August 29: on turning the other cheek

When you are in a queue and somebody pushes in, what is the most ethical and laudable reaction you can have? Do you just accept it, turn away and let the person flout the rules of the group or do you pipe up and say excuse me we are queueing here. everyone takes his turn. It’s how we do it here. The latter, surely. You take responsibility for the collectivity, your culture, the society you live in. The ethical position is not to turn the other cheek. Turning the other cheek is a renunciation of your engagement with society, it is a closing-in upon yourself. Do not turn the other cheek. As far as is workable for you, stand up for the rules of the society that protects you by supporting it. The Christian injunction to just do nothing and wait for death is rife in Jesus’ teachings. “Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heavens, they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them.” (Matthew) Actually the birds of the air are working all day long to get their food, make their nests, get on their bike to other climes when the season changes. Waiting for death is not an ethical injunction these days.

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