Taboo's Junk Trunk: A Storage Dump for Taboo's Random Literary and Cultural Blatherments
The Untouchable Taboo
Published on February 7, 2006 By TaBoo Tenente In Misc
Sometimes you get to a place in your life where all those assumptions--what is right, what is wrong--must be called into question.

You leave your parents. You leave your home town. You learn something about a loved one that you didn't want to hear. The foundations of your life move farther and farther away, and now YOU must make your way forward, or not. You must find a way to do what is right. Or not. In your isolation, you are Untouchable. No one else shares responsibility with you. No one takes your part.

The hardest part is the weeding that you must do. You must weed through what your parents told you was right; you must weed through your apprehension of punishment, searching yourself for what it is that you believe. Year by year, you grow less assailable. Fewer and fewer people can legitimately hold you accountable for your actions. Is there a god? Perhaps your god holds you accountable for your actions. The Testaments brim with "do theses" and "don't do thoses," all the while suggesting that humanity itself is incapable of determining right from wrong on its own.

None of that changes this simple fact: confronted with a choice, when deciding right from wrong, you stand alone, by yourself, with only your reason, your heart, your soul, your desire to guide you.

For some time now, for various reasons of heart and soul and desire, I have wanted to write down My Rules. Let's suppose for the moment that there is a right, and there is a wrong. Let's suppose I can figure out the difference. At a moment of choice, if I knew the Truth, if I knew what was right, what was wrong, would I choose to do what was right?

Sometimes, I imagine. Even most of the time, perhaps. If always I knew the difference, then I would no longer have the best of all excuses: there is no right decision. Both are evil. Everything is nothing but a shade of grey.

But if I knew the right and the wrong, always, if always I knew the difference, then I would still choose wrong, if only some of the time.

My Rules--as they currently exist as a flow of blood from my heart to my gut to my brain, and into bone and muscle and action--aren't really Truths. They are compromises between what I believe at a given moment, and what I want to believe.

Goethe wrote, "I've never heard of a crime that I could not imagine committing myself."

This is a strange Truth--it frightens us to think that, given a circumstance, we might have the same capacity to create harm as those people throughout history who we deem abhorrent, evil, Untouchable.

It is easier to believe that we are innocent of others' wrongdoings. It is a seductive fantasy to believe we are innocent until proven guilty. I don't want to make a case that we shouldn't be accountable for their actions. We are, not only legally, not only socially, but mostly in the way our actions condemn us to our own short, small lives. What other punishment could be worse?

When choosing between right and wrong, sometimes the decision appears to be a simple one. Usually the choice is complex, and always produces ripples of consequence that play out through space and time.

Consider these abstract "right" choices: faith, honesty, self-sacrifice, patience, love. Suppose you make a choice that stems from faith; a choice for the sake of maintaining integrity; for another human being through an act of self-sacrifice; or if you fight despair with patience; or if you combat isolation and envy and anger with love--suppose those are your Rules, then what happens when they conflict with each other?

In the name of faith or fear, it is written that Abraham intended to sacrifice his son. Was his intent to sacrifice enabled by his faith that, in the end, his benevolent god would prevent the death? Did his faith demand that the sacrifice was due, that he owed his god? In the face of this sort of faith, what good is honesty? What if he had sacrificed himself? And what is the meaning of love, if he loves his son, he loves his god, and somehow one love inevitably shadows the other? Gradations of love? Shades of love?

Who is wise enough to see the right path, when the honest core of your heart tells you that you love someone you should not? Is it Right to sacrifice Self and Honesty, to give up your Truth, to withhold your honest word in order to preserve Order? If you love someone, and you shouldn't, will you speak or remain silent?

You can't withhold. You can't act. And you can't shut it down. Nothing answers the pain. Nothing helps, not work, not breath, not the Lie, not the Truth. Every Book of Rules you compose inside your heart dissolves endlessly into dust, and you keep thinking that you can hold on to things that feel right if you don't forget them. But everything that ever meant anything to you, you lose, because you cannot choose.

My Book of Rules has dwindled down to two: honesty and hope. Without honesty, everything turns to corruption. And hope's alternative is too abhorrent--it is unacceptable.

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on Feb 07, 2006
In this decadent 21st Century, Hope is the opiate of the masses. May we all be fortunate enough to never sober up.
on Feb 07, 2006
funny: nice to hear from you, carbuncle.

ever seen this?

not sure it will show up, but so it goes.

i wonder: if hope is the opiate of the masses these days, then maybe hope needs a facelift. these days, maybe hope means "self-reliance" or "self-sufficiency" or maybe just Self. if you can't help your brother, why bother trying? there's hope in impotence: "if i cant do anything, then im not responsible. if im not responsible, then why worry? i can spend a few more days gazing at my olsen twins posters and my conscience is clean."

sweet, dude.

on Feb 07, 2006
I liked this.
on Feb 07, 2006
thank you, xtine.