Vector8 Journals

Saturday, November 06, 2004

What's Right, What's Wrong?

So I was on my way home yesterday evening when I noticed a lot of kids out. It's a bit unusual to see so many children out at this time of night. What's going on? Then I remembered - Guy Fawkes Night.

For those of you who are not familiar with this great British tradition, every year on the 5th November, there are fireworks displays, bonfires and burning of effigies to commemorate the notorious Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He didn't succeed of course. He and his henchmen were executed.

Why, oh, why do we commemorate such an event?

As I pondered over this on the bus, I noticed hundreds of people queueing up outside the local town hall. There is a field at the back where the local bonfire and fireworks displays were going to take place. A man on the other side of the bus was half asleep. He woke up and looked across at the crowd. He asked what the fuss was about. I reminded him what day it was. My new friend came and sat across me and we got into a discussion about why people celebrate Guy Fawkes. Is it possible, my new friend said, that people are making a statement in support of Guy Fawkes? Hmmm! Was November the 5th an opportunity for people to express their discontent against the current government? I doubted it very much.

I've been to a few bonfire nights and watched effigies being burnt. I have sometimes used the burning effigy as a personal symbol of letting go of the past. I wonder if other people use the burning effigy as a symbol or are they simply enjoying the fireworks? I would imagine many children enjoy playing with sparklers and bangers and don't care about what it means.

It is very odd how Brits commemorate attempted murder. In a reality of moral values and social mores, surely attempted murder is considered evil? If we can celebrate attempted murder, does it not make a mockery of the notion of good and evil?

What about when someone sneezes. Many have been programmed to say "Bless You." This actually originates in the 17th century in London during the outbreak of the Black Death. It was hoped that the words "God Bless You" would stop the person sneezing from developing the plague.

Another connection to the plague is the nursery rhyme, "Ring a Ring O' Roses."

"Ring a ring o' roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!,
We all fall down"

According to the explanation:

"Most people believe that this rhyme originates from the time of the Great Plague. The roses refers to the rosy coloured rash displayed by sufferers; the posies were a little bundle of herbs and spices said to ward off the plague; and a-tishoo was of course, the sneezing which accompanied the final fatal moments of the victims when they would all fall down - dead!"

I remember, as a child, how I used to love the part in the rhyme: "we all fall down." I used to love falling on the ground. Little did I know what we were singing. Now, isn't it morbid and bizarre that we still teach kids a nursery rhyme that speaks of a time when so many people lost their lives? Is it not evil to sing about other people's misfortunes?

What about the fact that we celebrate victory of the great wars? For someone to win, someone else has to lose. Are we celebrating the end of the war or the loss of lives to achieve peace? Why is it important to continue remembering those who lost their lives during the war? Is remembering enabling us to achieve lasting peace on earth?

It seems to me that the notion of good and evil is constantly shifting. What is considered evil in the past is seen now as an opportunity to make money. Can you imagine how much money is involved in Guy Fawkes Night, the amount of fireworks sold for that day? Maybe we should call the knowledge of good and evil by its proper name - Capitalism.

Although I haven't attended a Bonfire Night in ages, I do have a lot of fun when I do. I love watching firework displays. I love playing with bangers. I love watching the burning effigy. In my view, Guy Fawkes Night is an opportunity to enjoy fireworks.

It is the same way I live my life. I don't judge anything as good or evil, they are just experiences. I have a choice to experience what I want to. In other words, in my universe, good and evil have no reality.

What's right, what's wrong? Everything is right and wrong. It depends on your perspective.

I am Experience,