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Reckless is a virtue?

I had an awesome idea for a post! And then it all went wrong …

In Shelter From The Storm, Dylan sings:

‘Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood

When reckless was a virtue, the road was full of mud

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form

Come in, she said

I’ll give ya shelter from the storm

I’ve never really identified with this song; this is not a life I’ve lived. One line has always stuck with me, though – when reckless was a virtue.

Has reckless ever been a virtue? It’s certainly not a virtue I’ve ever been encouraged to develop. In fact, quite the opposite, recklessness has been openly discouraged in almost every aspect of my life. Reckless is unsafe, reckless doesn’t help your team, reckless is irresponsible. When is this other lifetime of Dylan’s in which reckless is a virtue?

Perhaps, he’s evoking reckless as an aspect in the evolution of ideas? Speaking your truth against the norm? Being a disruptor? That’d be reckless from a point of view. I can see that. Can I swap reckless for courageous? Is that what he means? Doesn’t fit the song at all.

Recklessness is leading us into some dangerous places, isn’t it? The examples of environmental, political, and cultural recklessness we currently have aren’t ones I want to develop a virtue around. Is Dylan wrong? Reckless is not a virtue? No, it’s the wrong people who have been reckless. Perhaps it is time for more of us to be a little reckless – take some responsible risks – be more courageous.

Dylan can’t be wrong… and he isn’t.

I’m wrong.

The lyric isn’t ‘reckless’.

It’s ‘blackness’. When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud.

Sigh. Oh, the shame.

Scratch everything above.

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