Duty and Wisdom
DUTY AND WISDOM
He who seeks “the small old path” has many duties to perform. His duty to mankind, his family – nature – himself and his creator, but duty here means something very different from that which is conveyed by the time and lip-worn word, Duty. Our comprehension of the term is generally based upon society’s or man’s selfish interpretation. It is quite generally thought that duty means the performance of a series of acts which others think I ought to perform, whereas, it more truly means the performance of actions by me which I know are good for others, or the wisest at the moment.
It would be quite dangerous for me to take upon myself the duty of another, either because he told me it was good, or that it was duty. It would be dangerous for him and me if I assumed that which he felt it was good to do, for that is his duty, and cannot be mine. That which is given him to do I cannot do for him. That which is given me to do no living thing can do for me. If I attempt to do another’s duty then I assume that which belongs not to me, was not given me. I am a thief, taking that which does not belong to me. My brother consenting thereto becomes an idler, fails to comprehend the lesson, shifts the responsibility, and between us we accomplish nothing.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE,
The Path, August 1887