In one of the comic strips that I follow—religiously, of course—a male character, acknowledging a certain lack of domestic tranquility in his home, observes that he cannot serve two masters; in this case, his wife and his mother-in-law. He is, of course, echoing the words, if not the exact sentiments, of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:24). In today’s world, at least as recorded in the international print media, this continues to hold true, with only a few exceptions.
We start with an example close to my heart: A letter writer to The Washington Times signals agreement with columnist Thomas Sowell “that journalists cannot serve two masters: the complete truth and a political agenda.” Lucky for those of us who write for BAR that we can seek out “the complete truth” with no agenda, political or otherwise, to impede us.
What about architects? They, too, seem caught up in conflict, as reported in The Times of London: “No man can serve two masters. The architect will often find himself in the unenviable position of conniving to defend the public, the project and the building users from his own client’s relentless programme of cuts.” Don’t get me wrong: I can certainly sympathize with someone in that position, but it sounds like there are at least four masters vying for attention in this case.