Big Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Sunday, May 4, 2008
What is Greatness?
This is what Bonaparte had to say on it:
Great men are those who can subdue both good luck and fortune.
Somehow the above quote doesn't quite capture the meaning I'm looking for. But this one does,
I used to say of him [Napoleon] that his presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men.--Duke of Wellington
This is something that is much beyond excellence in whatever pursuit you're engaged in. This has got more to do with what you are inside out. In this situation, it seems much related to the Man that Napolean was. But this is still too vague to be of any use.
some more of Bonaparte
They think I am stern, even hardhearted. So much the better-this makes it unnecessary for me to justify my reputation. My firmness is taken for callousness. I shall not complain, since this notion is responsible for the good order that is prevailing, so that there is nothing that needs to be repressed.
I have recognised the limits of my eyesight and of my legs, but never the limits of my working power.
I have a taste for founding, not for owning.
Even when I am gone, I shall remain in people's minds the star of their rights, my name will be the war cry of their efforts, the motto of their hopes.
I start out by believing the worst.
A man is not dependent upon his fellow creature, when he does not fear death.
The guilt of many men may be traced to over-affection for their wives.
It is a truth that man is difficult to know, and that, if we may not deceive ourselves, we must judge him by his actions of the moment, and for the moment only.
Friendship is but a name.
The extent of your consciousness is limited only by your ability to love and to embrace with your love the space around you, and all it contains.
Remember that a man, a true man, never hates. His rages and his bad moods never last beyond the present moment-like electric shocks.
The strong are good, only the weak are wicked.
Napolean on Power and Politics
- Great men are never cruel without necessity.
- A legislator must know how to take advantage of even the defects of those he wants to govern. The art consists in making others work rather than in wearing oneself out.
- Men who have changed the world never achieved their success by winning the chief citizens to their side, but always by stirring the masses.
- Do not talk to me of goodness, of abstract justice, of nature law. Necessity is the highest law, public welfare is the highest justice.
- The heart of a statesman must be in his head.
- An order that can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood.
- Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
- He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.
- Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go.
- Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.
- High politic is only common sense applied to great things.
- In war, as in politics, no evil - even if it is permissible under the rules - is excusable unless it is absolutely necessary. Everything beyond that is a crime.