Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
Steve said, "In our narrowed down world, even the killing of human beings has presently become accepted.
It has become accepted for countless reasons that all fall outside of the narrow definition that we have created for that concept. Theft, too, has been made universally legal in modern times, except
for an extremely narrow range of circumstances. And being untruthful," Steve laughed, "has become so widely accepted today that the idea of truth itself is being denied to exist."
Steve also pointed out that there is one more fundamental principle that needs to be explored, that is only vaguely reflected in the Decalogue. It is the final commandment, and the hardest one to deal with. It is the principle that puts one above coveting property. The Decalogue includes a directive against coveting property, especially one's neighbor's property. It is interesting that the list that defines property in the Decalogue, includes one's neighbor's wife. This presents a paradox, and this paradox sets the stage for perceiving this directive correctly. It establishes a higher focus than the directive against stealing. "Indeed, why would the Decalogue focus on stealing twice?" Steve asked.
I shrugged my shoulders.
"Well, it doesn't address this issue twice," Steve continued. "The second focus makes sense if it is seen as a directive against coveting property. That's something totally different than stealing. The entire commandment stands almost as a dire warning for one not to go down this road, not to live on Property Lane, because as soon as one goes down that road, people do indeed become property. Thus, the commandment contains a solemn warning as it lists a wife under the category of property."
Steve said that this particular commandment of the Decalogue should be seen as a statement of principle that invalidates the very concept of coveting property and owning property. A wife cannot be property. A wife is a person. The very thought that a person can be property, that a wife can be property, is repulsive and dangerous. He said that this principle applies to everything else as well. If one lives on Property Lane, one destroys everything that defines humanity; one destroys the principle of love by which we enrich one another's existence; by which we develop one another's potential; even the general welfare principle. By this process one destroys humanity as a bright, honorable, and spiritual species.
"Ushi is my wife," said Steve, "this is true, but she is no one's property. She lives her own life. People must get the idea out of their head that a person can be property. The whole notion of coveting property, no matter what type of property, whether it be money, land, businesses, and so on, is fundamentally counterproductive to human development and the development of civilization. That's why society should pull itself away from
that, and that is extremely difficult."
Steve suggested that Moses was evidently well aware of these fundamental principles and of their essential nature for elevating human existence.
Steve said that this point is so important that he must read the texts again, and this time in the original order. He also asked me to take note that the law of the Decalogue, where it is first presented in Scriptures, contains not a single cruel element. He asked me to take note that all the hype that defines a person as property, such as a marriage property with marriage boundaries and with rules against transgressing those boundaries, and the imposition of the death penalty for the transgression, etc., is not found in the original text of the Decalogue, but is brought into the context of the Decalogue at a much later date, in another book about Moses. Steve said that all the gory stuff begins to surface quite suddenly in the third book written about Moses, called Leviticus, the book of the laws, the book that is believed to have been authored by the priesthood itself, which then used that law to dominate society.