Sunday, August 16, 2009

Greatness and Goodness

Today we drove to Houston to see the Terra Cotta Warriors - it was truly stunning. They are gorgeous, detailed, and each one has his own unique expression. It was fascinating to learn about the First Emperor and all he accomplished. He determined that there should be a common, official script (so that people from all over could understand each other's writing) and also created a common, generic coinage. Although the emperor lived in 200 B.C., the script is still used today and the coinage was used into the 20th century. Obviously, he had amazing foresight and was an impressive leader.

He also strikes me as a paranoid megalomaniac - he murdered countless people, including scholars. He didn't want them inciting the people. You know- when people think it causes all sorts of problems.

Yesterday I saw Wicked - a musical that inspires me like nothing else. Elphaba (the heroine) begins the story completely enraptured by the Wizard, but she soon realizes that he's not all he pretends to be and uses his power to control people - not to help them.

I think it's much easier for humans to be "great" if they don't concern themselves with being "good" (e.g. - attempting to live virtuously, as John Bradshaw would say). It gets a wee bit discouraging for someone like me - I have no delusions that I'm a "good person" (life isn't that black and white, after all - some days I am virtuous and some days I fail) but I truly want to do good. the great game of life, I am determined to keep striving for "goodness" instead of "greatness." I must admit, however, that at times I yearn for some piece of greatness and some way to shine.

I suppose that's my humanity showing, isn't it?

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