People have idols; things they value above all others; even, unfortunately more than they value themselves – their self-worth, their honour and their reputation. There has been a spate of media reports about people who have indulged in, shall we say, less than charitable behaviour – I refer particularly to Mark Standen, the former deputy director of the New South Wales Crime Commission who has been convicted of drugs charges and perverting the course of justice. But there are others – lawyers, doctors and civil servants who have been found guilty of malpractice of one type or another.
I have said before that poets can often say in a few words what it takes others, like me, many words to express. There is a very appropriate verse in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (an 11th Century Persian mathematician, astronomer and poet) - which goes as follows (verse 69):
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men’s Eyes much wrong:
Have drown’d my Honour in a shallow cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.
For many people their idols are money (or the “stuff’ that money can buy); or prestige and the power that comes with the position. If you “love” something above all others – an idol - this will soon be apparent to all who know you. You will have removed yourself from the rest of humanity; you will be using people as a means to an end; you will be using people to acquire more of what you “love”. They will sense this and you will have done your “credit in Men’s eyes much wrong”.
To get your idol you will cheat, you will lie, you will become untrustworthy, you will be immoral, you will not be ethical in your activities. You will have drowned your honour in a shallow cup – lost your honour for something of little value – a “shallow cup”.
Your love for, your fixation to, your worship of your idol means that you have lost all sense of proportion or reason and are prepared to sell your self-worth – who you are – for something of no substance, a “song”. You will have diminished yourself as a human being.
No one will ever trust you again – your self-worth, your reputation, your honour will have been damaged almost beyond repair.