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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Part The Third

We could take a page from the Japanese, who because of their culture’s history, have made an art of ‘manners’; have formulated characteristic responses to almost any social situation. To them, these steps are as ritualistic as any dance, and because of their familiarity, the process is deeply satisfying to both parties involved.
That is paramount when redressing a wrong that both parties feel good when it’s finished. Not indeed that it’s always the outcome, but in any situation, at least one will receive satisfaction, that being the confessor. For if the party you have wronged does not, after a reasonable and allowable amount of face-rubbing, forgive or forget once one has confessed, then at least the ethics of the situation have been resolved for the one who has initiated the dance.
That in it self, is satisfaction.
Now, the issue of repentance.
A simple concept, which expresses the regret one has for committing the wrong to the party wronged.
It’s the application that proves problematic. For what it requires is one the one hand, a truly repentant stance, and on the other, a forgiving nature.
Neither is normal human behaviour these days, wherein fast food, fast relationships, fast money, have replaced the more sturdy values seen in past decades.
Not to say people these days are shallow, merely to point out what when examined, becomes glaringly obvious.
It might be said that it is more difficult, today, to subscribe to ethical behaviour than it was some forty to fifty years ago. But in saying that, one would be understating an historical trend, one which has repeated itself throughout the millennia, throughout the civilised worlds. As we begin to expand on the value and importance of self, and self alone, we tend to allow the niceties of civilised behaviour to slip away, and become a blend of sometimes antipathetic philosophy and faith. It becomes more and more an ‘issue’ to assert oneself, and to be in the moral right.
A delusion in itself, because moral correctness can not exist beside or because of moral suasion, and it is this manipulative force that has become the mover of our worlds.
I say worlds, plural, because we are slipping away from one another in our competition to be the one with the Truth.
This is one of the reasons true repentance, an integral part of the sequence, is so difficult to achieve. It means one must realise one’s error, feel truly sorry for the mistake, and must inwardly examine that which led to the flaw in judgement in the first place.
This is not only the fawning of the weak we are talking about here, but the abasement of the strong.
For those who fawn with their repentance, inwardly seething at the necessity, and the indignity, and the true unworthiness of the one to whom the wrong was originally done, are paying no more than lip-service to this process, in an ingratiating manner trying to glean forgiveness without effort.
One might then say it was an effort in itself to be so obsequious and slavish, and that it was a measure of their true repentance.
But be not fooled by those who slobber when they apologise. As a rule of thumb, they feel sorrier for themselves being in that position, than they do for that which they did.
The feelings of resentment common to those who cannot follow these steps, is surely manifest at some later point, when perhaps a position of moral superiority has been achieved by them. When the shoe’s on the other foot, so to speak, those who cannot put wrongs behind them by step-by-step eradication will draw from the well of their indignation, stored against just such an opportunity.
For them, the issue of their guilt is never laid to rest, and their thoughts concerning those who brought them to that which they inwardly realise was justice, are never friendly. For justice is subjective, and those crimes people commit and consistently deny, become cornerstones of ill will. Those who cannot admit their wrongs yet are convicted through their actions, motive notwithstanding, will deny, deny, deny, and believe their own innocence eventually.
Such is the power of self-delusion, that fantasy becomes reality, to be fiercely defended against all whom would chip at the foundations of the dream.
And such is the measure of the person, whether or not reality itself is worthy of defence.
Repentance is a process by which thinking people unload their baggage, and deal with the spectres of self-indulgence and stupidity as they apply to one’s self. Without it, one will never heal, but will wander incomplete and bleeding from the countless cuts we self inflict on a daily basis.

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