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11/02/2011

Missionary: Impossible

OK, I stole that title from a Simpson's episode - please don't hold it against me!

The thing is, when there already is a title out there, floating in the universe, summarizing what I am about to say in a short descriptive language, why should I think about something new and imperfect? Oh, copyright, schmoppyflight, who cares! My story will be called Lord of the Rings, just so you know! Intellectual property this! Mr. Tolkien, I thought it, it went through my brain as well as yours: mine now, you hear me!? *

* Kidding, please don't call your lawyers... good people of Harper and Collins Publishing!

That's not my topic today, but rant-wise, I wish it was, and it would indeed be worth a long list of swear words. The topic is somewhat similar, but it doesn't involve the idea of copyright in an exclusive way, quite the opposite. I am talking about people, cultures, nations on a mission to missionize those they have declared to be in need of their help. 

Naturally, everyone feels the urge to share knowledge, wisdom or money to do the world some good. We wouldn't be called mankind without those kind men to pass wisdom on to those in need. Countries have development aid programmes for people they declared less fortunate, cultures undertake efforts to throw light on those they have declared less sophisticated and people declare their fellow human beings "un-enlightened" about their life choices. And really, personal judgement is everywhere we look. 

The so-called moral high ground, from up above everyone can be judged and disabused. And strangely enough, every decision turns into a moral quandary-

The decision to wear or not to wear leather, the decision how to eat (alone in front of TV versus with family), when to eat; to eat or not to eat meat, or meat-related products. Or eat at all (starving by or no choice versus force-feeding "gavage"). The decision to vote or not to vote, what to vote. 
To work or not to work. What to work (your ass/your brains). When to work (late at night/all day). With whom to work (sick children/stock brokers).

To use nuclear energy, clean energy, to marry or not to marry, how many people to marry, to have or not to have children, if not, why, if yes: how many (2 or 9), when to have them (ages 15 or 35), where to have them (public toilet/hospital), even why to have them (ran out of condoms/it's about time!); how to raise them (stable/mansion).

What to believe (God/ Allah/ Flying Spaghetti Monster..), why to believe, to believe or not to believe at all.

I just picked out a few extreme examples, but there are tons of smaller ones if you think about your life choices. Everything one publicly committs to turns into a huge moral statement, openly defining you as a person, therefore stirring a discussion about how good or bad you are or exactly how useful or useless according to a - I dare say - arbitrary standard.

How can it be, that everyone feels like he or she is in a position to judge
and lecture everyone else on account of them doing something wrong, not living their life like it was intended. Intended by whom? Purposefully? What does that even mean? Do I need one, too? By what moral standard, might I ask?

The moral high ground, it's quite cosy up there, I know. But if we're all up there, there wouldn't be a low ground to look down upon any longer. Surely everybody has some good ideas, some valid points. 
We think we matter, that's a human condition. What we do makes a huge difference, we think. 

I am guilty of the same crime, I cannot not think I matter, therefore judging others, lecturing (mostly internally), thinking, I have discovered something about life others haven't is a daily routine for me as well. 

But I am wrong. 

I have discovered nothing about life, except that mine, like everyone else's, is there for me to live. Most insignificantly, if I want to. Yeah, that's what I am telling myself. That there's some kind of choice.