Walking That TIghtrope …

Maria Spelterini in 1876 - feet in peach baskets PD

“Skill is successfully walking a tightrope over Niagara falls. Intelligence is not trying.”


I can hear my mother now … Just because that crazy Maria Spelterini stuck her feet in peach baskets and walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope doesn’t mean you have to do it too!

In 1876, we did not have the Internet to distract people from their daily woes, so feats of derring-do had more appeal for folks. Note the crowd gathered on the bridge in the background.

The apparent point of this quotation:

Does ability to do something equate with the need to do something?

An obvious answer is “Of Course Not!” … since to accept this logic would mean we would all be murderers.   Each of us has the ability to take another’s life.   In some cases, we do.  

The difference is in the “Why” …  

A soldier or a law enforcement officer may take a life as part of their duties.   A person being savagely attacked may take their attacker’s life in self-defense.   We agonize with one who inadvertently takes another’s life through distraction or misstep.

We usually only condemn those who intentionally take a life for their own self-centered reasons.

What about other, less traumatic abilities?

We all can be brutally honest, though some find this easier to do than others.

Should we always be brutally honest to the utmost of our personal ability?

Again, the answer most of us would give is probably “Nope” …

Maybe the real question is a more general one about our personal mixture of abilities and competencies:

When do I use my abilities and when do I not?

Why would I use what I have in one case and not in another?  

Ponder this a while … It’s not as simple as it may seem.  

Issues arise, sometimes unexpectedly, around ethics, around laws, around cultural and social expectations, and around our own personal set of quirks and qualifiers.

Considering whether to go further with this question in the Heartland ….