Wednesday, May 07, 2003

What sort of odd character trait is it to lie for no reason? Sometimes I have the most uncontrollable urge to just lie. Not for any personal gain, mind you. Just to do it. To make up something totally stupid, and say it. I don't care if it's believed; I just need to utter falsities. There's something pleasant about lying, in ideal. I couldn't explain what; perhaps it's that lusty pleasure inherent in any sin. In reality, it's hardly glorious, and I know that from experience. And the aftereffects are sometimes godawful, which I also know from experience. But somehow, when the temptation gurgles up the next time, I still can't help but give in.

Today, for no reason, upon being asked in German, what time I woke up yesterday morning, I said: "9:30." Now, yesterday, I woke up at nine. And I can certainly express the hour of nine in German. And I was well aware of what time I got up. But for some totally unexplained reason, 9:30 slipped out of my mouth. It wasn't a mistake; it was deliberate. It's the difference between saying "neun" and "halb zehn;" you can't slip on that. And while the lie had no potential to hurt anyone, and while there was no way anyone could tell if I was lying, I have this odd sense of guilt about the thing. It's a stupid thing to worry over. But it's the idea behind it, I think. I was presented with a temptation (an incredibly stupid one, really, but I suppose if you look at any temptation from a cosmic perspective, they're all pretty stupid), and I gave in with no resistence whatsoever. I gained nothing, but I lost a little bit of trust in myself. And I wonder whose voice it was that said 9:30. I know it was mine; I'm not suggestion that I'm possessed or schizo or something. But I also know that I didn't ask myself, consciously, "Shall we say nine, or half ten?" And yet half ten slipped out, in spite of my general intention to say nine.

I wonder where the conscious self ends, and the unconscious begins and how much one influences the other. I wonder if, when being judged on the last day, we'll be held accountable for our conscious as well as unconscious selves. Jesus' message against the Pharisee's was that it wasn't enough to obey the letter of the law. You had to love the law; to embrace the spirit of it, and write it into your very soul, so that all of your actions proceeded from it. I don't think that my actions reveal me to be a bad person. Or, an excessively bad one, anyway. I'm generally friendly, and dare I say merciful, and even charitable, and I certainly have never killed anyone or intentionally really hurt them. But if the contents of my screwed up subconscious were splayed in front of me on the floor, if I had to examine and judge my own secret evil intentions and disordered affections and sick lusts, I could never, to put it mildly, even begin to fancy myself pure ever again. And that thought terrifies and disturbs me.

I've always read books by people who wanted to lead virtuous lives. The concept is so old to me that it's one of the first things I examine characters for when I'm trying to understand a novel. And yet, when that silly quiz I posted up here the other day asked "Do you want to live a virtuous life?" I really had to think about it. I've never actually asked myself that before. I've asked myself what the right thing to do is, what the intelligent thing to do is, what the thing I should do is. But the concept of actually trying to make myself into a virtuous human being is utterly foreign. And somewhat enticing, in a strange way. Virtue is a word I've sort of scoffed at a lot over time. The people who I've seen use it, are usually the last people I'd suspect of having it. But it's a concept worth looking into. It's something I need to spend some time mulling over.