[It] exists in a society to the degree that those enlisted in its contending interests have a basic minimal regard for each other: one party or interest seeks the defeat of an opposing interest on matters of policy, but at the same time seeks to avoid crushing the opposition, denying the legitimacy of its existence or its values, or inflicting upon it extreme and gratuitous humiliations beyond the substance of the gains that are being sought.
The basic humanity of the opposition is not forgotten; civility is not abandoned; the sense that a community life must be carried on after the acerbic issues of the moment have been fought over and won is seldom very far out of mind; an awareness that the opposition will someday be the government is always present
my advice to you is simple:
find out what you are meant to do and do it,
and find out who you really are, under all the junk that has been attached to you by those who would make you everybody else, and be that.
what you are meant to do and who you really are are not the same thing:
what you’re meant to do is learned, discovered,
but who you really are has always been there — it is a matter of unlearning who you have been told to be, or told you are, or should be,
until all that is left is the knowledge of who you are and always were: nobody but yourself.
Lois is a type — a particularly rare and extraordinary type, but a type nonetheless. She’s the type of person who seems to know everybody, and this type can be found in every walk of life. Someone I met at a wedding (actually, the wedding of the daughter of Lois’s neighbors, the Newbergers) told me that if I ever went to Massapequa I should look up a woman named Marsha, because Marsha was the type of person who knew everybody. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the word is that a tailor named Charlie Davidson knows everybody. In Houston, I’m told, there is an attorney named Harry Reasoner who knows everybody. There are probably Lois Weisbergs in Akron and Tucson and Paris and in some little town in the Yukon Territory, up by the Arctic Circle.
We’ve all met someone like Lois Weisberg. Yet, although we all know a Lois Weisberg type, we don’t know much about the Lois Weisberg type. Why is it, for example, that these few, select people seem to know everyone and the rest of us don’t? And how important are the people who know everyone?
My Lois is a guy called Jeff. Read this New Yorker piece for more on six degrees of separation
Mohandas K. Gandhi was convinced much of the violence in society and in our personal lives stems from the passive violence that we commit against each other. He described these acts of passive violence as the “Seven Blunders”. Grandfather gave me the list in 1947 just before we left India to return to South Africa where my father, Manilal, Gandhi’s second son, and my mother, Sushila, worked for nonviolent change. In the Indian tradition of adding one’s knowledge to the ancient wisdom being passed on, and in keeping with what Grandfather said and wrote about responsibility, I have added an eighth item to the list of blunders. – Arun Gandhi
- Wealth Without Work
- Pleasure Without Conscience
- Knowledge Without Character
- Commerce Without Morality
- Science Without Humanity
- Worship Without Sacrifice
- Politics Without Principles
- Rights Without Responsibilities