On April 23, 1910, Teddy Roosevelt presented a spectacular speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.
The title of his argument was — “Citizenship in a Republic” — and here is the famous “Man in The Arena” excerpt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
How we behave in empty spaces — and then how we behave in those same spaces when others join us — has always been a fascination of mine. There’s an “Elevator Dice Theory” arguing that people fill up that confined space in a predictable pattern that models a die face. One person stands in the center. Two people take opposing corners. Three people stand in a diagonal row, and so on.
UPDATE: March 1, 2010. TLC did it again! They added yet another “Little” show to their Fetish Agenda: Our Little Lives. Now this is getting out of hand!
TLC — The Learning Channel — is a strange place to watch stories about American lives. TLC is infatuated with dysfunctional large families like “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” the Disgusting Duggars Family in “18 Kids and Counting” and their now litter of 19 children and, finally, “Table for 12.” We can rightly dismiss TLC’s infatuation with big families because they are trying to recreate the fading revenue magic of the Jon and Kate misanthropy; but why is TLC fetishising on Little People? How many Dwarf shows does one network need? The answer appears to be: Three. The first, and most famous TLC Dwarf show, is “Little People Big World” starring the wacky Roloff family.
I am one of those who refuse to “go with the flow” because — I have discovered over the arc of a long life — that “going with the flow” is actually a code phrase for having no schedule, and a cudgel of indecision against ambition, and a smothering blanket of malaise that excuses anyone “in the flow” from having any responsibility for getting anything done at all.
Have you noticed how people born beautiful are actually cursed throughout their lifetimes — even though they may not know it? There is a viciousness about The Beautiful that seeps from the inside out and changes their natural shine into an ethereal ugliness.
Have ever been in an argument with someone — even to the point of ever-increasing voices and into shouting — only to have the person you are arguing with suddenly say something like, “Are you going to hit me, now?” Instead of getting angrier, you are instead left dumbfounded as “hitting” your verbal opponent never crossed your mind.
Have you ever noticed how “Busy People” — people that always reply to any inquiry or favor with, “I’m busy!” — are really the least busy people on the planet?