Monday, November 12, 2007

When Loyalty is Everything by Louis Evan Palmer

Loyalty can be anything you want once you get into the breathtaking variety of things one can be said to have loyalty to or the ways one can express loyalty. But this article is more of an exploration of what loyalty should be in its best sense.That is, it is about "good" loyalty; more, it is about the kind of loyalty that ennobles living or can even redeem a life.

That kind of loyalty calls to mind the unswerving faithfulness of Penelope in the Iliad and Odyssey. It might also make us think of a comrade-in-arms who risks or gives his life to protect others in their unit. It is an expression of a personal relationship. It may be a one-way relationship which might be considered as "bad" loyalty in that it is likely to be infantile or imagined versus a mutual loyalty in which each person, or being, bonds at some level with the other. "Being" is introduced to account for bonds of loyalty between people and animals.

Good loyalty is between one being and another and is an expression of allegiance to higher values. It is not swayed by considerations of money or favour. It will endure hardships in the defense of a given person or upholding their interests or reputation. Good loyalty has a duty to a higher good as expressed in a given person and their relationships.

When times are difficult, when dangers abounds, the premium on loyalty climbs. It is probably evenly split in those trying circumstances between "bad" loyalty and "good". Between loyalty wrapped in fear and food and survival and loyalty founded on deep connections and affection. Then who is loyal is a matter of life and death. One who lives because of the loyalty of another will carry an obligation. Loyalty is the feeling that something is owed, that something must be paid.

We know that loyalty is a good because someone who was devoid of it would not be recognized as truly human; their dealings would be flawed and it would be noticeable that they could not be trusted. Yet, it is not a slavish deference or catering. It is often best expressed as what it is not - it is not betrayal, abandonment or deceit. It does not countenance diminishment or insult.

Let us end our look at loyalty with dogs: the expression "a dog is man's best friend" to a great extent reflects their loyalty and their "by your side" reliability and genuineness. Loyalty is what makes your best friend best. In a world gone bad, it might be the only good thing left.

When Loyalty is Everything, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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