I will apologise for many things that I have done but I will not apologise for the things that should never be apologised for. It is a little theory of mine that has much exercised my mind lately, that most of the problems of this silly and delightful world derive from our apologising for those things that we ought not to apologise for, and failing to apologise for those things for which apology is necessary.
For example none of the following is shameful or deserves apology, in spite of our suicidal attempts to convince ourselves otherwise:
* To possess a rectum, a urethra and a bladder and all that pertain thereto.
* To cry.
* To find anything or anyone of any gender, age or species sexually attractive.
* To find anything or anyone of any gender, age or species sexually unattractive.
* To insert things in one’s mouth, anus or vagina for the purpose of pleasure.
* To masturbate as often as one wishes. Or not.
* To swear.
* To be filled with sexual desires that involve objects, articles or parts of the body irrelevant to procreation.
* To fart.
* To be sexually unattractive.
* To love.
* To ingest legal or illegal drugs.
* To smell of onesself and one’s juices.
* To pick one’s nose.
I spend a lot of time tying knots in my handkerchief reminding myself that those are things not to be ashamed of, so long as they are not performed in sight or sound of those who would be pained - which also holds true of Morris dancing, talking about Terry Pratchett and wearing velour and many other harmless human activities. Politeness is all.
But, I fear I spend far too little time apologising for or feeling ashamed about things which really do merit sincere apology and outright contrition.
* Failing to imagine what it is like to be someone else.
* Pissing my life away.
* Dishonesty with self and others.
* Neglecting to pick up the phone or write letters.
* Not connecting made or processed objects with their provenance.
* Judging without facts.
* Using influence over others for my own ends.
* Causing pain.
I will apologise for faithlessness, neglect, deceit, cruelty, unkindness, vanity or meanness, but I will not apologise for the urgings of my genitals nor, most certainly, will I ever apologise for the urgings of my heart.
— Stephen Fry