24/August/2010 Filed in: Jottings
Yesterday's announcement that the British people are leading the way in giving aid to Pakistan cheered me up no end. We hear so much about what is wrong with us, what is bad in society in general, that the thought of people quietly getting on with helping others, despite tightened belts at home, is really nice.
Niceness is undervalued today. It's partly the fault of its being a forbidden word ("the use of 'nice' in English composition is indicative of poverty of thought and imagination" according to my English mistress, aeons ago). Au contraire, niceness is to be applauded. It's niceness, rather than virtue, that allows us to bear with all sorts of disagreeable things and people and others to bear with us. Niceness isn't particularly brave and never draws attention to itself, but it is kind and thoughtful, in a quiet, unemphatic way. It is a quality without elbows, so to say, because it doesn't push itself forward or others out of the way. It has time for children, old people and dogs; for those "little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love".
Niceness will never be the equal of faith, hope or charity; but I'm glad there are so many nice people in the world, aren't you?