Posted: December 2010
I did not see or hear the Queen’s Christmas message but reports say that she emphasized rules and the need to adhere to them.
Rules are essential. They set out the basics and give us all a benchmark.
But they are not inviolable – they give us guidance. When in doubt, stick with them but never apply them without consideration. To do so demonstrates unthinking narrowness and indicates dull, flat minds unable to explore what might be. But then Brenda came through Hitler’s war and in those dark days following rules was more of an imperative if the free peoples of the world were to survive. Infact, that attitude was prevalent during the preceding decades of the 20th century and the Victorian era.
But the reality is that, alongside duty and selflessness, individualism has been applauded and encouraged throughout history. In Hamlet, Polonius’ advice to his son exhorted him to be true to himself, “and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Go back further to the Bible and Matthew’s parable of the talents. Each of us has two duties, the first to himself, the second to his fellow men. They are linked but they are separate and they do not conflict with each other. The mistake many make is in thinking that they do.
Leave a Comment
Fields marked with * are required fields.