Alliances – as much as we occasionally feel the necessity to preserve certain of them – are seldom fruitfully controlled by ambition. This seemingly self-evident truth is however often confuted by a personal miscalculation; that is, we are more than likely deceived by ourselves than others in what at first appears to be a public demonstration. What drives the internal mechanism is not judged by what we or others fashion as either normal or predictable. We are driven by the inexplicable and frequently magical ardour of our very complicated nature. It’s what unites Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff – not what they know but what they feel.

The point is, we need only let our inclinations direct us. To pretend otherwise – that is, to imagine that we are part of any paradigm for whatever purpose – is a calculated deceit which will sooner than later be exposed as a hoodwinking. To begin with, there is no imperative which governs the conduct of any one person. Our strength if any comes from within. It will inevitably be reflected in our external behaviour – not merely our marching prowess or military stance – but in the authenticity we exude whether wittingly or not.

There is in short no running from oneself. Yet I do not view this as a limitation. Wilful ignorance of one’s predilections is but a reminder that we cannot hide either from ourself or from others. By the same token it heralds the singularity of others, including those from whom we are on occasion destined to maintain but a sociable distance. Nothing is more hurtful to both sides of an association than the inability or refusal to see beyond the current models of thinking. We are thus emboldened in our own performance and strengthened in our account of others.

If the model of reciprocity teaches us anything about human relationships it is the exchange for mutual benefit; and because a man can only give what he has – or, more strategically stated, he cannot give what he does not have – the depth of exposure and resulting alliance depends solely upon the identification of oneself.

As moot and exoteric as this prescription may be there is nonetheless an underlying murmur of conciliation appointed by the dogma; namely, listen to what your gut is saying and act accordingly. There is no theory of advancement which can violate the intricacies of personal expression. Nature has produced many varieties of life, each with its own appearance and attraction, each with its own projects and needs, each with its own defences and activities. We are part of that mystery, the teeming ants upon the planet’s surface somewhere in the Universe. Our diverse paragons are the defining features of life. We mustn’t obscure Nature’s creation.