To Risk or Not to Risk



I’ve been thinking about the message of Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be’ soliloquy.

Essentially, Hamlet is contemplating suicide. However, due to the unknown nature of the afterlife, Hamlet is convinced that mortal suffering is better than whatever may come after death. In other words, since there is no direct answer as to what happens upon death, Hamlet concludes that it is not worth the risk.

If you attempt to apply this to everyday ideas (perhaps those less suggestive than suicide), you will find that Hamlet concludes that it is better to not take risks in life as future cannot be guaranteed. Obviously, the dilemma over taking the risk and not taking it is entirely different than when your life is on the line, however the principle still stands.

My belief, contrary to Hamlet’s, is that life requires risk. If you look at all technological innovations up to this point, they have been discovered because people have ventured into undiscovered territory and uncovered information that people previously knew nothing of. In my opinion, without risk, there is no progress.

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One Response to To Risk or Not to Risk

  1. Mrs. White says:

    You have very succinctly explored a complex idea and expressed yourself very clearly; I wholeheartedly agree with your conclusions, but recognize that there are societal pressures which prevent us from “risking”. I often wonder if this might be due to the current “bullying” and shaming that happens when mass media news outlets get the slightest scent of some error in judgement or “mistake”. We see how public persons are mocked for mistakes and advertising promotes notions of perfection.

    I think you are right about being wrong. Risk means that sometimes we are wrong, sometimes we must make mistakes, but more importantly (at least, from my point of view) we must honestly admit them to ourselves and others to grow.

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