In discussing the great man, one must turn to his destiny, invariably characterized by a great many obstacles, all of which are integral to what it means to live. However, before the nature of these obstacles can be discussed, first there must be an understanding of the difference between life and survival. Survival is merely a propagation of existence, it is not a phenomenon exclusive to man, indeed every animal, plant, bacterium, and even virus, can survive; the virus is perhaps the most potent example of this difference, as we do not even consider it life, yet it most undoubtedly does survive. So then what is that essence that changes this mundane survival into the brilliant notion of living, from a biological fact to something unique to man?
Affirmation! The act of recognizing and loving one's life as it is, as it has been, and as it will be; something that is seemingly simple, yet truly only surpassed in complexity by life itself. This single act changes survival into life, a transformation that can be elucidated through the visual metaphor of a tapestry. Survival wants the tapestry of life to be as long as possible, regardless of how frayed its threads or crude its weaving; living, in a profound contrast, seeks to simply make that tapestry as beautiful as possible, long or short it matters not, if each thread is taken as something important and meaningful, then the final picture can only be something grand. However, therein lies a warning to those who choose to live: never attempt to define the multitude of details that make this tapestry grand, he who dissects life into the basest of simplicities leaves behind only threads. Defining the precise elements that make a great work of art so profoundly beautiful is an impossible task, one that can consume a man, causing him to lose sight of that transcendent beauty which inspired the undertaking in the first place; a loss of value that is truly most horrid. Faced with the now meaningless fragments of life that lie scattered before him, he attempts to cobble them back together into what once was, thus creating a facsimile, a perversion that is as hideously ugly as its original form was breathtakingly beautiful.
Having established the dichotomy between survival and living, we return to the great man, tethered to his destiny by the red string of fate, he is inexorably lead down a path as harsh as it is exquisite. Along this road there is a significant variation in the challenge posed by each obstacle, the largest of which can lead to the birth of the Spirit of Frustration, a poisoner of will and denier of life. Sometimes even the greatest men will be gripped by Frustration; descending upon them like a black fog, clouding their minds with the feeling of helplessness, whispering in their ears: “See what you face? Life is unfair, it forces you to watch as it coddles those lesser men, and now look what it does to you! There is no beauty to be had in this insurmountable wall, and even if there was, it is not worth all the pain it has made you endure. Turn inwards and find respite in hate, hate the misfortune that has forced upon you this destiny, hate the others that live in their ignorant bliss, and most of all, hate yourself for being too weak to do anything about it.” These words can be shrugged off in times of strength, but when the great man is faced with his weakest moments, it is then that frustration strikes, having patiently waiting for that one opportunity, it sinks its poisonous fangs into the depth of his soul. The way to dispelling this apparition can be found in the very obstacle that spawned it, for within this great challenge lies the promise of life. In surmounting this obstacle, whether the great man lives to reach the other side, or dies in the midst of his battle, it can truly be said that he unflinchingly affirmed it all, thus creating something of incomparable beauty.
Oh great man! Brace yourself for this grand destiny, become hard without becoming callous, be brave but not blind, learn to hate without ever forgetting how to love! Your desire will guide you and your passion will fuel you, ever weaving that indescribable tapestry known as life.