I’ve had a great deal of time to think about character in the past three years. Observing others. Examining my own. Trying to impart some good upon those around me, big and small.
I’ve come to two conclusions; that our outrage is just contextual, and we should be less “Incredulous” in how we see and deal with others. And the second is that errors make for improvement, if taken the right way. One can even learn from others mistakes. As much as we’re aghast at the latest from (insert offender here- White House, Rap Singer, Reality Star, NFL Cornerback, Millennial Snowflake, etc.) we were probably once the offenders rather than the offended.
- Remember when Elvis shook his hips? That sacrilege is now tame.
- Remember the Beetles making young girls pass out screaming?
- Remember the psychedelic 60’s? It’s now prevalent among Bay Area Founders (the micro-dosing, not the folk singing!)
- Remember when sitting Presidents skipped town when impeachment loomed?
- And, as Billy Joel reminded us, the layers of
Sin is not some demonic thing. It’s just our perverse tendency to fuck things up, to favor the short term over the long term, the lower over the higher. Sin, when it is committed over and over again, hardens into loyalty to a lower love. The danger of sin, in other words, is that it feeds on itself. Small moral compromises on Monday make you more likely to commit other, bigger moral compromises on Tuesday. A person lies to himself and soon can no longer distinguish when he is lying to himself and when he isn’t. Another person is consumed by the sin of self-pity, a passion to be a righteous victim that devours everything around it as surely as anger or greed. People rarely commit the big sins out of the blue. They walk through a series of doors. They have an unchecked problem with anger. They have an unchecked problem with drinking or drugs. They have an unchecked problem of sympathy. Corruption breeds corruption. Sin is the punishment of sin. The final reason sin is a necessary part of our mental furniture is that without it, the whole method of character building dissolves. From time immemorial, people have achieved glory by achieving great external things, but they have built character by struggling against their internal sins. People become solid, stable, and worthy of self-respect because they have defeated or at least struggled with their own demons. If you take away the concept of sin, then you take away the thing the good person struggles against.