Shakespeare and Self Restraint
“There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” This is one of my favorite lines from Shakespeare. He recognizes the role that reason had in ascribing value to our behavior and formulating social parameters so that we did not ever retreat to our violent, primitive past. (Oh, let me be honest! He saw that we could with reason sublimate our nastiness and pretend that we are civilized!)
Where would we be without this filter, though I’ll take sublimated violence any day of the week over murder and mayhem. I heard someone quip recently that the U.N. ought to solve recurrent outbreaks of tribal violence by giving th0se tribes N.F.L. franchises.
In another one of Shakespeare’s plays he attributes the beastly behavior of one of his characters to having his passions “outrun the pauser reason.”
And I’ll admit that my “pauser” has not always been operative and it has sure led to some poor decisions.