Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A Shameless Worship of Heroes

Will Durant (1885-1981) author of critically acclaimed eleven–volume master piece The Story of Civilization and The Story of Philosophy wrote some independent inspiring articles which were published posthumously in a smart volume The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time in 2002. Following excerpts are from a classic article A Shameless Worship of Heroes:

“Of the many ideals which in youth gave a meaning and radiance missing from the chilly perspective of middle age, one at least has remained with me as bright and satisfying as ever before-the shameless worship of heroes. I say shameless, for I know how unfashionable it is now to acknowledge in life or history any genius loftier than ourselves.
Why should we stand reverent before waterfalls and mountaintops, or summer moon on a quite sea, and not before the highest miracle of all: a man who is both great and good? So many of us are mere talents, clever children in the play of life, that when genius stands in our presence we can only bow down before it as an act of God, a continuance of creation. Such men are the very life-blood of history, to which politics and industry are but frames and bones.

No, the real history of man is not in prices and wages, nor in elections and battles, nor in the even tenor of common man; it is the lasting contributions made by geniuses to the sum of human civilization and culture. The history of France is not, if one may say it with all courtesy, the history of the French people; the history of those nameless men and women who tilled the soil, cobbled the shoes, cut the cloth, and peddled the goods(for these things has been done everywhere and always)- the history of France is the record of her exceptional men and women, her inventors, scientist, statesmen, poets, artists, musicians, philosophers, and saints, and of the additions which they made to the technology and wisdom, the artistry and decency, of their people and mankind. “
For us Muhammad Ali Jinnah is one such hero.


  1. hhmm...Dar Sahib...quite moved by your topic.

    Thanks for sharing.

    It seems that you read alot and on very differently rather randomly selected books.

    I sometimes think that even words are cheapest in this world yet they can produce such a healthy/wealthy effect on people's mind.

    I really liked your post. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. "Our Soul discovers itself when we come into contact with a great mind. It is not until I had realised the Infinitude of Goethe’s imagination that I discovered the narrow breadth of my own." IQBAL: Stray Reflections

  3. Yes, I resonate as well...for there is a mirror effect that goes deep with certain authors and greats that comes from the archetypes heroes and heroines who walk around us in our daily worlds...people like ourselves (who often become subjects of novels) who are the great human community at large --

    These we can hear throughout the course of our week on a bus or by chance catching a conversation walking. This week I am hearing parents speaking to their young children in the New York City morning as they walk them to school. Little daughter to father, "Daddy, I don't want to go to school." Dad to daughter. "Well, I don't want to go to work either, dear. But some things we just have to do regardless of our wishes." And the images as seeds for the great...seeing a little one jump on the puddle, splash, splash - the mother not intervening...great shared joy. All the little people of the world for whom we yearn to send something beautiful ahead for each...

    Like you here who are doing so...and have already done so...such as Shakespeare's The Tempest booklet...and Akhtar Sahib, what about a journal of your book notes.. your own literary "stray thoughts" a little like Allama Iqbal's?

    And back to the list of my favorites, Dar Sb. for whom I'm gradually compiling as you have asked of me: a great writer who has captured so much of daily life from his land of South Africa: Alan Paton -- everything he wrote. And on the universal love of one's country as well--read the book, see the film: "Cry the Beloved Country"...

    Sorry if off topic a bit...

    Miss you, Dar Sahib, Thinking and the rest...

  4. Thanks Thinking and Khurram Sahib for valuable inputs.

  5. Connie so glad to see your comment and as always profound and sparkling. Haven't read the South African Alan Paton yet but would certainly go for "Cry the Beloved Country" specially after checking that the motto of this anti apartheid activist was "South Africa must be saved one person at a time."

  6. Yes, always always one person at at time...