Friday, January 16, 2009

Always act as if your Acts were seen…

Balthasar Gracian, the 17th Century philosopher and Jesuit priest, is famous for his Art of Worldly Wisdom aphorisms--300 in all. The one featured below is number 297:

Surely it is a great advantage to us to act as if we were under constant supervision...

“He must see all round who sees that men see him or will see him. He knows that walls have ears and that ill deeds rebound back. Even when alone he acts as if the eyes of the whole world were upon him. For as he knows that sooner or later all will be known, so he considers those to be present as witnesses who must afterwards hear of the deed. He that wished the whole world might always see him did not mind that his neighbours could see him over their walls.”[1]

If we were to act as if we were constantly supervised we’d scarcely do a wrong thing, or at least the things we do that are wrong would force us to re-assess. We’d have the chance to turn around perhaps before it was too late?

And of all the things we do, right or wrong, and the way we do these things, diligently, lazily or otherwise, we must know that we self-judge ourselves through our consciences.

We do the right thing i.e. do a good day’s work and we feel good. Alternatively, we arrive at work and feel sluggish and do nothing to break the cycle of mental lethargy and we inevitably reap the reward of an unfulfilled day and perhaps the guilt of not serving our employers.

The same rule is applicable in all our life roles, be they within the family, out in the community or anything else.

And in all reality there is a Supervisor in our midsts.

And he works through our consciences. Being personally accountable is a great achievement that brings with it rewards we could not have possibly foreseen.

There is no greater freedom perhaps, than melding private life with public and being the same person in all spheres, not minding public showings because there was nothing to hide.

“You tell on the sin, or the sin will inevitably tell on you.” –Sy Rogers.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1] Source:

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