Delphic Maxims: Know Your Opportunity (Καιρον γνωθι)

I’m kind of shell-shocked this morning. I had some unexpected news that got to me. I’m getting ready to pack and bury myself in work and solitude for a long weekend, so I felt I should post something quick for one of the Maxims. And this was the next Maxim. It speaks to the sad story related to me this morning. I’m not going to give details, but this maxim could have kept the story from being so sad.

Know Your Opportunity.

It’s good advice. I think most people will look at it from the perspective of opportunities that enhance and advance you. I’m not. I’m thinking about opportunities to walk away, to let go, and to speak up.

We are a passionate species. We find ourselves caught up in projects that are dear to our hearts. Sometimes we let that passion carry us places it shouldn’t. We justify unethical behaviour. We tell ourselves the end justifies the means. Sometimes we find ourselves caught in a web we’re not comfortable with, and we have invested so much of ourselves it can be difficult to walk away.

There is always an opportunity, though, isn’t there? An opportunity to tell the truth. To step back. To walk away. To say that what is happening is wrong. To find a better way. To shed light.

There’s a saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe it is really paved with the missed opportunities to do the right thing.

I don’t think the most just cause can stand upon an injustice and be effective. I think in the course of every cause, every campaign, and every project there are many opportunities to be seized. Sometimes those opportunities are to recognize where things are wrong, and to take action before the project moves forward. To walk away before you compromise your ethics.

We should be watching for opportunity, not merely to enhance our lives and further our fortunes, but to live a just life. Because, though it may take it’s time, the truth will out. Which will you regret more? The missed opportunity to make money? Or the missed opportunity to act for truth and justice when you had the chance?

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