We’ve all heard the phrase ” To save face”, or ” to lose face”. Have you ever wondered where the concept of ” face” originated? Face is a Chinese concept, which, as many Chinese philosophies have done, spread through many other countries and cultures. Western culture has difficulty defining it or understanding it, mainly because Face is rooted in Eastern spirituality and an Eastern perception of mans place in the universe, which Western religions have no comparable teachings of.
To truly understand Face, and the complexity of it, one needs to have at least some background in Asian cultures and philosophies. While I make no claims to being an expert in all aspects of Asian religions, I believe my exposure to Taoism over a twenty year period of the study of Chinese medicine grants me some modest insights. I believe this is a very important time to have a conversation about Face. Here’s why.
First, let me clarify that this is not intended as a political post. It’s intended as a teaching, and it’s intended to inspire and uplift. Now… Face is not about the Ego construct of someone. It goes much deeper than that. Face is about honor, about respect, about being aware of the people and beings around you. Understand that in China and Japan, there is an indwelling sense of ones ancestors. A living awareness of family, history, and the sacrifices others have made. To act in a manner that brings shame upon ones family or ones ancestors is seen as a betrayal of all they have stood for. To diminish ones ancestors is seen as a grievous action. There is nothing comparable in Western traditions. To behave in a manner that ” blackens ones face” is something that impacts ones entire lineage. To bring disgrace and dishonor upon oneself reflects upon every aspect of ones life. This is much broader than the ego, clearly.
When we think about diplomacy, and diplomatic relationships with other countries and other cultures, the success or failure of those relationships depends upon treating others with respect. If an individual is incapable of doing that, then the state of our alliances and partnerships around the world will suffer. Unfortunately for our country, the man currently occupying the White House is personality disordered. He has been diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder by a number of top psychiatrists and psychologists. ( A petition for his removal was signed by 26,000 licensed mental health professionals. ) A person with malignant narcissism is, by definition, incapable of empathy, and living from a place of respect. They are extremely susceptible to flattery and manipulation. They are without conscience, a law unto themselves. They have no honor and no face. They lie. Their word means nothing. Agreements and contracts are broken before the ink dries on the page. It is a condition that there is no cure for. They are sociopaths or psychopaths, depending on their degree of intelligence.
The United States is beginning to lose Face around the world. Our allies are recognizing the fact that the current president has no face. He cannot be trusted. From a karmic point of view, our government has a long history of breaking its word, breaking treaties. Just ask any Native American. We can change that. We deserve leaders in public office that are men and women of honor and integrity. This is not about Republicans vs Democrats. This is about our place in the world. Our position on defending Earth Mother, the children, the animals, the water, the air we breathe.
I choose to live from honor and compassion. I choose to live from empathy and respect for all living things. My word is my bond. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. I want to live in a good medicine way, a way that brings honor to my ancestors, and to my teachers. I aspire to be a woman of great face, and I hope to inspire those around me to do the same. We must not tolerate those who have no face. They can have no place in our lives. We, the people, have the power granted to us by our Constitution, to demand the removal of this blight upon the land. Our survival depends upon it. Earth Mother is counting on us. I send my prayers and burn Sage and sweetgrass that this may unfold as quickly as possible. Join me in the intention to restore our Face in the world. May we once again become that refuge for all, as promised by our Statue of Liberty. We are one heart. Blessings, Reverend Judith Star-Medicine