“Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbis or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.”
I'd like to take this rule and plaster it everywhere. Ev-er-y-wheeeeeere. I'd like to graffiti it on the streets, put it all over social media, and keep writing this everywhere till everyone sees it.
"Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others."
Assuming you actually know right from wrong (an assumption I am loathe to make in certain cases), don't be a self-righteous prig.
"If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good."
No comment. Just... why, human race, why?
And yes, you read the word right, it's "fetish", but not in the sense you're thinking (get your mind out of the gutter, people!). It's the anthropological sense, where you think an object has religious or mystical powers. This is my "lucky shirt". It's cute, but you can't actually believe it. Well, I did. I was a very superstitious teenager, if I had a bad day wearing a certain shirt, I would not wear it ever again. I similarly wrote off a necklace. I had a red hoodie that I believed got me good grades if I wore it to an exam. My special "Allah" pendant with an evil eye I wore everyday, and as I got older, every time I traveled. I also believed that if I carry an umbrella, it won't rain, but the day I won't, it will. So I always carried an umbrella, every single day, all of high school and first year of uni.
It was exhausting, keeping track of patterns with lifeless objects that way. These days, everything is about functionality and practicality. Having kids really makes you pull your head out of your own butt, which is something I desperately needed (not saying everyone does! But I did, well and truly).
Perhaps fetish can also mean fetish the way all you potty-minds thought about it as well (ok, ok, I thought that at first, too, guilty as charged). Some people definitely get off on their own truths, that's why they love lording them over everyone else. Religious or otherwise. If you know something is true, and believe it deep down, my advice is - read your audience. Not all audiences are receptive to the truth, and it's not always my job to call people out on their awful preconceived notions. I used to love engaging with my interns on their preconceived notions, for instance, because they were open to the discussion. Maybe very few people had asked them why they thought a certain way about something, and it made them feel they mattered to discuss it. I loved talking to them, hearing their thoughts, and questioning stereotypes with them. Young people have a lot to say, and any meaningful change we start now will have to gather speed with them. On the other hand, I absolutely dread engaging in debates with people on social media, and elders or others I don't know well. Social media debates... the equivalent of poking yourself in the eye with a red hot poker.
Speaking of social media, I read something that made me think - why do we yell at each other when we are angry, even if we're standing face to face? It's because at that point, our hearts are far apart from each other. I don't like thinking that my heart is far from my kids, and that's another reason not to yell, which is still proving to be a challenge for me. We've been talking about it regularly, though, I hope that's helping on some level. Before bed, we looked at old pictures and videos from when they were little babies. If there's one way to immediately bridge the gap between hearts, that has got to be it - the air was simply filled with love and beautiful memories. If you're having a hard day, pull out some old photographs of happy times. Or chubby babies. Man, I just want to eat those chubby little cheeks. That's one of the things I say a lot to my kids: "Can I eat your face?" It's one of the reasons this blog has the odd name it does.