I’m a thief. Today, Coles is the faceless victim who I owe $3 for a mini fruit drink. I’ve stolen before but it feels different today. Well I’m not talking about grand theft auto or anything. I’m hardly a badass criminal. Although I did knowingly steal the mini number lettering for the postbox for my house from Bunnings about 8 years ago (Maybe I’m just totally anti-Wesfarmers?) Then there is of course MP3 and movie downloads. Mind you at $3 for 300 ml of this stuff you might ask who stole from who? Couple this with the nauseating trashy brainless advertising campaigns Coles has inflicted on us over the years, not to mention their bully boy home brand and anti competitive tactics; Coles had it coming damn them!
Their self-scanning system is another source of contempt and anger for me. Especially today because of my feeble sheep following succumbing to use it. Herded from the waiting line to the next available scanner gizmo by the overzealous and impatient supervisor dude, I dumped my shopping on the pre-scan ledge thingo. Hurriedly I put the juice through first and into the shopping bag. So much pressure! It beeped but the screen bill total was still zero?
That was the moment my moral code was tested. In my mind I debated my potential thievery as I navigated through the fruit and veg payment selections putting through the rest of my purchase. Yes, ironically I was being good. I bought 2 bananas and 2 oranges (oh and a packet of Flake mini chocolate bars). But would I be good in the eyes of the law? Play it cool, act normal. There’s nothing to see here supervisor guy. My window to come clean and turn back from a life of crime elapsed with the filling of my shopping bag. $8.88 was the last numbers I remember glimpsing fleeing the scene, scrumpling the receipt and cramming it into my pocket.
No body stopped me. Hey, I got away with it I thought to myself? Walking away, the most telling feeling I had was the lack of guilt. Was it my hatred for Coles? Was I just too conveniently lazy to check and go back? Gambling on blaming that stupid machine would sure to be an iron clad defense with Coles security if I was hauled away to their video interview room? Pay-passing my bill I didn’t even look at the total. More weight to the damnation of my new human obsolescing machine friend’s teething problems. New technology’s got its bugs right, Mr “Good Cop” Coles? No it was none of all that.
I can only put it down to my life now being less religious. Suddenly in that moment I realised there was no additional layer of creepy imposed judgement hanging over me that there used to be. Maybe it was exactly because of my own religious experiences and its influences that literally poison our world. I kept walking in defiance! Screw you religion!
Without religion we would have no morals – or so say the religious. Where would our morals come from if there was no God? We’d all be evil, killing and raping each other at will apparently. Many wiser writers have prescribed a better explanation for what really explains is our innate morality or ethics. Socrates’s “Inner Daemon”. Adam Smith’s “Internal Witness”. Ironically, history has shown that it is exactly because of religion normal and “good” people do evil things.
“Given only faith, mountains can be moved and millions of people who would never normally acquiesce in evil are brought to it straight away with ease and with self-righteousness”
– The late great Christopher Hitchens –
Thanks to Youtube there are many recordings of Hitch to troll through. Perhaps I’ve gladly hijacked this post to tribute to his writing and speeches. His infamous moral test/challenge immediately comes to mind.
Here are some ripper Hitch moments:
Morals Without Religion
Why fight religion – Religion Poisons Everything
Killing in the Name of
Faith Based Morality
and one of the best ones – Smashes Dickhead Rabbi about Circumcision
Over the last 2-3 years consuming everything I can find of his and other free thinking material (Sam Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins) has given me a new perspective for my practical moral predicament today. What felt ‘good’ about my stealing, was not to have the weight of an eternal heaven or hell fire fate hanging over my choices. To do good only because of the promise of reward or fear of punishment. I didn’t need religion to tell me it stealing is wrong. That layer of bullshit is not required.
hmmmm $8.88 .. Hey that’s expensive for what I bought right.. wheres that receipt… $%@%# you COLES!!!!
Phew .. I’m not going to hell. I’m an “honest Charlie” after all!!