Edvard Munch, 1896, Separation
Circumstance, Virtue

The Moment Before We React

When we are mistreated, most of us react, and reactions are emotional. We get angry, upset and we grasp the wrongful treatment with both hands, like a crab might his dinner.

Coloured lithograph, 1870, after J. Bakewell, 1771.
Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

Turning Against the Ideal

We look up at the ideal we fall so short of, embittered. If only that target wasn’t so high, or better again, if it didn’t exist at all, we wouldn’t appear so dreadful! In doing so, we bring the heavens crashing down to join us in the slums. Now we are level.

Carlo Crivelli, 1486, 'The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius'
Circumstance, Meaning

What Does Life Expect of Us?

The old moral philosophers called it the ‘finis ultimus’ (utmost aim) or ‘summum bonum’ (greatest good). The utmost to aim for in terms of our character, for those around us and our society.

Jan Toorop, 1893, The Three Brides.
Meaning

One Choice Becomes Many

Without us realising, every choice we make contributes to who we become, shapes our character and our integrity. Like droplets of water, over time, they will make an ocean. If we really believed we are a result of all our choices, perhaps we would choose more carefully.