This quote, although humorous and fairly cynical, contains many truths. It speaks to the uneven nature of human beings, that many are compromised, corrupted, and have an incomplete understanding of who they are and what matters and is quite important in governing their choices as they live their lives. It reflects as well, that the taking of oaths is a serious business, that people will expect them to be honored, and it is a mark against you if you do not do this, and in some cases there may be legal ramifications and potential punishment when high-level responsibilities are given to a person in trust and only secured by the oath they take. Some oaths, therefore, are more complicated with more at stake and greater obligation than others, but we can tell you the Law of Karma sees all that you do, and to the Law of Karma an oath is an oath and must be honored or will cause a stain on your soul if you do not live up to your obligations, even in small matters, so there will be a karmic penalty of some kind for any misdeed, big or small. It is also a test of character and something that is much prized universally, to honor one’s oaths as obligations, so anyone seen as breaking an oath, a solemn promise, in effect, may be judged harshly and it will be a significant liability harming their reputation and potentially, future treatment by others, who may be quick to spread the word, and that stain on a person’s reputation might cost them dearly in losing the trust of their fellow citizens.
So this quote cleverly encompasses the all too real state of affairs, that humans are not reliable oath keepers but rather quite prone to be selfish and to serve their self-interests above the needs of others with respect to oaths they might have taken, which would require a higher standard of conduct than the person is willing or capable of maintaining on a lifelong basis. Sadly, it is all too true, that many people cannot be counted on to be steadfast and reliable in maintaining high standards of conduct. So the idea of a solemn oath is to put on record someone has taken a pledge to honor that commitment and thereby declaring publically their willingness to put all on the line, at least with respect to their reputation as well as any legal implications, and because of the challenges it represents to do so, and maintain it successfully, will be very much to a person’s credit and they will be rightly honored for their service if they can maintain their integrity and follow through.