Abhay Shivgounda Patil

About what matters.

Let’s Talk Dirty!

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That’s right. I do want to talk about things dirty.  About the stuff that deals with personal and public hygiene.  About little gestures that reveal our character – our integrity, our values.  I am going to build my story one quote at a time – so sit back, relax and enjoy!

Trust only a poet to tell you the simplest, and the purest, test of character.  “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”  That’s Goethe, the celebrated German poet who is said to have famously danced, hoisting Kalidasa’s Shakuntal on his head. 

Let’s turn to C. S. Lewis, an Irish novelist and poet, to articulate a profoundly elegant definition of integrity.  “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

What’s the mark of succeeding? It is “..to leave the world a better place” according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist, lecturer and poet.  Here succeeding means, amongst other thing,  succeeding being a good world citizen.

Please allow me to borrow Emerson’s idiom.  I feel that each one of us, as we step out of the toilet, must leave it a better place!  This one gesture will make one pass the most fundamental tests for character and integrity.  Can you beat that? 

Okay – let me explain why this is a big deal!  

The person who is going to step in the washroom next can do nothing for you simply because she or he won’t even know that you were the previous occupant!  You never have to please the janitor who keeps our toilets clean for a better appraisal or for a new order.  Therefore, leaving the toilet clean and nice means a great way to treat these individuals who can do nothing for you – which will get you full marks in Goethe’s test of character.

When you take that extra minute to dry the toilet seat, or throw the waste paper only in the bin, you are doing the right thing when no one is watching.  Voila! You score 100 out of 100 on Lewis’ test of integrity!

What do you think?


Written by Abhay Shivgounda Patil

December 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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