Thursday, January 22, 2009

Impeccable Imperative

The notion of living life in an impeccable way is an ancient one. It was part of the teachings of Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus and is a frequent maxim in the discourse of new age self help gurus.

But what does it mean to be impeccable? My trusty Oxford Canadian Dictionary tells me it is to behave in a way which is both faultless and exemplary. Wow, that’s a tall order!
With all of the balls we have in the air today, who has time to be completely without fault, never mind set an example for others. That’s just too much pressure right?.

While there are saints among us who are profoundly kind to all they meet, giving of themselves and generally making the world a better place, most of us operate in a zero balance state – comfortable in the knowledge that we didn’t intentionally ruin anyone else’s day but conscious that there are occasions where we could have acted with more grace or class.

But this might be a rare case where technology can have a positive impact on etiquette. 50 per cent of Canadians over the age of 18 own a cell phone, most of which have the annoying ability to take photographs, anytime, anywhere, stripping us of our privacy and reminding us of the need to live impeccably. We are never alone anymore and, actions that cast us in an unfavourable light, can be captured and shared with the world.

So, how about living life under the assumption that everything you do or say in public is could show up in tomorrow’s newspaper or tonight’s evening news. Will you show more compassion, kindness and benevolence? Would you smile serenely at ingrates who cut you off in traffic or take more than eight items into the express checkout? Could you, by necessity, become a better person?

1 comment:

  1. It could definitely be used as a motive to live a better life, a kinder one. Many of us these days are all too quick to cast a hard glance in the direction of the one who has "done us wrong" or caused us inconvenience. But what good does it really do us except temporarily alleviate? It's just a quick fix which really neglects to address the underlying problem: we live in a fast-paced society--we are impatient people and we have too many expectations of everyone around us.

    And who ever stands in front of a mirror to examine their own snarl? The idea of it being captured in a moment of time and made available for the world to see could very well put many of us in place. I wonder if this goes through the minds of celebrities...