principle. Say or do whatever is necessary to get elected. Once elected just blame  your constituents for any decision you make that may be unpopular. In that way displaying your " principles " of integrity. I was elected to do the bidding of the electorate ! I don't care about my principles, I mean, I do, but I don't. 
 I believe you would have to agree that all these things are present in our society today. Truth is, they always have been. It is just troubling when I see the moral compass swinging wildly about. It is impossible to judge the direction we are headed. In years past the destination was clear. That isn't to say we weren't struggling to stay on course, we certainly did. We even had a civil war about that ! And now I fear I see a change in direction. Are we moving to the " dark " side ? Are we looking at the shadow or the tree ?