To sleep with a clear conscience

Sometimes at night I sit up and wonder, I wonder about a lot of things really, but more and more often I wonder about the conscience of people. I wonder what people really think. I wonder what it would be like to be a fly on the wall in their house.

As a mother, I work everyday to ensure that my position of power, as small as it may be, is one that is maintained well. I try my best everyday to do the right thing. Sometimes that means I stay awake into the wee hours of the morning second guessing myself, or worrying about motherly worries. Even on good days, when at the end of the night I look back and think "Today was good" and all seems right with the world, I second guess myself.

On bad days I find it very hard to concentrate on much of anything. Anything but the mistakes I've made that day. Did I yell too much, or for the wrong reasons? Were the tantrums my fault? Could I have handled todays trials better?

On other days I wonder, if such a small role of power can cause such a large amount of worry and sleepless nights, how does a person feel when they hold the utmost of power? What of our president? Or other world leaders? I look at photos of Bush searching, searching for some glimmer of worry about the state of our country. All I see is smugness or confusion.

How can someone who has so much control not know or understand what the consequences are? Or worse yet, how can someone not care? I don't understand it one bit. But I still try. I try to figure out what he could be thinking. Sometimes I wonder abut history, about other leaders who have fallen on their own swords - I wonder what went through their minds right before it happened. I wonder if they saw it coming, or were completely surprised. Sometimes I tell myself that our president is just an idiot, he doesn't understand what he's doing. Other times I look at the news, I read the blogs, I see the pictures and I can't deny that he knows - and that he is careless and indifferent.

{The painting is The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David. It is one of my favorite paintings, the story behind it is so intriguing. I wrote an entire thesis style paper about it many years ago. Artistically, socially, this painting represents a great deal more than one would ever think.}


Anon-Paranoid said...

For better or worse he has no soul so therefore he has no problems sleeping at night.

God Bless.

Larry said...

"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence."

Frederick Douglass

enigma4ever said...

what anon says is true, he is indeed a souless heartless bastard....and I never call anyone that...

(well, who doesn't thoroughly deserve it..)

lovely post...you wrote about Conscience...I wrote about Humanity over at Cosmic Messege( I cross post there once a month)....two sleepless moms laying awake worrying...basically about the same thing...

enigma4ever said...

okay I gotta say I am totally intrigued about the painting...and you gotta do some kind of breif synopsis now..at some point...the curiosity is killing me..

Anok said...

Anon, Enigma, Larry, thank you for your comments. Anon, the debate over souls is an intense one that I would like to have with you one day.

Larry, Great quote.

Enigma - Yes I think that if mothers aren't awake and worrying then we aren't paying attention ;) As for the synopsis, I will try to keep it brief.

The painting represents the death of a revolutionary in France during the Reign of Terror, Jean-Paul Marat. He was the writer for a paper called "The Friend of The People" (Translated). The portrait portrays his death, at the hands of a woman. Marat was often found in a bathtub, as respite from a disease (or current speculation an allergy to gluten). The woman supposed Charlotte Corday came to see him to kill him, to save France. But as the story goes, she had a second reason. If I remember correctly she needed a written statement from Marat to help save her son during these troubling times. She sought the help of Marat, in keeping her son safe. So after he signed the paper she needed, she killed him.

In my synopsis I went into great detail about the actual artwork involved, and less about the story behind it - the brushwork, the color, composition and such - but these things are not mutually exclusive to the story. Notice the heavy color and brushwork at the top of the painting, weighing down on Marat, the pen and paper still in his hand. Notice the peaceful look on his face, and the position in which he is lying. Even the bathtub is a symbol in my mind.

I chose this painting as a visual representation of my thoughts because here is a revolutionary man, quite disabled at times, who died helping an enemy in a spurt of compassion. The tub to me, represents a cleanliness, his position reminiscent of Jesus in Michelangelo's Pieta, his face peaceful - not in pain or horror as one would expect to see on the face of a man who has been betrayed, and then murdered, after giving aid to a worried mother. He, Marat, sleeps with a clear conscience. He, Marat represents all of us who are here, doing our part to create a better world for worried mothers, and fathers, and brothers and sisters.

Be it the peaceful resistance of the Monks in Burma, to the most violent Black Bloc riot, whether it is in silence, or words, or bricks - to the Average American Patriots, Angry patriots, the Anon's, the Enigmas, the Kokeshes, Brian Beckers, Tina Richards and Cindy Sheehans - We are all coming together in the same spirit of Marat, are we not? Fighting for what is right, showing compassion in the face of betrayel.

And while we may lie awake at night, Damn it all to hell if our conscience isn't clear