A Five Rupee Stamp

Three or four months ago, a friend of mine received a letter by post. As it is normally the case, the sender had used a five rupee stamp on it’s envelop since it was a closed letter.

Someone noticed that the post office had missed to put a seal on top of the stamp. I was very happy to see that (?). I carefully removed the stamp and put it in my pocket, thinking that I could use it in future.

Six days later, I had to send some other closed letter to an office. I remembered that I had a reusable five rupee stamp in my pocket. I took the stamp out and was about to paste it on my letter cover. Suddenly, something stopped me. It was a strange sort of fear, a fear that made me think that the letter would not reach its destination, because it is going to bear a ‘sinful’ five rupee stamp. I tried defining my fear and could not think beyond a ‘sinful’ stamp, rather mind.

The stamp is still there with me, and it makes me sad every time I see it. It reminds me that I could not do a ‘wrong’ thing because I feared a consequence and not because it was wrong.

3 thoughts on “A Five Rupee Stamp”

  1. What do you mean by “because I feared a consequence and not because it was wrong”? I presume that the “wrong” here refers to the loss of revenue to the Postal department. But again this would be a “consequence” of your “wrong”. It is the (bad) consequence that leads you to think that it is wrong. If, for example, the stamp was free of cost you would not think twice before reusing it because it does not cause a loss to anyone and THEREFORE is not “wrong”. Could there be any action inherently “wrong” without any reference to consequences of the action?

    Probably it is the punishment that is feared and not the consequence.

    1. Thank you for reading it in such detail. I am very happy.

      First of all “Consequence” is a broad range term.

      Although “punishment” is as human as “crime”, I do not think it involves a ‘chicken and egg’ problem. In addition, most of the time, you do not have to fear a punishment because there will be none. You may agree that punishment is also a form of a consequence, is it not?

      How about good deeds? Do they have good consequences? They need not. The definition of good and/or bad (although to an extent human universal) is vague and subjective.

      Yes, if the stamp were to be available free of cost, then I would not have thought twice.

      Censequences have various manifestations. In my case, it was a sort of fear. I could have gone to say “I feared that I may fail to uphold honest behaviour in future”. It is not a punishment, is it? It would have been very literal, you see…

      I wanted myself to have decided not to use the stamp without thinkng of the consequence.(even if it were a punishment/loss to post office or anything). In fact, I did not want to even think about the possibility of using it. I wanted that to be spontaneous and unfortunately, it was not.

      You are right in saying that no action is innately wrong. However,it is true only for non-human societies.

      If you recognize a thing as ‘wrong’ without any deliberation, then I think it is great. Do not fear the punishment…

      Sorry… this reply is longer than the article itself!!

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