Three Wise Monkeys

Blog 1046 – 07.07.2018

Three Wise Monkeys

In most of the rest of the world except the somewhat cynical West the three monkeys depicted in the picture – Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil, are thought of as smart and wise. In the Western world many see these three not as smart but as naive, gullible, and as targets of opportunity or ridicule. I disagree and think some notables might as well, Jesus and the Apostle Paul being but two. One of my favorite lines from words attributed to Jesus is: “With what measure you measure it shall be measured unto you.”

The apostle Paul said, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8)

I can honestly say that I no longer agree with many things that are written in the Bible and many more that are used to support a host of things that I do not think that they do, but I really am behind these two verses and the three wise monkeys who give us clues as to how to measure correctly and even to know how to think the best.

First it might be good for us to define “evil.”

“Origin and History

O.E. yfel (Kentish evel) “bad, vicious,” from P.Gmc. *ubilaz (cf. O.Saxon ubil, Goth. ubils), from PIE *upelo-, giving the word an original sense of “uppity, overreaching bounds” which slowly worsened. “In OE., as in all the other early Teut. langs., exc. Scandinavian, this word is the most comprehensive adjectival expression of disapproval, dislike or disparagement” [OED]. Evil was the word the Anglo-Saxons used where we would use bad, cruel, unskillful, defective (adj.), or harm, crime, misfortune, disease. The meaning “extreme moral wickedness” was in O.E., but did not become the main sense until 18c. Related: Evilly. Evil eye (L. oculus malus) was O.E. eage yfel.”

People argue about the meanings of words and attach meanings to them that have a special significance to them. It is always a good idea to use several words other than just one, even when you think everyone else interprets it just as you do, to be sure you get your meaning across and even then to be prepared to be mistaken and misunderstood and to have to explain exactly what you meant or mean.

This is especially true of hearing, speaking, or seeing “bad” things in others. Oops another word “bad” that needs defining. Michael Jackson’s “Bad” means very good, and Whitney Houston sang, “When I’m bad, I’m better.” The joke is: “You know why Santa is so jolly, he knows we’re all the bad girls live.” Not bad at all says Santa. I have heard a lot about “moral absolutes” in my almost sixty-eight years and I have come to believe that most rules even those considered moral ones are written and held up by the rich and powerful to control the poor and weak. The rich and powerful often have little problem breaking those rules, need I cite examples? One rule would suffice for each and all, The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

That brings us back to those Three Wise Monkeys – I certainly would prefer it if no one heard, saw, or spoke evil about me. How about you? It is a mark of love of the highest order and the wisest, happiest, and most peaceful way to live.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

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