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What you are at a given time consists of the sum of all the various changing conditions to which it refers to the event called “a lifelong trial”.
- I saw you crying on the Ponte Vecchio, and your tears troubled me. Today I saw you laughing. Your laughter pierced my heart like a dagger, but it disturbed me even more. You just know what you are, loannis. Her question struck me. As I thought about what to respond, it seemed to me that the bare walls of the room were moving away from me, it seemed to me that I was rising, that I was looking at myself from the outside.
- What I am? I said. The world has aged, everything has already been thought, the hearts of the wisest look only to the past, seeking solace. The world is enlightened only by dusk, and the thinking man has no future in this place exhausted and ravaged by wars and thirst for power. The church has become entangled in worldly things, and in the eyes of a clever despot, man is no better than an animal destined for slaughter. What am I then in this hopeless world? What am I? God is beyond my comprehension and I cannot find Him, because I am not capable of love. Because of this, I am a prisoner of time and space. The hopeless world of the finite is my only home, but the biggest misfortune is that I am not satisfied with that, I am not satisfied. Therefore, I have nothing to do but resume my pilgrimages, even if I only run away from myself going from one place to another.
Mrs. Ghita, I don’t know what I am and I don’t even distinguish good from evil, like other people. There are angels of light and angels of darkness, she told me. You are not an angel of light.*
Leadership: Is the importance you give to the meaning of your life directly proportional to the importance you give to yourself in a game of destiny subordinated to the search for a truth that cannot be suppressed?
The man subject to the conditions of life, thrown into a deep reflection on the somewhat unjust destiny, will first of all want to avoid the lack of pain, in spite of the wisdom that says: “repeated experiences turn into a wall of defense around the soul”. And a man becomes better and more honorable as he succeeds in coping with these conditionings, taking as a point of reference the sum of all past thoughts, with reference to what he says in his mind when he lives those experiences.
Probably, the right to which man holds most, taking as a life lesson the pain of not being able to make himself understood by others, not being able to share his feelings, is to be aware of his contradictions and to emerge victorious from the struggle with himself. Or, what is this struggle, other than an understanding and an assumption of the difficulties he goes through throughout his life. After all, this is the motto of a strong man: “If you want to increase your self-esteem, implement your will, but without emotions.”
The supreme fulfillment of a destiny of great dramatic charge only makes sense in the case of a prisoner in time and space who shows his intelligence in trying to find a truth that cannot be suppressed, such as: “My stimulating attitude is an attempt to overcome any lifetime limitations.”
Probably the great drama of a man held captive in a story called “The Meaning of Life”, even in the case of his supreme intelligence that does not allow itself to be subjugated by obsolete views, is that it cannot depart from its own image that at some point tainted his self-esteem.
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said this best: “The intelligent man will avoid being insulted by others, he will seek only a quiet, modest life, but as undisturbed as possible, and therefore after he has begun to know the so-called people, he will withdraw from the world, and if he has great intelligence, he will prefer loneliness, for the more one has in himself, the less he needs from the outside, and the more others can be of less importance.”
Leadership is the ability of man to be aware of his contradictions and to emerge victorious from the struggle with himself, bearing in mind that any “salvation at the hour of death” is a lifelong trial.
What Am I Then In This Hopeless World? Well, I am a man outraged by the attempt to give meaning to the fulfillment of a destiny with a great spiritual load, because only he who breaks through in harsh conditions can become an enlightened one.
True wisdom, here it is: “Try to give meaning to a life experience full of limits before you exceed your own limits.”
* Note: Mika Waltari - Young Ioannis, Polirom Publishing House, 2020.
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