Balance. When we are young, we think the balance is a simple matter, trading tweaks of fingers or blows on the arm -- a stone for a stone, a scar for a scar. Weighing matters in a moral scale, trying to make wrongs received equal wrongs given out.
But one day, we stop and consider. Even on this mechanical balancing the scales, suppose that someone tosses a kindness, a gentle act, something good into the balance pans? Does not such a call for at least a matching action from the debt partner?
Thus we see that not only ill, but also good, demands balance. And in the ongoing great balancing, does a good act returned for ill not cause the balance arm to tilt? Of course it does.
So simply, yet obviously, we move from the easy balancing of wrongs that children indulge in daily beyond, to a more complex world where we can return ill for ill, or we may overturn the balance and return good for ill, starting a chain of good for good balance that builds and builds.
The symbol of balance, the venerable triangle, represented by the three-cornered table, stands underneath the balance pans of life, an objective judge that so easily shows us which side has offered the most weight.
And then, above and beyond the balance pans of mere moral value, we may consider for a moment whether an act not done may not also cause ill? Is it not obvious, for example, that not taking simple precautions may cause great distress? And having thought of such necessities, does not balance call us not merely to react to whatever good and bad may come our way, but to act positively and decisively as we judge best every day, every moment?
Balance. Not just the simple ledgers of childhood, keeping track of youthful trades and indulgences and infractions, but a dynamic principle that drives us to engage with each other and with life!
That, my friends, is what a few moments of thought about balance can lead to. You will spend years studying the ins and outs, the history and methods of trade, of business as it has come down to us. You will groan at the details of that learning, and yet remember -- behind and above it all, you are studying balance, and there is no better study for Liadens than that.
Speech given by the Dean of the Graduate School of Business and Trade to incoming freshmen, Chonselta Technical College.