Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What is a saint?

As you may have gathered, I've been up to my eyes in work over the past five days - so the blog has suffered. But I'm back now, the big piece of work for Dating Direct done and dusted.

In between the work, however, I had time to notice the coverage in today's Daily Mail of new 'discoveries' about nursing heroine Florence Nightingale. Seems that rather than silently ministering to the sick with a weak smile, she was much more likely to be demanding extra resources, stroppily complaining about conditions and generally making a nuisance of herself.

The thing that fascinated me about all this was the constant implication - in the Mail and in other papers - that because she demonstrated this behaviour, Nightingale was therefore, by definition, not as saintly as she has been painted by history. Excuse me? Does being assertive and demanding in the cause of good - for noone is suggesting that she saved any fewer lives or achieved any less in her lifetime because of her manner - render one less deserving of sainthood?

In my opinion, saints are not necessarily quiet mice. They're robustly human, with human energy for getting things done - be that by nursing, praying, or by assertively throwing money lenders out of temples.

Or as George Bernard Shaw wrote. "“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man"

Let's hear it for unreasonable men and women....

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