Sunday, 24 February 2013

Duty is but a pot


Where shall I begin? 

Begin with what you have done, my friend. And stop wishing you had not done it. 

I did not do it. I was led to do it. 

What led you to do it? 

I was deceived. 

What intent lay behind the deception? 

I do not know. 

But you must judge. 

If she had truly loved me she could not have let me go. 

If she had truly loved you, could she have continued to deceive? 

She gave me no choice. She said herself that marriage between us was impossible. 

What reason did she give? 

Our difference in social position. 

A noble cause. 

Then Ernestina. I have given her my solemn promise. 

It is already broken. 

I will mend it. 

With love? Or with guilt? 

It does not matter which. A vow is sacred. 

If it does not matter which, a vow cannot be sacred. 

My duty is clear. 

Charles, Charles, I have read that thought in the cruelest eyes. Duty is but a pot. It holds whatever is put in 
it, from the greatest evil to the greatest good. 

She wished me to go. I could see it in her eyes—a contempt. 

Shall I tell you what Contempt is doing at this moment? She is weeping her heart out. 

I cannot go back. 

Do you think water can wash that blood from your loins? 

I cannot go back. 

Did you have to meet her again in the Undercliff? Did you have to stop this night in Exeter? Did you have 
to go to her room? Let her hand rest on yours? Did you— 

I admit these things! I have sinned. But I was fallen into her snare. 

Then why are you now free of her? 

My poor Charles, search your heart—you thought when you came to this city, did you not, to prove to yourself you were not yet in the prison of your future. But escape is not one act, my friend. It is no more achieved by that than you could reach Jerusalem from here by one small step. Each day, Charles, each hour, it has to be taken again. Each minute the nail waits to be hammered in. You know your choice. You stay in prison, what your time calls duty, honor, self-respect, and you are comfortably safe. Or you are free and crucified. Your only companions the stones, the thorns, the turning backs; the silence of cities, 
and their hate. 

I am weak. 

But ashamed of your weakness. 





- John Fowles (The French Lieutenant's Woman)

7 comments:

  1. I wonder if you have the same view as me with the words:

    " I will mend it.

    With love? Or with guilt?

    It does not matter which. A vow is sacred.

    If it does not matter which, a vow cannot be sacred. " ???

    In my opinion, love is sacred. And it is what makes a vow sacred. So a relationship should be mended only with love...

    In your opinion, what do you think is that which makes a vow sacred?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, what makes a vow sacred? Love does, because through love comes all things good and right like respect, honour, care and friendship. I love the whole conversation, it makes me think. But I like the part 'My duty is clear---- Charles, Charles, I have read that thought in the cruelest eyes. Duty is but a pot. It holds whatever is put in
      it, from the greatest evil to the greatest good.'
      So often you hear people repeat that line again and again throughout history, saying, 'it is my duty' but truly defines duty?
      So many killed all for the sake of 'duty'. I hate that word. The the most terrible and utterly wrong actions seem to be accounted for under the word: 'duty'

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    2. Yes! I also don't like it when people are trying to reason that way! Those Nazis who killed so many people reasoned during the Nuremberg Trials that they were just doing their "duties" when they received orders to execute people. :(

      Humans have free will, and if they are ordered to do something that they really, truly, and honestly never want to do, they could always choose not to. Nay, I rather think that people who do things out of "duty" have a pint of willingness in it, otherwise, they could have done something against it.

      It would be sad when the time comes when governments would be using robots for soldiers. These robot soldiers could only do their "duty" which is what is programmed in them to do, so there is no way for them to do something against their "duty."
      And if one compares such robots to humans and do not find any difference in carrying out "duties," then it is so sad because humans have the one big difference of having a free will.

      I wonder what for you is duty? Do you think that the required duty of humans could be the upholding of morality and virtue?? Could that be human's "natural duty?"

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    3. I would say that if we are born into sin as soon as we take our first breath than we cannot escape our faults, but for Christians, 'duty' should be to try our hardest at representing Jesus wherever we are, whatever we are doing.
      I think it is your duty as a human upon this earth to respect all that is within it. It is your duty to care.

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    4. I am not sure if people in your place believe that they are born into sin as soon as taking the first breath, but here where I live, people do believe of having a sin as soon as being born into the world. People here believe that the baby must be baptized in order to be cleansed from the sin..but there are many families who are poor and could not afford a baptismal ceremony, so they are quite alarmed and try their best to effect a baptism to the growing children....

      But I myself do not fuss too much about it. For me, if there is a Catholic who has not been baptized yet, but living his life according to the way of God, he's more blessed compared to a baptized one, but living his life without faith in the Lord.

      Your words about our duty is to respect all that is within earth and to care, is really touching! What if you are a very rich person? I assume you'd be following on the footsteps of the late Lady Diana.. I wonder if you'd be a philanthropist?

      But sometimes, it is hard to "care." You know here in the Philippines, there are always beggars on the streets. When I was young, I always gave them coins... But then I discovered that most of these people are under the control of some crime syndicate who were using beggars to get money and use the money for drugs :(
      And there are also thousands of beggar children here.. I used to give them coins, but one day I was surprised because when I gave a certain child some coins, I later saw him going to a place where he used his money to play video games :( Then there are children who do not use the money to play video games, but their parents use it to buy alcohol and get drunk all day :( These children cannot afford to go to school, and their parents do not work and they even use their children for begging for money so that they could have alcohol and cigarettes :(

      So I've decided to give them spare food instead of coins, but later I've heard that there are some parents who beat their children if they could not get coins :(

      How would you feel if you are here and such children beggar are in front of you?

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    5. Thank you Ramon (love the new title by the way)if I did have a lot of money I would give all I could to others who needed it. What you said about little children begging on the street is so upsetting, there are people here who do similar things, though you don't see children begging, it's still here, poverty and brokenness and it's hard. It's good to give food, yes because then they don't spend money on drugs, but ultimately nothing will be solved if organisations don't get out there and try and help these people, right from the root, those that are sending the children out. it breaks my heart too. We should support charities more because then they can get out there and help them.

      God bless you mightily!

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  2. Thank you Lady Grace! :)
    You were the reason why I was inspired to change the name of my profile!! :D :D
    You are just amazing! I have come to know money as a kind of very infesting thing that even good-hearted people can't help fighting and turning vain just for it.. Some even make money in vain excess... :(
    I am feeling this great comfort just talking to someone like you who is ready to give as much money as you could if you have them, to people who need it!

    I can't imagine what kind of poverty is there in Britain.. When you wrote that children don't beg for money, I even become more clueless of what poverty is like there...
    Do you mean orphans??

    I am sure that there are no children there who roam the town all day with a sack on their backs and look inside one bin after another, searching for excess food.. That's what many children here do.

    Even if primary education here is free, many children still could not attend school because they could not even afford basic things like shoes, notes, pens, and uniform... And in many public schools, 3 or 4 students share one dog-eared book which has thousands of error, because the school could not afford the more expensive but error-free books.

    But the main reason for poverty here is the corruption by government officials. The corruption in the government is a "culture" because even if a candidate is very kind, honest, and selfless, he always couldn't help turning to corruption once he is elected... :(

    Even some charity organizations here are being the target of government official's corruption. For example, if there are papers about legality that the government needs to sign for a charity, the government officials would make it a very very very long process, always delaying, so that the charity organization would have to provide some "gift" in order for the government officials to speed up the process :(

    Have you ever thought of working in a charity organization?
    God bless you mightily too! I like how you have charitable thoughts even if you're living in a country which is not decaying in poverty. You are nobly unique!

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