I was watching Exodus, the movie, directed by Ridley Scott. Many reviewers and critics believe this could be one of his worst movies. Well, I’m not sitting on judgement. I watched it on TV and liked it. I remember thinking of Cecil B Demille’s The Ten Commandments, where Moses was enacted by Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner was Rameses. I remember being completely wowed by the scale, the effects, the colour, the story. It was magnificent and magic. Did Exodus live up to that film? Oh well, that critique is for another day, another post.
The era of watching a film like this has changed. I watched the latter film when I was in school perhaps. I watched Scott’s film a few days ago on TV. I’ve grown, the decades have taken a turn (probably for the worse), in fact a century has turned from 20 to 21 and am given to thinking about this business of commandments and edicts and diktats and of ‘morals’, where earlier it was just a mythological film, to be watched for ‘fun’.
To be human is to have desire, greed, envy, hate, grief, pain, courage, fear, love and everything in between. We are human because we do kill, and we do take the Good Lord’s name in vain (for those who believe in God, they do). We do covet and do steal. We do have many Gods and we do bear false witness again and again and again. Come to think of it, I wonder if Moses today would install Evernote on his tablet and make a list of his commandments thus:
Thou shalt try and get more than 1000 Likes on FB
Thou shalt always get ‘outraged’ on Twitter
Thou shalt plunder, loot and behead in the name of other Gods
Thou shalt limit yourself to ‘x’ affair de coeur and not covet your immediate neighbour’s wife, only perhaps the one who lives 2 blocks away from you
Thou shalt traffic in humans above the age of 10 years
Thou shalt close your borders, erect fences, protect your land at all costs and shoot refugees and their children (and then post pictures of tiny little angels washed ashore dead, to show how intolerant and inhuman we are)
Thou shalt ensure that women all over the world are treated with disrespect and continued to be trampled upon
Thou shalt always ensure that inequality is maintained, the corporates lord it over each of us and democracy is just a sham
Thou shalt always live in fear and thus invoke God’s name in fear, and give lip service to love
Thou shalt be doomed to be called human
It’s a crying shame really of how we delude ourselves into believing that we are the greatest species on this Planet, that we actually are really nice people and that Constitutions (penned by crafty people like you and I) and Holy Books are to be guarded with our souls (uncanny how souls and soles are phonetically the same but diametrically opposite in meaning), that human dignity and human life is the loftiest among ideals that needs to be upheld, that love will conquer all. Bah!
Who are we kidding? You may think I’m just a raving lunatic who’s just gone off her rocker and is making stupid statements about Life without knowing much of anything. Maybe I am. I admit I know very little. But hey wait a minute! Hark back to Time Immemorial. Has there ever been a time in Human evolution and history when we have not fought each other in bloody battles?Can you please enlighten me and tell me which period in human evolution can you think of when one race has not committed some sin or the other in the name of God? Or killed and committed genocide in the name of power, protection, or mere survival? Can you? I’d be delirious with joy to know that there was an epoch in human history where we all lived as One.
We know in our souls at the microcosmic level that we are not meant to be the ‘holier than thou’ kinds. We just cannot be. And as we supposedly grow and evolve and make progress we are caught in the spiraling fantasy of our own immortality, of our own ‘greatness’ which continues to manifest itself in outrageous acts. Can you honestly tell me that we are humane? Don’t you think too much is made of all this Love and service and purpose when all we really want to do is maim, murder, rape, behead, bomb, rob, have loads of sex and feed fear? We are liars each of us. We kid ourselves. We love pulling the wool over our own eyes.
We know that we will always be on the path of self-destruction. But while we journey on this long road, over millennia, some brave souls who knew “The End” was well nigh, they gave us inscriptions and commandments and edicts and diktats that they thought would reign our murderous spirit in. Hah! They wrongly believed that we would follow these to save us from our own selves. But we are humans. We have evil, greed, depravity, fear, revenge and everything diabolical lording it over us just as courage, love, grace, kindness, compassion, and all things noble hang in gingerly by the skin of our teeth. Want to guess who is winning in this balance of power?
We are liars, each of us. We’ve been lying to ourselves forever, and we will continue to lie to ourselves for ever and beyond. Till there’s no one left to lie to or lie for. Because we’d have killed each other in the name of oil, money, land, religion, caste, colour, guns, power and pelf.
We are liars, you and I the generations that have come before us. We are liars, yes we are. We were never meant to love, we were made to be killing machines. And the worst deception? We will continue to lie to our unborn children and leave them with nothing but stone inscriptions of Ten Commandments and mythological films upholding man’s nobility when in real-time we would have hacked (literally) into his future with mines and bombs and AK-47s or what have you.
We are the carriers and storytellers of untruths. Because we raise our children and ourselves to believe, to hope, to pray, to be ‘good’ and ‘honest’ and ‘decent’. Then we do exactly what we have instilled in them not to do or condone. After Pakistan, Beirut, Turkey, Denmark, Egypt, Paris or every other place on Earth, we are beyond redemption. That to my mind is the greatest proof that we are liars. We’re doomed to be human.
Ten Commandments any one?