Melancholy Musing#6: Lèse majesté, and how to respond

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this ….

said the Duke of Gloucester in Act 1, Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Richard III, or to be more exact, the opening words of the play.  (And for those whose history is not up to scratch, the Duke of Gloucester did sometime later become King Richard III). But I don’t want to give a history lesson, digressing from my theme.

As I write this, winter (or what passes for it) is settling and I enjoy the growing coldness though it is far from the winter I like – the ones with the bleak sunless days, the biting chill, and sleet and hail….. but then again it is not my intention to discourse on weather but use it as a metaphor for my state of mind for the lèse majesté I have been subject to. The past few days – I had intended to focus on Dec 6 & 7, 2010 which offered three cases but I find it is continuing unabated – have been some of the worst.

To take some of them, the matter of a planned treat, specially organised on request but casually forgotten, the  cavalier treatment by someone who till some time ago used to be profusely thankful for what I had done but now has undergone a change and treats every interaction a most painful obligation (and now I realise there are two of them), information about a meeting I tried to arrange that it fell through because of lack of interest, as I gauge (it is another fact that this information was only given to me a full two weeks later)… these were the latest instances following a series of stand-ups by almost everyone I know, disinclination to reciprocate basic courtesies… and so many more that I do not want to recall, let aloe write down.   

This issue is that they are all part of a pattern that stretches back many years, though the actors and the manifestations do change. The only that does not change – and I hold it to be an integral reason for the malaise, I conclude on extensive reflection, is my response, which I do- though on hindsight- judge to be most insufficient and ineffective. There is much to be said for the decent approach and taking the moral high stand in overlooking faults of, but in these times, it is frequently mistaken for weakness, especially by those I feel are suffering from a lack of manners.

So what is the way out? Open fire at any transgressor? Send in the commandos? (Sometimes, I do wish I could). But the more correct and much braver way is do nothing at all, despite all the heartburn, and continue to follow my own code of conduct as if nothing has happened – nothing that affects me overmuch.

Of course, there will be changes… if there are those not interested in partaking of my assistance and hospitality, they will be not be given any more opportunity – of my own volition – to abuse it…. . But as is laid in my code, which is far above other earthly considerations, I will not brush aside any appeal or request – express or implied – if Ido feel inclined, or that my intervention can be useful or is sought but steadfastly refrain from the habit of volunteering. It will also be in order that any gratitude, let alone quid pro quo, is not even expected and its anticipation will be a crime. I seek it from my peers only, and most of the current crop fall painfully short of these standards.

For those who think they are too good, I will let them persist in their misguided delusions. They would do well to realise that there is a circle of fortune…. and it keeps on moving in its circular path, slow, no doubt but moving nevertheless, with the result that those exulting in their time of the zenith do not realise how ephemeral their position is…. or perhaps, they do not possess the discernment required. Either way, it is certainly not my concern.

I shall have more to say on these topics, but sometime else……

Well, this is the new method that seems feasible to pursue and the New Year, a few weeks away, offers the best time to put it in practice.


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