Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
Steve laughed and suggested that this is the reason why the West is crying, "democracy! democracy!" He said that the concept of democracy has been narrowed down to mean nothing more than counting votes. "As long as you count votes everything is allowed," he said, "such as the rule of money, the corruption of power, the destruction of economies and justice. By the narrowing of the definition of democracy, little remains of the original idea of democracy. Thus, the very concept of democracy as the rule of the people by the people for the general welfare of the people, has become lost. Now we have democracies that are essentially imperial structures which enforce the looting of society and the murdering of people. We need to get away from these corrupted, narrowed down definitions of every one of our vital concepts."
Steve paused. He picked up the his old leather bound German Bible again and looked at me without opening it. "Should I break the honorable bond of love that binds you and Ushi together?" he said quietly. "If I do, I break the commandment which urges us to honor such bonds. That's what it means not to adulterate, not to narrow down the love that binds us all together as human beings. That's what I meant, Peter, when I said earlier: we must be careful."
He paused again, then he suggested that the commandments not to kill, not to steal, and not to tell an untruth to one another with the intend to deceive, are fundamental elements of civilization. He added, "and so is the commandment not to break whatever is honorable, such as the bond that love has forged between people, which is a bond of the marriage of hearts. One must never break that."
He handed the old Bible to me and repeated that in the German translation the Decalogue instructs one never to break what is honorable. Steve said that this element of the Decalogue is just as much an essential element of civilization as are all the others, perhaps an even more essential element since love and honor are reflections of the essence of the human soul. He said, "the directive not to lie, steal, or kill are fundamental to civilization, but one needs to go beyond the fundamentals, to the higher levels and embrace the sublime that builds our civilization, that uplifts us to were we begin to enrich and develop one another. And that includes a lot of elements which make us sensitive to one another. This is what defines us as human beings."
He said that those higher elements set us apart from every other living species on the planet. Most animal species fulfill the directive not to kill one another, not to steal from one another, and not to deceive one another. "Only at the higher levels do we stand apart from the animal world as a higher species," said Steve. "That distinction begins as we embrace the sublime, as we honor and enrich one another's existence, as we love and create, as we explore the universe in order to enrich our world for one another. This is what defines us as human beings. This is what defines our civilization, what defines our humanity."
He said that all of this comes to light through bonds of love that bind us to each other for the common welfare of all. "This recognition of a fundamental unity is what the marriage process is built on," said Steve. "You don't want to adulterate that concept with a narrow definition that destroys everything, right?" Steve pointed out that the privatization of marriage in terms of personal 'property' rights is a travesty of what the concept really represents.
Steve also pointed out that society's common notion about marriage, the one that allows love to exist only within tightly confined boundaries, is really a travesty of what fundamentally defines us as human beings. He said that we should therefore be careful not to regard the Decalogue as merely a collection of passive demands that instruct us never to do this and that. He said we must search for the active principles that will impel us to a higher level of thinking where these things that we shouldn't do, don't exist anymore as an option. He suggested that our apathy in this regard, our failure to look for active, underlying principles, is one of the main reasons why the vital concepts of civilization have become narrowed down and become corrupted, for which our world is in such a mess.