Advocate Cassie Badenhorst SC is the acting editor of this e-periodical for the duration of Eric Dunn SC’s temporary absence. Cassie is a member of the Maisels Group of Advocates, a senior member of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates, a long serving Fellow of the Association of Arbitrators (Southern Africa) NPC, and an internationally renowned ADR practitioner.
FROM THE ACTING EDITOR’S PEN:
Welcome to Arbitrarily Speaking!
Our regular editor, Eric Dunn SC, has unfortunately suffered the loss of Miranda who was the love and the light in his life. We sympathise with Eric’s sad loss and express our heartfelt condolences.
I am honoured to step in to assist Eric on a temporary basis.
Patience is the best way forward.
O tempora! O mores! Shame on this age and on its lost principles is the famous lament uttered by Cicero to deplore the sorry condition of the Roman Republic in 63 BC.
This is a moment where we justifiably express a collective, O tempora! O mores! For two years mankind has faced the worst pandemic in a century which destroyed countless lives and livelihoods; dark clouds of war are gathering in Europe; the Zondo commission report confirms our worst suspicions; and South Africans are warned to ‘buckle up’ for a bumpy ride in 2022, considering the lamentable state of the economy, Eskom and other state owned enterprises.
Quo vadis, we ask – what is the way forward? In exploring this question, my mind drifted back to 1979 when I had the privilege of reading law at the Max Planck Institute in Freiburg im Breisgau, in the heart of the Black Forest. One short essay stands out as an unforgettable source of wisdom and guidance for troubled times: it is the writing of the legal philosopher Gustav Radbruch “über die Ungeduld” (which can be translated as ‘about restlessness/irritability/impatience’).
Radbruch describes impatience as a vice, indeed, he says it a “Todsünde” or mortal sin. He explains that the impatient never live in the present, but forever attempt to exist in an anticipated or imagined future – it is literally a case of living past the present.
An impatient person lacks a sense of time – she never has time for anything which inevitably deprives her of the only time which can actually be experienced namely the present. The impatient never enjoys the journey because even before setting off she is already contemplating the destination, never enjoying any part of the journey itself.
Radbruch arrives at the disturbing conclusion that impatience is a never ending desire for finality and because finality occurs only when life ends, it is a death wish – in a sense, a form of continuous suicide.
Patience, by contrast, gains permanence from the transitory. Patience holds the fleeting moment of the now, firmly and confidently. Patience defeats time because it is not scared of losing time. Patience creates the Persian carpet and the Gothic cathedral. Patience is the gentle mother of civilisation.
In these dark times, patience is the best way forward.
Cassie Badenhorst SC