Men Fail, Real Men Learn From It!
Transform others’ work into your success. This week a recruit questioned one of the Revolutionary figures we honor in our work. Rather than dwell on the certain flaws, our focus will always be to choose the virtue in history.
Great works meet with near universal approval. It generally goes unquestioned that some works stand as examples of man’s potential. Think of works as varied as “Starry Night,” “Beethoven’s 5th,” “The Pieta,” or the “Cathedral at Notre Dame.”
We carefully examine the application of Van Gogh’s close and deliberate lines, Beethoven’s ominous knock of fate’s four notes at the door, Michelangelo’s chiseling of the lamentation in marble, or the centuries –long creation of the Gothic cathedral beneath Montparnasse.
We lift our eyes and bend our ears to discern the greatness of the work. There is value in measuring the producers of these works in greater depth. We can learn from examining their flaws, many, or few, but when we focus on the grandeur of the works they crafted we find inspiration. When we evaluate the works we can even find partial blueprints to build greatness in our own endeavors.
We often value a person’s labor by comparing it to the impact it has on society. The great works often provide a basis for much comity among societies. The art of good governing and great engineering is no less challenging or worthy of our appreciation than a great piece of music or an oil painting. It is in this light we seek to uplift the great artwork of this country. The art takes the form of The Declaration Of Independence, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Light Bulb, or the incredible exploits of courage and exploration.
Each artist passes to us from history complete with flaws. They leave legacies as great artists and as imperfect men. We can hold them accountable for their flaws, based mainly on our opinions. But, rule 48 says, when “…you reprove another be unblameable yourself.”
At 16 George Washington wrote 110 rules of civility. This civility towards others then becomes a virtue. Thomas Aquinas said in his ‘Summa Theologica’ that virtue is not a habit. Tom concluded that we exercise virtue, indicating choice and free will. We must choose to exercise our virtue and find things to emulate in our passed artists.
So instead of seeing Haym Salomon as a Crown Loyalist while interpreting for the Hessians, we study his clandestine work as a Sons Of Liberty Spy who was captured, tortured and carried under the pretense of his own death to his escape. From Philadelphia, he raised money and loaned it, along with his personal wealth to Robert Morris and the US Government. He helped fund the revolution and later when peals of the Liberty Bell echoed throughout Philadelphia men hailed him as a hero.
At 22, a week after General Cornwallis surrendered in Yorktown Noah Webster opened a school. It closed three months later. Noah failed as a lawyer, a teacher, and a businessman first. Than he completed his revolutionary works of education that culminated with his 1828 dictionary. His work was profound due, in part, to his efforts to standardize grammar and spelling in the new world. We can compare it, in some respects, to Charlemagne’s attempt to encourage literacy through standards. beforecharlemagnetherewerenospacesbetweenwords, and befour Webster meny of our werds had awful and varyus spellings, with which to contend.
Accounts of how great works came to be inspire us to persevere through challenges. Discerning minds attribute failure and success properly and learn from each. Maybe we find it easier reduce some great men by only seeing their failures. Sam Clemens used a somewhat cynical Puddn’head to say “Few things are as annoying to put up with as a good example.”
We at The Underground Movement like to lift our eyes to great works and good examples Americans left to us. We hope to find our own ways to use their blueprints to build our own legacies. In this, we choose to be Revolutionary.