I originally posted this on February 15, 2008
It’s time to pick on the book Rules of Life once again . Rule 94: Be for the Glory and not Degradation strikes me as the author’s attempt to preach a virtue of being accountable to ourselves and consequently our society, our nation and our world, without sounding religious or moralizing. This rule may not sit well with everyone considering that some us are prejudiced by our religious beliefs or still searching for that elusive, utopian rule of absolute right. The author’s message is overtly simplistic and secularist, meant to tap on the conscience on anyone who has at the very least , a minimal sense of belonging and respect for society.
Rule 94 : Be for the Glory and not Degradation.
“We can work for the glory of humankind or we can try to bring it all crashing down into degradation. Shakespeare is for the glory, a crack house is for degradation. A village fete on a warm summer’s afternoon is for the glory, stealing someone’s purse is for degradation. And it doesn’t have to be tame ; a parachute jump for charity is for the glory, porn is for degradation – but an erotic movie can be for the glory. Get the idea?
Anything that makes us more than we are, makes us strive for perfection, improves us, challenges us, excites us in a good way, makes us rise above our base nature and brings us into the sunshine is for the glory.
So what are you going to be for? The glory or the degradation? Well for the glory of course. My fear is that you will think this is all about being good and that has a bad press. All our lives we have been told that being good is a bad thing, somehow dull, for the meek and the namby-pamby, the sandal wearers, the holier-than-thou brigade. Being good hasn’t a lot going for it. As a kid at school if you tried to be good you get beaten up. At work if you try to be good they call you the boss’ pet.
Well, being good, being for the glory is a private thing. You don’t have to tell a soul. If you keep it quiet you are being good. If you brag about it you are a goody-goody. If you interfere with others and try to make them to be good, you are a do-gooder. Just make a decision to be for the glory and say nothing.
The definition of what is for glory and for degradation may vary from the individual’s perspective, largely influenced by his view on morals. A porn actress may rationalize that she is doing a job and not hurting anyone. A jihadist will insist that he is doing a job for the glory of his God. Some of us are still fuzzy about the invasion of Iraq, whether it is for the glory or degradation.
Our view on morals is largely dependent on the interpretations of our Judeao-Christian beliefs although many societies today are increasingly becoming more secular, trying desperately hard to put forth an all encompassing definition of morals in an attempt to appease people of all faiths. Suffice to say that the author’s examples of glory and degradation doesn’t sound too extreme and appear quite comprehensible, within the limits of our Judeao-Christian and secularist understanding.
The forces , big and small, that go for glory and degradation are forever clashing in this world of ours. The day to day affairs of every society is an ongoing battle between glory and degradation. In my view, the state of prosperity of a given society is dictated by how much glory had won over degradation or degradation over glory. Degradation may have pockets of victory but it is important that degradation must not be allowed to declare majority victory over glory for it will turn a society’s prosperity into misery.
In line with the author’s rule – be for the glory and not degradation – it follows that a strong determinant that in a society’s triumph over degradation lies in the collective conscience of its people . A society that posseses more people who individually move for the glory rather than degradation is on the road to reaping the rewards of prosperity. The choice to be for the glory also transcends beyond individualistic pursuit. An innate concern for the good of society must exist in the psyche of every individual, that the good he does to himself also benefits the society he lives in. This is not necessarily taught by religion but inculcated by culture and tradition, and the understanding of the true meaning of patriotism.
The tragic part of a society hanging perilously in the fangs of degradation is it will take many generations for its people to reverse its course. The notion of money being the solution to a society’s misery isn’t necessary true. Money will certainly alleviate the problems but the real solution is in the conscience of its people, for if it is not changed, the propensity to be for degradation and consequently, self-destruction will always be a plague that will threaten the society’s very existence.
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