This is the second year in which I think of Mr. Polk's birthday on
All Soul's Day, as the 2nd of November is called over here in
Bavaria, the mainly Catholic country where I live. I reckon that I'll
hardly ever forget to think of him on this day, and I will always do
so with gratitude.
Meeting Mr. Polk and studying his story taught me valuable lessons
The most valuable, as I repeat it to myself, is perhaps:
"Be very cautious in judging people, as you cannot know anyone's
heart. You may even find it most difficult to learn enough of
anyone's story, so as to find a way of doing all possible justice to
a person. Foremost be very cautious to condemn anyone without the
most careful examination, and be on your guard against iniquities
brought on by personal affinity. As you found a full set of excuses
for the accusations against your beloved Mr. Polk, you must concede
that such excuses were also found for people that you accuse while
others love them."
And indeed, this admonition to seek excuses for anyone's annoying
features for the sake of equity has had a considerable impact on my
life. It's become a good deal more peaceful and much less troublesome
than before. Quite an amazingly satisfying result of studies to know
a man who fought a war.
Mr. Polk is still an enigma. As if it wouldn't matter if the image of
a man is a set of complete riddles or a set of unprovable conflicting
theories to the beholder. Everyone is such an enigma, however. It's
just often forgotten. A good deal of our conjectures regarding the
motives of people work quite well, so we are not always aware that we
were just guessing.