I was thinking of those people whom we occasionally meet, whose behaviour is breath-takingly awful, yet who seem to have an impenetrable armour of self belief and can justify all manner of sins in themselves – see only virtue in their most selfish actions – and lay the blame on others while letting themselves off scot-free.

You wonder, do these people actually believe their own lies?   What does it cost them in psychic energy to maintain such a delusion?     There must be some chamber in their inner house, where the dreadful truth shines out like diamonds glinting among the cobwebs and dirt, and at the entrance to which they have to maintain a 24 hour armed guard, lest they stumble upon this lethal knowledge by accident.   If they saw themselves as the worthless trash they are, would they just nod into the mirror – they always knew they were a knave – or would they recoil in horror from the repulsive individual who squinted back at them?   Although they cause great hurt to others and damage everything they touch, we can all walk away from them.   They, on the other hand, have to live with themselves forever.

Someone I know once showed me a letter from a former spouse, whose record of behaviour had been far from exemplary.   They had however taken up religion with considerable zeal, and from their pinnacle of newly found virtue, they graciously offered to pray for my friend’s salvation.    I am sorry to record that this generous offer was not at all well received.    ‘Does God answer the prayer of such as these?’ (employing a word I could not use here.)   I said it was never clear whether prayer was answered at all, and certainly rarely in the way the petitioner wished, but if you believed all prayers were heard, then the answer was Yes.   God was not partial and we were all sinners.   Engaging in a vigorous bout of hand washing as if to remove all traces of the contaminating letter, its ungrateful recipient snorted that some of us were more sinners than others.

As I reflected on these matters this week, I thought, while the sinning obviously does matter, some of us know we are sinners, while others believe they are gods, accountable to no-one but themselves.

When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Tunisia, having found no justice he could apply to in this world, and thereby laid his case before a Higher Authority, despots and tyrants on his continent probably did not immediately perceive their danger.   Yet some of them are already gone, their reputations destroyed, their evil actions exposed, whereas this previously unknown fruit seller will be a hero of many republics.   The tragedy is that he had to lose his life in the process.

There is a Roman proverb which goes:   Fiat justitia ruat caelum.    Let justice be done, though the heavens should fall.   Heavens appear to be falling all round about us.


P.S.   Elisabeth and Rob are safe and well in Tokyo, although having to climb 27 flights of stairs to their apartment.     Clearly though there are difficulties ahead for Japan and we are anxious about developments in a nuclear plant to the north of Tokyo.


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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