Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Those Who Mind DO Matter!

Ever hear the phrase, "Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind"? This is a quote from Bernard M. Baruch.  Now, let me say that I know next to nothing about Baruch and I might be doing him a disservice by taking his quote out of context. At any rate it isn't Baruch who I'm addressing, it is the popular usage of the quote as a means of saying, "Get off my back!" This quote is usually trotted out when someone is accused of doing something immoral, below their dignity as a human being etc. Someone quoted this quote to me today and even though I had heard that quote numerous times before, this time something about it rubbed me the wrong way. It set off a train of thought that led me to C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain

In Chapter 3 of The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis writes:

I might, indeed, have learned, even from the poets, that Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness: that even love between the sexes is, as in Dante, 'a lord of terrible aspect'. There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness (in the sense given above) is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it. Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object - we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition are punished. It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes. (Emphasis mine)

On this blog, I mainly talk about people who are long dead, so just to switch things up, I'll use a contemporary example: Rob Ford, the notorious current mayor of Toronto. 

Anyone who says they love Rob Ford, yet don't care how he spends his spare time *coughdrugsprostitutesbingedrinkingcough* so long as he's happy, doesn't love him. Someone who really loved him would not be satisfied with his recent behaviour and would show him their disapproval and tough love. Those who mind your behaviour and circumstances are often those who love you the most and it's those who don't mind that don't matter.

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