Compromise between people of opposing views: in general I think this is a good thing. Yes, if only our politicians could learn to compromise instead of bickering endlessly, life in America would be pleasant. And yet when a friend used the phrase “spirit of compromise” during a dinner conversation tonight (topic: fiscal cliff), I immediately thought that “Spirit Of Compromise” sounded like the name of a boat… a boat I wouldn’t want to go on. I imagined the schooner Spirit of Compromise sailing rather reluctantly and generally being a dud. So, is there a conflict in my views on compromise?
It’s an interesting little thought experiment: take any quality you consider as a virtue and then ask yourself if you’d go for a sail on “Spirit of [that virtue].” Looking over the Seven Heavenly Virtues, I find that some would make decent boat names while others forebode a harrowing trip. Spirit of Kindness? Sure. But Spirit of Patience? Not so much.
A search of coast guard records indicates 152 vessels with names beginning in “Spirit of…” There is no Spirit of Temperance, but there is one Spirit of Bacchus; no Spirit of Humility, but one Spirit of Power; no Spirit of Chastity, but two Spirit of Loves, two Spirit of Freedoms and five Spirit of Ecstasys.
Other popular names are Spirit of ’76 (14 entries), Spirit of Adventure (6 entries), Spirit of Aloha (5 entries), Spirit of America (7 entries), Spirit of the Wind (3 entries), and even Spirit of Truth (2 entries).
There is no Spirit of Compromise.