Divine Neutrality, Blog. Science, Philosophy

Restraint is valiant.

October 22nd, 2008

“Many would be cowards if they had courage enough.”

Thomas Fuller
restraintBefore this stepping stone suffered its blow it read:


It takes valor to hold your tongue. The common view is that to do battle is valiant. But, in truth, to refrain from battle is valianter! The reward is the husbanding of precious life’s moments, as exemplified in the following story called “Righteous indignation is a temper tantrum.”

It’s Friday. Morning. The telephone rings. I answer it.


“Marvin Chester? This is Dr. Andersen’s office.
You have an appointment at 10 am next Tuesday.
I need to cancel it.
I’ll put you down for 2 pm.
Do you have any problem with this?”

I am offended by the words and the tone of voice. I think of answering:

“Is this a command from an imperial highness? When you break an appointment, common courtesy dictates an apology. And a request for another appointment. Not a summons to appear. Not a recital of when audience will next be granted. I’d like to speak to Dr. Andersen. Please have her call me.”

That’s what went through my mind but it didn’t pass my lips. Instead I answered:

“O.K. 2 pm it is.”

On hanging up the phone I rejoice in the blessings of perspective. I refrained from battle. By restraining my outrage I bought myself perhaps hours, if not days, of precious life moments that would otherwise have been wasted in the fruitless instruction of others on how to behave.

This stepping stone once read:


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