Letter: Honouring the inner man and woman

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The Independent Online
Sir: After glancing at the New Year's Honours List (report, 31 December) I happened that evening upon Laurens van der Post's wistful citation in his book A Mantis Carol for an 'order of merit' honouring people for what they are within themselves rather than what they have achieved:

'For valour in the field of life, distinguished conduct in the battle of being and standfastness in defending its quality and texture against aberration and distortion by the prevailing hatred, malice and envy of our collective time, ensuring thereby an example of how devotion to being for sheer being's sake and pursuing it to its own end, is the true glory of life on earth . . .'

I couldn't help wondering how many of those honoured last week would qualify.

Yours faithfully,


Much Hadham,


2 January