Wednesday, June 03, 2009

And Someone saith...

Christopher Hitchens, probably best known for his atheistic beliefs, has proposed some new commandments, add-ons to the traditional Ten.

The first of three scheduled guests in the ROM’s series, Three New Commandments, Hitchens led off the series with his proposed new shalt-nots.

One of these condemns genocide (though another commenter pointed out the redundancy of that one – as ‘Thou shalt not kill’ should already apply, whether to one or many). Hitchens also proposed commandments against slavery and child abuse. Hard to rail against someone opposing any of those.

Still, he’s inspired me to come up with three of my own, and I’m hoping that others will suggest even more, especially ones that might be particularly applicable to the 21st century. And so, a ‘shalt not’ and two more-positive imperatives.

Thou shalt not produce spam nor participate in forwarding chain-letter type messages (You know the ones: 'Forward to 10 people within the next 10 minutes…').

Share whatever bounty comes your way by donating money or time. If the only sharing possible is singing praise to the evening sky, so be it; share what is yours.

Honour thy children (and grandchildren), for they are the future.
Two more speakers are scheduled in the series and will be adding their own suggestions for commandments. It will be interesting to see what A. J. Jacobs or Camille Paglia offer as new words to be carved in stone.

Jacobs describes himself as "...officially Jewish the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant." He's the one who wrote about an experiment he lived: The Year of Living Biblically -- and oh, what a beard he grew!

Paglia has been the bane of talk-show hosts for years, but is also a lover of poetry. I'm hoping one of hers might urge us to honour poetry more than we do.


Janet Vickers said...

Thou shalt tell us who took this fabulous picture and where it was taken.

hg said...

I confess, it was I. The picture was taken in 2002 when we were living in Australia. It is a crag in the Blue Mountains, a region west of Sydney. I can only hope this wasn't one of the areas devastated by fire in the past few years.

Kimmy said...

i would give my left nut to hear Hitchens in person. i shall before i shuffle off this mortal coil, i hope. my timing sucks. i missed FOTC in Vegas by 4 days and Christopher Hitchens at the ROM by... 7 years.

hg said...

I'm sure the interview with him is still available as a podcast at CBC's Q. He was pretty dang brilliant-sounding, that's fer sure.

Kimmy said...

thanks! i'll go check.

Kimmy said...

Hitchens' talk was, as always, wonderful. i loved when he asked for more "piss and vinegar" from the "polite" Canadian audience ;-)

by the way, i think he'd amend your assessment of his "atheistic beliefs" to simply "atheism" or as he puts it, "anti-theism" as he states again and again that his atheism is the absence of belief. i would agree with his definition.

hg said...

Yes, anti-theism is much more what he's about. The wikipedia article about him links to a reasonable definition of that term (as if it isn't already clear enough).

I was especially tickled to hear him when I did, as one of my newest poems has a line about 'the atheists' ... who 'shall be proven correct'.

Kimmy said...

hear hear!!!