Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Hypocrisy

Scott Bradley

If hypocrisy is understood as inconsistency between words and deeds, then I am most certainly a hypocrite. But then, so was Jesus, if you don't grant him immunity as God-incarnate. There is always inconsistency. When one constantly speaks of the ideal, how could this form of hypocrisy be avoided?

If, however, hypocrisy is understood as a deceitful inconsistency, then I would hope to be exonerated of the charge. If I don't declare in every post how I fall short of my own blabber, it is only because that would be tedious.

There are also the inconsistencies in speech; yesterday I said judge not; today I judge. But there is judging and then there is judging. The difference is in context and in spirit, and these are not always easily discernible. It follows then that the charge of hypocrisy is largely in the eye of the beholder, which reminds me of Jesus' saying that we would do well to examine the beam in our own eye before pointing out the speck in another's.

Everything has its context. There is a time to weep and a time to cry; a time to build and a time to destroy; a time to criticize and a time to refrain from criticizing. Consistency is an abstraction with little traction in actual living.

Everything has its spirit. In Dao there is neither good nor bad, but killing people is bad. Can we declare the transcendence of good and evil and at the same time condemn killing as bad? Of course we can. The difference is in the spirit that informs us. And it is the cultivation of this spirit which is the art of dao. And this, like every art, is not so easily acquired, nor is it always appreciated by those less artful.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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