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To see oursels as ithers see us!

25 January 2010

Today is Robert Burns’ birthday,  an occasion  for the respectable to pay homage to a disreputable Scots peasant:  a radical populist who went out of his way to annoy the rich and powerful, or at least to make common cause with the lowest of the low, and see the world from their perspective, as in his praise of a louse crawling across the head of a pompous church-lady:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea’es us,
An ev’n devotion!

What made me remember Burns was this cartoon by Naranjo that I saw in  the  “middle-of-the-road” Sinaloa Noroeste …captions translated the  for the “Spanish-impaired”:

Not the greatest of cartoons, to be sure, but a reminder that even with the best of intentions, the powerful need to remember how they are seen by the rest of their fellow creatures depends on perspective and history:

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

(To a Field Mouse)

One Comment leave one →
  1. 26 January 2010 8:07 am

    “And why should we, of all people, expect the proud new developing nations to see the world precisely as we see it? Was any new nation ever more outspoken, independent and unaligned than the young America of Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln? ” – Chester Bowles (US diplomat, liberal, and all around bad-boy of the JFK administration).

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