Losers and Tragic Heroes – Free Ebook

our societies are very interested in winners but they don’t really know what to do about losers of which there are always by definition far more for a long time around success and failure the chaps tends to be very upbeat we hear about resilience bouncing back never surrendering and giving it another go but there’s only so long this kind of talk and go on at some point the conclusion becomes inevitable things won’t work out the political career isn’t going to have a comeback there’ll be no way of getting financed for the film the novel won’t be accepted by the 32nd publisher the criminal charges of forever going to take one’s reputation on stuffed up big time where is responsibility for success and failure lie nowadays squarely with the individual concerned that’s why failure isn’t just hard as it’s always been it’s a catastrophe there’s no metaphysical consolation no possibility of appealing to an idea of bad luck no one to blame but oneself no wonder suicide rates climb exponentially one societies become modern and start to hold people profoundly responsible for their biographies meritocracy is turn failure from a misfortune to an unbridgeable existential verdict on the state of one’s soul but not all societies and errors have seen success and failure in such a stark light in ancient greece another rather remarkable possibility quite ignored by our own era was envisaged you could be good and yet fail to keep this idea at the front of the collective imagination the ancient Greeks developed a particular art form tragic drama they put on huge festivals which all the citizens were expected to attend to act out stories of a Pauling often grizzly failure people would seem to break a minor law will make a hasty decision or sleep with the wrong person and the result was ignominy and death yet what happened was shown to be to a large extent in hands of what the Greeks called fate or the gods it was the Greeks poetic way of saying that things often work out in random ways according to dynamics that simply don’t reflect the merits of the individuals concern in the poetic the philosopher Aristotle to find the key ingredients of tragedy the hero of a tragedy should be a decent person better than average often highborn but prone to making small mistakes as we all do at the start it may not be obvious that it’s an error they’re making but by an unfortunate chain of events for which they’re not wholly to blame this small mistake leads to a catastrophe a tragedy is the sympathetic morally complex account of how good people can end up in disaster situations it’s the very opposite of today’s tabloid newspaper or social media sphere where the mob rushes to make judgments on those who slipped up Aristotle thought is extremely important that people see tragic works on a regular basis to counter their otherwise strong inclinations to judge in to moralize a good tragedy should for Aristotle inspire both pity and fear pity for the tragic hero based on an understanding of how easy it is to make the slip that leads to a disaster and fear for oneself as one realizes how open our lives are two careering out of control all of us could quite quickly come apart if ever events chose to test us tragedy is meant to be a corrective too easy judgment it exists a counter on natural instincts to admire only the successful to spurn all those who fail and to dismiss unfortunates as losers we’re currently very uncomfortable around the idea of a good person not succeeding we’d rather say that they weren’t good at all that embrace a far more disturbing and less well publicized thought that in fact the world is very unfair but without the idea of tragedy we make existence for everyone far crueler and far more judgmental than it really need be it’s time to look back in history to recover an extremely important idea

Leave a Reply