Thursday, 27 August 2015

No greater bugbear


Strength is incomprehensible by weakness, and, therefore, the more terrible. There is no greater bugbear than a strong-willed relative in the circle of his own connections.

Nathaniel Hawthorne - The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

It's a common problem - strong-willed people who lack the capacity to be anything else, who cannot use their inflexibility for the common good. It isn’t merely relatives either.

Hawthorne presents the alternative as weakness which is harsh, but his was a harsh world and what else is it when we strip it bare? Somebody has to give way, be accommodating, turn the other cheek, adapt. Either that or move on, out of range.

A small percentage of such people cause havoc because they cannot be accommodated and without enormous disruption will not be ejected, sidelined or otherwise made safe for everyone else. More than a bugbear I'd say.


Demetrius said...

During my working life a great many meetings and discussion groups etc. were attended. Too many times there was one person there, often male, who had to be right and had to the the main man. If there were two or three as could happen it all got very very tedious. It did not matter that they were wrong, ignorant or others made this clear, they still had to win. So on retirement I vowed to avoid meetings etc at almost any cost.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - my experiences were similar. Since retirement I've never been to a meeting and don't intend to.