by Isaac Asimov
Foundation Duty Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)
"Mission, hell," shouted Hardin. "That might have been true fifty years ago. But this is a new generation." (II.3.35)
Duty isn't stagnant. As society changes, duties have to adapt to the times. It's survival of the in-the-know rather than the fittest.
"What of it?" demanded Hardin. "I realize it was a gross breach of hospitality and a thing no so-called gentleman would do. Also, that if his lordship had caught on, things might have been unpleasant; but he didn't and I have the record, and that's that." (II.5.34)
Okay, good hospitality should be everyone's duty. We'll agree on that. But sometimes, just a few times, maybe a higher duty can trump hospitality? Like, prevention of war? Hardin seems to think so.
"So as to keep us from deviating, yes. But, conversely, as long as more than one course of action is possible, the crisis has not been reached. We must let things drift so long as we possibly can, and by space, that's what I intend doing." (III.2.70)
Our society tends to think of duty as action-oriented. But here's an interesting twist. Hardin seems to think that his duty is to wait until there's only one course of action. Only then can he meet his duty. (Glad it's not us, because patience was never our strong suit.)