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to be or not to be 1

as one legendary man dies in a cloud of controversy and deception, another brazenly ploughs the seeds of discontent watered by that same cloud …

all little boys desire to be king,

but if they mature they soon realize it is all vanity and that they are mere mortals,…

… but some don’t

cry the beloved country…

 

Hamlet offers an eerie ring to our present context…

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveller returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Orisons
Be all my sins remembered.[2]

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4 Comments

  1. how to effect change without becoming King, that is also a question – I worry that good men do nothing, from fear that they might be like the Kings & the Kings prosper all the while. How do we know that our intentions are pure, or if not pure, at least purer. How do we know if we should rather stand back, for fear that our efforts would be tainted by our humanity, or to stand forward, hoping, despite our humanity, that our efforts would contribute to a greater collective good?

    I honestly ask.

    • that’s a big question indeed. Hamlet also seemed to be asking whether he should retaliate and take revenge or simply seek solace and relief in his own death.
      in all these socio-political challenges we face so often these days perhaps we need as big a picture as we can get before making a move this way or that. to resign and withdraw through fear or to strike in anger are equally problematic as often, if not always, a macrocosmic issue is the sum of a vast number of microcosmic events. sometimes this cluster of individual developments need to reach maturity in themselves and then it would seem wiser to stay the hand so to speak. other times it could seem that the time is full and action needs to be swift and definitive…. either way there is the danger of arrogant presumption threatening…
      we only have our own perspective and our own emotions, so perhaps here is where wisdom is found in upright and mature community?
      perhaps the one thing we can do is to speak out honestly and as wisely as we can … not in fear of retribution but in brave hope of resolution?

      • thank you, Lloyd. it is a difficuilt one. i fear arrogant presumption. perhaps we should just wait. quietly. let ripeness come by itself.

      • thanks, Lloyd


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