Contents | Books in English


THE GREAT IMAGES

When great images reach us from remote antiquity, it is somehow very simple to accept them. Even if they are clothed in myths and legends they are very convincing. Behind a curtain of time all is possible. Writers and painters of all centuries will dedicate their best inspirations to these distant images. Whole generations will be guided by these inspiring distant heroes and heroines. No one is jealous of them, no one is interested in the manner of these achievements  there remain only the memorable milestones of human ascent.

Entirely different are images from the recent past, to say nothing of the present. Take the description of great people recently passed away. So many unnecessary, non-characteristic traits are emphasized which only show that the exact nature of their lives has not yet been weighed or evaluated. The most doubtful, entirely unproved details are brought up, and the conclusions, even though they are not necessarily negative, are at best belittling.

Of course, with passing ages the scales will be balanced. The judgment of the people eventually will remove much of the dust that fills the eyes of the contemporary observers. The justice of ages does not have to belittle. Even within the span of a century we see that many things attain their own balance. The printed sheets on which great characters were disparaged and treated with contempt have not yet disintegrated. Not only in the memory of our grandfathers   and we now witness the same  did people laugh cruelly and unjustly at certain individuals who in less than a hundred years became the pride of their country and even of the whole world.

We shall not name the many writers, poets, scientists, social workers, and leaders whose names and whose very images have been changed in people's minds within a very short period of time. Everybody knows of many such cases. Although our contemporaries severely condemn yesterday's ignorant critics, they themselves often repeat the same mistakes. It has often been pointed out that the dictionaries and encyclopedias should alter their evaluations with every new edition. We can recall a number of great people who at first were described in dictionaries and encyclopedias as charlatans and agitators, but later received most honorable mention. Such metamorphoses can be noted even within one generation. In the history of human thought is this not remarkable?

It is difficult to say what causes this, although the obvious fad remains. Is it wickedness, envy, ignorance, or perhaps some kind of inexcusable stupidity and laziness? Someone is even responsible for the most peculiar proverb, "Abuse does not cling to the collar." Probably this strange saying is attributable to some bully who wanted to justify his peculiarities.

Sometimes people reach such absurdity that a mere attempt to express a friendly opinion, even a reasonable one, is considered as something untimely and unacceptable. While at the same time any criticism that is scandalous and perverted will be listened to calmly and even with inner approval.

Meanwhile, so many beautiful, truly great images have been coming to teach humanity; and not in some remote ages, but right here, very near. It seems that these images, being so concrete and real, should have inspired even more people. But this happens quite rarely.

We find these unforgettable, inspiring images shining not only in officialdom and those who rule but also concealed in ordinary life. Only a few can realize their deep significance for humanity. In this also, somehow and sometime, the scales of justice will be balanced. However, it is strange that people benefit so little by what already has been generously given them, which could be widely applied.

Beautiful, heroic images of men and women pass before us; they are true creators of culture, and it would seem most desirable to know about them now instead of the unnecessary and unexplainable holding back of these images in archives and records for the imagination of people of some future day.

Before us passes a remarkable feminine image. From early childhood the little girl likes to retire secretly with a large heavy book. With an effort she secretly carries away from the adults the treasure to admire the pictures, and later on she learns to read it all by herself. From her father's bookcases, at an unusually early age, she takes philosophical treatises, and in spite of the noisy, distracting surroundings, a deep and complete world outlook is molded as if it were a familiar realm discovered a long time ago. Veracity and justice, the constant search for truth, and the love for creative work change the entire life around the young, strong spirit. The whole house, the whole family, everything is constructed on the same beneficent principles.

All difficulties and dangers are borne under this same invincible leadership. Accumulated knowledge and aspiration toward perfection bring indomitable solutions of problems, which lead all the others on one luminous path. Ignorance, darkness, and malice are painfully sensed. Wherever it is possible a physical and spiritual healing takes place. From early morning till night, life becomes full of true labor, and all for the benefit of humanity. A large correspondence is built up, books are written, extensive essays are translated; and all this is done in a remarkable tirelessness of spirit. Even the most difficult circumstances are conquered by true faith, which becomes straight-knowledge. And yet, astonishing accumulations were necessary for such knowledge! Such an unwearying life of labor, with daily deeds performed in benevolence and true constructivity should be the ideal for all youth. When all the difficulties, and the inspiring work which flowed amidst them is known, it is particularly valuable for youth to learn about these achievements. Often one may think that certain things are insurmountable, that evil cannot be conquered by good. This is the kind of delusion, which at times is reached by the confused human mind. At such times the true examples of the heroic life are particularly important. We may rejoice that we have before us these beautiful examples, so encouraging to all beginners in constructive work. All this must be known. It is necessary to replace doubt, negation, and retreat  to proceed inspiredly in the encouraging work.

Some may consider themselves driven away and forgotten, not suspecting that here, not far from them, over all obstacles and all the impediments of darkness, the unspilled chalice was carried. If one would realize this, how much new vigor, and with it new possibilities, would come! How much dark despair at night would be replaced by thoughts about creativity and constructive work, which is possible in all stages of life.

Is it absolutely necessary to be burned at the stake like Joan of Arc? Will the scaffolds still be necessary when we realize the true value of moving, guiding words, and exemplary labor? Sooner or later humanity will have to give up everything that holds it back, impedes, and hardens. The one who is able to find a maximum of good signs will complete a most noble marathon. A true marathon does not require standing on one leg, but precisely discovering the maximum of good constructive signs. In these signs will be found the real peace for which all churches pray ceaselessly.

In order to achieve this true peace it is necessary to exercise much care, solicitude, and magnanimity. Is it possible to talk about magnanimity as something abstract and inapplicable? Is it possible that there are such brutal hearts as could oppose every constructive benevolence? It is impossible. In every living heart there must be some wholly human benevolent approach. With such a good approach the great images will be distinguishable and their works will be justly evaluated.

Tzagan Kure

July 2, 1935

<< Back    Next >>