Monday, June 4, 2012

Fear and Conscience

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all...

Hamlet, Act III, scene i (58–90).

Poor Hamlet, his uncle murders his father, the King, and marries his mother, the Queen. Hamlet beset by his father's ghost frets on what course of action he should take. Hamlet soliloquizes - "To be or not to be, ..." what makes action impossible. 'Tis “conscience [that] does make cowards of us all . . . thus the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.”

Shakespeare's Hamlet was concerned with the question of morality. Can the murder of his uncle appease the murder of his father? What then is to become of his mother? What part in the deed does she play?

What of those who are amoral, those who have no conscience? For them, the Old Man thinks that fear itself makes us cowards. It is the fear of uncertainty. What consequences do our actions engender? "Ay, there is the rub," for who knows what may come.

The Old Man is not alone to be amazed by Shakespeare's wisdom. Wisdom suggests experience. Maybe the idea for the words are created in The George Inn, 77 Borough High Street, Borough, London, one of London's oldest pubs and situated near the London Bridge. It is the Winter of 1599, Shakespeare is sitting at a table with his best friend Richard Burbage for whom he wrote many of the parts of his plays including Hamlet. The two of them have a decision to make, their theater lease is up and a new location has been found across the river. But they lack the funds to purchase the lumber for a new theater. One of them poses the suggestion, that they dismantle the theater that they currently lease, one that they built with their own funds and haul the lumber across the Thames over the ice and though the snow to the new location.

Does fear of the law, uncertainty of the legality of their act, cross their minds. Surely, it does. Fortified in the choice by a pint of bitter, was it William Shakespeare or Richard Burbage who said, "Fie on the consequences, let's do it." They did and the Globe Theater was built.

The Old Man must make a decision, indeed he makes many decisions every day whose consequences may be uncertain. This decision seems a simple one, for The Old Man is updating the web pages for Traditions Furniture. Simple as it may seem, the Old Man knows that the coding involved is extensive. Multiple pages will be added. New links and new images will be uploaded. Mistakes can be costly. Google, the monolithic god that determines search placement may not smile on the new changes.

Still, like Hamlet, the Old Man must march ahead, for to not act is to act. It is to choose the same course of action in a world that moves on. By not acting, we fall behind.

Check out the changes on Traditions Furniture and tell the Old Man if he was right.

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