Hypocrisy, Part One-Summer Hot Fiction

   The summer turned off hot that year but wasted not the spring. May was too warm for June, so when the lunar month became the King, he sought to best his successor in heat before that worthy could even appear to further scorch the plains.

   It was this summer he decided, finally, about hypocrisy. He analyzed the falseness of man's protests to the contrary. He learned how 5% of employees said they regularly stole from their employers and 85% said they would steal under the right circumstances. He saw how this left only 10% of the employed population claiming they would steal under any circumstances and he doubted them. And he counted the cutlery after the maid came.

   Though virtually a vegetarian now, his cutlery and plates were still those of the meat eater he had been most of his days. Heavy platters fit for serving thick meat slabs, wood handled knives with serrated edges and forks with close, dull tines for stabbing and holding deceased flesh were all he had for his food. His new diet; berries and kiwi, limes, beans and greens and yogurt, need not be harpooned to bring them to heel. One need only gently roll them in a soft tortilla, or mince them with avocado and splash them with black pepper. There was no bad way to eat a bowl of cherries, except to chase them around a giant steak plate with a close-tined fork. Eventually, they succumbed, but not until all the life had gone out of them.

   The chase was too brutal for such frail, succulent characters.

   Anyway, amidst all his water drinking and herb growing, he decided about hypocrisy. He recognized the fickleness of frail, illucid men. Half of marriages ended in divorce and most children lived unhappily, conceived but not parented. 

   He decided, finally, however, against hypocrisy as a human trait. For men to be hypocrites, he saw, they must both lay claim to some virtue or recognize some standard and they must engage in some consistent form of self-examination leading to self-knowledge. The hustling, energetic, determined man of action, the one who tended to be in order to do, never stopped to regard himself critically. The night before the Great Desertion, he might have asked, with the others, "Is It I," but he would never really have considered himself more guilty than his most innocent bedmate.

   No, the active, usual man could not be a hypocrite, for he was not acting. He could not be a hypocrite any more than an unlessoned child could be held in contempt for not answering the least of the moral questions, for the simple reason the child could not so much as recognize the question, its context or its intended end. Moreover, if the child were taught to determine the difference between contended right and alleged wrong only by threat of punishment or promise of reward, the child become the adult could not then be rightly held criminal, or even liable, for stealing with the 85% if he thought the circumstances favored him, anymore than he might be reproved for taking pleasure with the 99% who would do that at any opportunity.

   No, few men and almost no women could be found guilty of hypocrisy. The unexamined life was their metier, and worthless though it may prove, that very worthlessness proved their salvation.

    Only the few cursed thinkers could be hypocrites, he decided. Fully aware of their personal failings, cut off from the faith once delivered to the Fathers, they groped their way through life like dim, purgatorial souls awaiting disposition, unsure of absolution, certain it would not come soon.

   They were men who knew too much.

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