Monday, March 31, 2008

The Crime of Indecision and the Crime of Indifference

There are moments when everything becomes clear, when every action constitutes a commitment, when every choice has its price, when nothing is neutral anymore.

Albert Camus

During the most uncompromising and dangerous years in the 20th century, Camus threw down the gauntlet. There were people in France and around the world who wanted to sit on the fence, think about the best course of action, weigh their options, and hide behind the many alibis for refusal to make a decision and then act on that decision. We all try so hard to hide, to wait out the crisis, hoping that events will move quickly and deprive us of the curse of choice, hoping that events will make the decision for us. It is human nature, it is an understandable cowardice. But still, it is cowardice.

A parable for this moment and for all the moments in history when every choice has its price and nothing is neutral anymore:

The semi-mythical Athenian leader Solon made it a law that anyone who refused to take sides in a revolution would lose all civil rights. That way, people could not stand aside and hope trouble would pass them by while they waited to see which side would win.

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