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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Problem with Greatness

From King David to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the freight of greatness is too often the forthright willingness to take hundreds of human lives with little or no regret.  The fact that Jesus is worshipped and yet not called great is significant.  If he and his men had slaughtered scores of their enemies, then they would by this added quality be considered good candidates for greatness.  If I say someone was a great entrepreneur, then it is almost assumed that they were at times ruthless with their competitors or employees.  To be great you’ve got to have a mean streak—willing to hurt countless others in the deployment of self-interest.  While this is the defining character of greatness, it is highly beneficial if psychological complications can be thrown in.  This can add considerable dimension and depth to greatness softening cruelty with complexity and gently mystifying the too obvious picture with tentative judgments and attributions.  King David and Abraham Lincoln demonstrate this complementing the commander-in-chief role with an introspective even poetic nature.  I would caution young people not to aspire to greatness.  Rather seek as much as possible to emulate Jesus.

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