Thursday, August 24, 2017

All that you have is your soul

"Dostoyevsky was right: lie to everyone but yourself. 'The man who lies to himself...cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and others." E.J. Levy, "Of Liars," in After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover The Essays.

One of the six sources of Unitarian Universalism is the "Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love."

"Can you give me some examples of these prophetic men and women," Don asked. "How about Dostoyevsky and Montaigne,: I replied.

"Who," said Don?

"Dostoyevsky and Montaigne," I said again insistently.

"Never heard of them," said Don, "and they sound like foreigners."

"They were," said I, "a Russian and a Frenchman."

"True Americans are supposed to hate both, aren't we," asked Don seriously.
"The Russians, I was told as a kid, might drop an atomic bomb on us at any minute, and we changed the name of French Fries, to Freedom Fries back when France wouldn't support our war with Iraq."

"Yeah, we've been told to fear and hate all kinds of people. The names change but the tool is the same. Now we're suppose to fear Mexicans and Muslims, and whoever else fits Trump's purposes, because these boogeymen appeal to his base. Got him enough votes to win the Presidency."

"I like Trump. I voted for him," said Don. "He's the only politician who says what he means and means what he says. You don't get any double talk from him."

"He lies," I said, "to protect himself and rile people up. His lies are losing him respect here at home and around the world, and I believe that he is even losing respect for himself."

"Are you kidding," said Don, "Trump loves himself more than anything. That's all he talks about is how great he is and how the media and the congress pick on him. He seems to have more self love than anybody I know."

"He doesn't appear to practice our UU second principle, justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. He does the opposite promoting America first, and bragging about getting the best deal, and stigmatizing people he tells citizens want to harm them so he can protect them."

"Well," said Don, "this conversation is unproductive as far as I am concerned and I've got to go."

"Be well," I said, "and remember don't lie to yourself, because all that you've got is your soul."

"Fuck you," said Don laughing as he walked off.


  1. Thanks! Made me laugh. I know alot of Don's and find them hard to deal with, but I love them anyway. Doesn't our UU faith call us to be patient sometimes with idiots?

    1. And we are surrounded by them aren't we? At least enough of them to elect him president and attend his rallies and stroke his ego.

      Lying has become the new national norm. Everyone has come to expect it and we make excuses for the politicians who do it and the suckers who believe the con.

      Time for people of honesty and integrity to realize and stand up to the observation that liars are running our country and millions of our fellow citizens think not only this okay, but is refreshing in its arrogant, brash, and glibe tone.

      Snark and cynicism have taken over our society insidiously, and now we are paying the price in a failing government which is based on corruption and deception.

      It is interesting that no UU value asks us to be honest, genuine, sincere and not to bear false witness. I wonder how this ever got left out of our fundamental UU values?

  2. Who do UUs see as "prophetic men and women?" Is there a list like the Catholics have their saints?

    1. The UUs like to point to the transcendentalists like Thoreau and Emerson. They also love the poet, Mary Oliver for some reason. Outside of that we could point to some of the modern preachers like Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Rev. Galen Guengrich, Rev. Michael Schuler, Robert Fulghum, etc. Other favorites would be Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other local heroes who do not have national reputations. One of my prophetic witnesses is my father who had the most integrity of any one I know. He was known as a "straight arrow." Most people loved him, but he intimidated some with his honesty and incorruptibility. It was often said that he could have been a great political leader but he was too honest.

  3. In Letter II from Seneca, Seneca writes: "You do not tear from place to place to unsettle yourself with one move after another. Restlessness of that sort is symptomatic of a sick mind. Nothing, to my way of thinking, is better proof of a well ordered mind that a man's ability to stop where he is and pass some time in his own company." As soon as I read this I thought of poor President Trump who rants and rails and tweets at all hours of the early morning and castigates shadows he sees as enemies. He seems to created such a hell for himself and I wonder if he ever stops where he is and passes some time in his own company? Due to the narcissism from which he suffers he demands the stimulation of constant attention even if negative. I bring this up because I think Seneca is one of the prophetic men whom UUs can do to for wisdom.

  4. The narrator in the story above is a wise person as he draws upon the values and ideas of Dostoyevski and Montaigne. It could be said that we all are liars because almost all of us avoid the truth and struggle to avoid the love of God. We are too ashamed to admit that in our willfullness we have rejected God's authorship preferring to believe that we have the power to author our own truths. This belief, this assumption in our autonomy away from our creator leads to the hell of our own making. Noe one demonstrates this with more drama that Donald Trump and his followers. Humility and a willingness to ask for help from our Higher Power is the path to peace, joy, and bliss. Would that Don and like minded people come to their senses but it seems unlikely in this life time. However, the narrator is hastening the passage of time to the Atonement for which we can be grateful. The narrator is a prophet whom the UUs can admire.