Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In the Looking Glass; Vanity at Its Worst

"hand feeding cat fish" on Bear Lake
Society places far too much value on appearances. The attractive, the gorgeous, the svelte or muscular often become the rich and famous. Add to that beauty, charm, wit, and a smooth-talking tongue, and you have an unbeatable combination. If used for good, all is well; if not, it’s a recipe for deception and destruction. This has been true since the beginning of time.

Vanity, and the downfall thereof, has been the topic of scripture, great literature, Legends and Fairy Tales. Remember when the wicked Queen in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" looks in the mirror and asks: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” 

We know she’s an ugly old hag; but the mirror, knowing that it will be broken if it speaks the truth, tells the ruthless queen that she’s “the fairest one of all” in spite of the evidence against it.

Like the queen’s looking glass, there are individuals who fawn over famous people; even becoming “yes” men and women in order to “share the wealth” and stay in good favor. The sin of vanity is not only a preoccupation with one’s physical appearance, but includes pride, greed, dishonesty, and misuse of power.

Some people lean their ladder of vanity on the tree of fame and fortune, only to find that they’ve chosen the wrong tree. In their struggle to climb the ladder of success, they willingly crush others under their feet as they scramble to the top. Their ego and thirst for money and power leaves the person they once were behind and they forget their core values. It becomes “all about me.”

"Another view of Bear Lake from the Wasatch Mountains"
Like "Alice’s adventures in Wonderland," things are not always as they seem. I read a wonderful book titled: “Bonhoeffer” a history and biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer a Christian Pastor in Germany during the rise and fall of Hitler’s Third Reich.

The book chronicles the power struggle between the Christian Church in Germany and the Furor’s ravenous appetite for a perfect society--an Aryan race. Eventually, there is a split in the Christian Church between those who want to support Hitler at all costs, and those who don’t.

"Park City Utah" (on vacation)
People became obsessed with the progressive vision of Hitler’s Germany. They were concerned with seeking approval and gaining professional recognition and advancement. 

If that meant tweaking the Bible here, and removing a few passages of scripture there, so be it. 

If that meant forcing compliance of the government’s new and improved German Christian Church; it was for the good of Germany. Christ’s gospel was far too restrictive, anyway, and much too lenient in its treatment of miscreants, half-breeds and inferior people who would simply limit Germany’s rise to greatness.

The complexities of Hitler’s march into evil and infamy boils down to this: The people were misled by a tyrant with a silver tongue who was expert at disguising his evil intents through lies and manipulation (a "wolf in sheep's clothing"). By the time they discovered the truth, the laws had turned against them and there was nowhere to turn.

"Street scene in Park City, Utah"
One such appeaser was Martin Niemoller. A man Hitler appointed to run the government’s newly created “German Christian Church.”

Niemoller realized too late what he had done—what they had all done! When he began to oppose Hitler, he was placed in a concentration camp for eight years. Later, he shot himself.

During his imprisonment he penned this:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. And then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Who will speak for you? If Beauty and worth are in the eye of the beholder, how will you be perceived by others? In the same token, How will your artwork be viewed by others? Integrity is living what you believe and acting in accordance with your values. First you must define who you are and what you stand for.

"Winston" my sister's hot Westie!  He's sooooo smart!