The Heroic Path vs. the Path to Nowhere

His life … is a piece of the everlasting heart of Nature herself: all men’s life is, – but [the] weak [who are] many know not the fact, and are untrue to it, in most times; the strong few are strong, heroic, perennial, because it cannot be hidden from them.

Thomas Carlyle

The hero is concerned with seeing. The villain is merely concerned with the manipulation of appearances. What an accomplishment it is, indeed, to see behind the foliage of “appearances.” Truth has its camouflage, its bodyguard of lies (if Churchill’s paradox is admitted). Truth is also a moving target, and a living thing, said Plato; never wholly captured by men even in animated discourse. On the other hand, a lie needs no discourse at all; for repetition is not discourse. Being easier than truth, a lie prevails with those who want everything to be easy. This is why modernity prefers “experts.” As Socrates once said of experts, “They will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome, having the reputation of knowledge without the reality.”[i]

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