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Not Napoleon

Dikkon Eberhart

Two weeks ago, I posted a short fairy tale under the title Once Upon a Time. I posted it under the WRITING heading. You can read it by backing up to The Longer View tab and selecting WRITING. It's what will come up, being the most recent.

I received compliments about it, which I appreciate because it was enjoyable to write, and I was happy that its point pleased others.

Since posting it, I’ve thought about its point as I have observed the world around me. The boy in Once Upon a Time is a creation of my imagination, but I have five grandchildren and some of them are about the same age as that boy.

The boy in the fairy tale is baffled at why a thing that he perceives to be true—for example, the color of the sky, blue—why that observation of his can’t be left to be true but must be stripped of its obvious truth and made into something slippery instead.

His step-mother tells him that there is no truth about the color of the sky. She asserts that all people must make the sky’s color in their minds into whatever color they think is true. The boy hopes to discover a new location in his countryside where truth is allowed, even encouraged, to remain truth.

As many a grandfather might do, when I watch my grandchildren, I wonder what they will have enjoyed, and what they will have suffered, in the year 2100. For example, my grandson Devar will be eighty-one in the year 2100.

In the year 2100, will western culture have learned that the glorification of its own immediate desires leads to hollowness and to self-destruction?

Or, in the year 2100, will western culture have re-discovered that sublimation of the self to a higher principle glorifies the higher principle and leads the self to fulfillment and to joyful life?

Who can predict?

All I can say at this moment is that that cultural selection between these two pathways is vital and choosing the second over the first is what will be salvific for us all.

Much pain and much suffering will come to those who either promote glorification of the self, or who become the victims of those who glorify themselves, and who then force others to support their self-glorification.

By some today—the self-glorifiers—what ought to be considered fundamental principles of culture, and even of life itself, are increasingly despised. To them, these principles are unsuitable any longer in a world busy to glorify its immediate desires.

Once, western culture turned for authority to biblical mandates and revelations. Turning that way was western culture's salvation. Once, the individual spoke and was accorded integrity based on his or her disclosure of fact and of principle. Once, too, the safety of the family unit was considered paramount for the successful raising of children.

Now, we seem to be trending in a different direction. Many of our public intellectuals consider these fundamental principles to be suspect. The principles are suspect—socially dangerous—because a person who bases his or her behavior on those fundamental principles is much more difficult to be motivated by, or to be controlled by, the self-glorification of the trendy.

The trendy need the glorification of the masses because some of them (and I suspect the most astute of them) probably understand that there is no factual basis for their own glory.

Hollow inside, some of them must fill themselves inside, and they demand adulation. And, being vengeful, some of them set out to destroy -- they call it "cancel" -- the livelihoods and the families of those who do not adulate them.

Their glorification of themselves in the modern moment is urgent. Consider the headliners who have become media candy by strutting their stuff as exemplars of something they are not.

Consider Devar’s age now. He (his family considers him to be a boy—as, particularly, both he and his big brother do), he looks at us out of the picture above and is completely happy with his maleness.

He knows that his mother and father are married, and that both of his grandfathers and both of his grandmothers are married. Those oldsters live in houses of their own. He has different toys to play with at their different houses, and he eats different food in their houses.

All of these things, he knows, are TRUE THINGS.

Fortunately there are still some adults in western culture who view this information that Devar has as being properly true, since it is true. And yet there are some in western culture—and they get lots of face time and adulation in media and in social media—there are some in western culture who would consider Devar benighted. The fact he considers himself to be a boy is absurd.

He should be informed that he is no more a boy than he is a girl. After all, the proper thing is that he should choose which one he feels like being on any particular day.

Crazily, this urgency from some in western culture is itself absurd. It’s akin to the story about the crazy man who goes around announcing that he is Napoleon. Of course, as everyone knows, he is not Napoleon.

The proper thing for society to do with the man who thinks he is Napoleon is to inform him that he is not Napoleon, to express sympathy that he thinks such an absurdity, and to offer him counseling to help him find his way out of his delusion.

That proper thing is not what the self-glorifiers do today. What they do today is to agree with the man who thinks he is Napoleon—"Yes, you are Napoleon"—and then they demand that all of society must view the poor fellow as Napoleon from that day forward.

As the self-glorifiers gain more social acceptance, and then more political power, they will do what self-glorifying tyrants have done in hundreds of circumstances during human history. They will demand total allegiance to their self-glorification by everyone they can control…or else.

If western society successfully champions this method of self-glorification all the way through until Devar’s eighty-first birthday, all of us will have become insane.

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