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The Altar

Once upon a time, in a Land far, far away . . .


The Land was populated by a tribe of many Selves. The Selves belonged to varied Families who in turn belonged to varied Clans who made up the body of the Tribe. Regardless of the Self, Family or Clan, all understood that the foundation of the Land was Universal Truth. They had many languages and they called the Universal Truth by many names - Jehovah, Allah, Karma, Mother Nature, God. Regardless of what they called it, they understood it to be one thing.


The Selves of the Tribe further understood that the way to peace and harmony was to subordinate their divisions. And so they worshipped in that order — first at the Altar of the Universal Truth, then at the Altar of the Tribe, the Altar of the Clan, the Altar of the Family, and, finally, at the Altar of the Self.


The Universal Truth had Ten Precepts by which the Selves were governed — don’t kill, cheat, steal, covet, etc. If each Self lived in accordance with the Ten Precepts, they could worship at the altar of Universal Truth perfectly and the Land would flourish. The Ten Precepts were written in stone and placed in the Great Hall for all to see and come to know.


But there was no enforcement in this life for the Ten Precepts. The Selves were fallible, you see and Universal Truth did not punish those who strayed. And as is the way of these things, it came to pass that the various Selves of the Tribe noticed that too often those who refused to follow the Ten Precepts flourished and prospered at the expense of others. This was unjust, they cried and fought amongst themselves. So, the Tribal Elders passed “Justice” so that all might live in peace and harmony. The members of the Tribe thanked their Elders and called Justice good. They placed Justice above the Ten Precepts in the Great Hall so that all might see and come to know Justice. They turned their back on the Universal Truth and began to first worship at the Altar of the Tribe.


But the Tribal Elders, who each were Selves and members of the varied Clans, were fallible, you see. And as is the way of these things, it came to pass that the Clans noticed that too often those Clans who refused to follow Justice flourished and prospered at the expense of the other Clans. The Clans fought amongst themselves. So, they turned to their Clan Guardians and demanded “The Law”. Each of the Clans then passed The Law so that all might live in peace and harmony. The members of the Clans thanked their respective Guardians and called The Law good. And within the Great Hall, they placed The Law above Justice which in turn was placed above the Ten Precepts so that all might see and come to know The Law. They turned their backs on Justice and began to first worship at the Altar of the Clan.


But the Clan Guardians, who each were Selves and members of the varied Families, were fallible. And as is the way of these things, it came to pass that the Families noticed that too often those Families who refused to follow The Law flourished and prospered at the expense of other Families. The Clans seemed unable to enforce The Law. This is unfair, they cried and turned to their Family Patriarchs and demanded “Fairness.” Each of the Families then passed Fairness so that all might live in peace and harmony. The members of the various Families thanked their Patriarchs and called Fairness good. And in the Great Hall, they placed Fairness above The Law, which in turn was placed above Justice, which in turn was placed above the Ten Precepts so that all might see and come to know Fairness. They turned their backs on the Law and began to first worship at the Altar of the Family.


But the Family Patriarchs, who each were Selves, were fallible. And as is the way of these things, it came to pass that the Selves noticed that too often those Selves who refused to follow Fairness flourished and prospered at the expense of other Selves. The Families seemed unable to enforce Fairness. It seemed wrong. So, to fight the wrong, they demanded “Rights.” Each Self was responsible for his own Rights. They put forth their Rights and placed them within the Great Hall above Fairness, which in turn was above The Law, which in turn was above Justice, which in turn was above the Ten Precepts so that all might see and come to know Rights. They turned their backs on the Families and began to worship at the Altar of the Self.


But the Selves were fallible. And as is the way of these things, it came to pass that the Selves argued and fought with each other over whose Rights were more important — whose Rights were paramount and who could or would enforce those Rights. They took to the streets. They followed no Precepts, they practiced no Justice. They followed no Law and forgot about Fairness. They worshipped solely at the Altar of Rights.


And as is the way of these things, it came to pass that the Land was destroyed.


For you see,


In the Land where the Self is worshipped before the Family, there can be no Fairness;

In the Land where the Family is worshipped before the Clan, there can be no Law;

In the Land where the Clan is worshipped before the Tribe, there can be no Justice; and,

In the Land without Universal Truth . . . there is nothing.

(Previously published in “A Collection of Monkeys” (2018) by Mario Kiefer.)


#FridayFables

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