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February 18, 2010


Bente M

If it is 'wisdom' not to let things get to you, why do we for instance need a conscience? Just a thought...


Bente, you raise an interesting question. I took the word "things" (as in "not let things get to you") to refer to the things I personally struggle with -- all the petty, and sometimes not to petty, hurts, indignities, inconveniences and even losses of everyday life. Yes, of course, we must care about the morality of our own actions, about injustice, and about the real pain of ourselves and other people. My own ideal is someone like Nelson Mandela, I think, who was able to throw off so much injustice done personally to him because reacting to it would detract from his large goal of freedom for all non-white South Africans. I think he, perhaps, did "not let things get to him" in the way that Botton means. Is that any better?

Bente M

Thank you for explaining! :) Sometimes i don't understand fully all nuances of the beautiful and very word-rich English language. However, when it comes to Nelson Mandela, I do understand what you mean, and I totally agree with you. A man who transcends integrity, humanity and intelligence combined with simplicity. An example and ideal for all the world. A beautiful human being.

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