For us, this supposes a double effort, to rethink both what virtues and what commandments are all about. On the one hand, we should endeavor to understand that virtues are the flourishing of the human as such, regardless of the diversity of cultures and religions. This implies acknowledging something like a human nature. On the other hand, we should get rid of the representation of God’s commandments as “heteronomy.” To put it in simpler terms, avoiding any term of art, those commandments are not the whims of a tyrant, foisted upon a fold of slaves. All the biblical commandments stem from a first basic and utterly simple commandment, namely “Be!,” “Be what you are!” The “Become who you are” did not have to wait for Pindar, let alone for Nietzsche. Whatever sounds like a legal ruling in the Bible is the small change of creation or, if you prefer, its refraction in different media that unfold the abilities implied therein. This interpretation almost reached the level of a conscious, reflective thought in the Bible itself, for instance when Deuteronomy summarizes all the commandments to be observed under the heading of “choose life” (30:19).
In the present day, Western mankind is badly in need of this double rediscovery and recovery: on the one hand, of the virtues as being good for each and every human being, and on the other hand, of obedience to the commandment to be, and to be what one is. May it understand this necessity and this urgency.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor