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214. To Be Great Is to Be Misunderstood  
20:43:00, January 22nd, 2008
 
 
John Henry Holliday, DDS
This, John thinks, is ridiculous.

The thought is the comfort of talented children trapped in circumstances that hold their bodies and perhaps warp their hearts, while their minds reach for something if not higher, then surely more. He thinks of a wild bird caught indoors, beating its wings to propel itself through a closed window, expending its energy until it is forced to flap frustrated on the floor.

Sometimes such children become great. Sometimes events continue to ensure they are thwarted. Sometimes they nurse this phrase as justification of failure and never reach for greatness. Sometimes those without talent cling to this thought when they are not recognised, holding it as proof of greatness they do not hold. Sometimes those who become great were children raised with love and opportunity. There is no formula.

John had taken comfort in this thought at home as a boy after his mother had died. he had honed mind and hand, waiting in resentment to be freed to become great. He knows the comfort of the thought is necessary, for there is little else when you are brilliant and all alone but the thought that you will show them all, someday, someday, someday. It is the reason he so avidly encourages education and study. Schools are a means of escape from misunderstanding and if they can offer tools, ideas, and intellectual companionship, they can offer hope and the breeze of fresh air if not freedom. It can offer a real possibility of someday.

"To be great is to be misunderstood." This can spur those who are both brilliant and supressed to greatness, that they might justify the comfort they derived from it in childhood. But it is a delusion.

Greatness gives one voice and influence.

To be misunderstood is to fail to communicate, whether the fault lies with the actor or the audience.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 309
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
affect: verboseverbose
 
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Meta(ish)
 pinkhairedauror
 
13:45:40, January 23rd, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
Tonks: Eccentric
Greatness gives one voice and influence.

That implies that greatness is a fact that depends on the perception of others. But what if it is a quality that is IN the individual, regardless whether their actions are recognised for how great they actually are or not?

Unless I'm mistaken, Galilei communicated his ideas quite correctly, enough for him to end his life, well, condemned for defying the status quo. That did not make what he claimed less true, nor his findings OR courage any less great.

Mind you, I don't say that to be great is to be misunderstood. Just that sometimes that may happen to be true.

ooc: er. Muse is cranky and picky.
Description: Eccentric
 
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Re: Meta(ish)
 john_h_holliday
 
3:35:53, January 24th, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
John Henry Holliday, DDS: Nitrous Oxide
I am only saying that there is no formula.

There are surely people who are great who are misunderstood. One almost can say that everyone is misunderstood, communication being what it is. Words fail to express any but the barest totalities of any subject, even at their very best, and a twitch may be mistaken for a wink, a thoughtful frown for one of disapproval.

As for Galilei, I would argue that he was understood all too well. Nothing precludes that those threatened by the ideas or works of a great person would attack him, that there will be those who conspire against him for envy or vested interests, that there will be those who understand his but yet challenge him, or that some will understand and wish to debate to further his vision. None of this diminishes him.

I would suggest that greatness is in the perception of others. I would suggest it does imply voice and influence. And this may be posthumous too, as in the case of Van Gogh. His voice and influence are felt though he did not know it. I would also hesitate to put a degree to voice and influence, however. Is one person significantly affected enough to make someone great? Is five? twenty? a hundred? a thousand? a million? I am not prepared to make that decision.

If there is not greatness in terms of voice and influence yet people have greatness in them, I would say it is only potential greatness. I would place people in the category of those talented yet thwarted by events. Sometimes this occurs, as for me. I say this of myself. I never became great. Fame for thirty seconds of death in a dusty unpleasant vacant lot is not greatness, whatever else I may be. And I am a great deal.

I know what it is to be with someone, and have those moments, sometimes, when I am with a friend and think that I am at that time I am the luckiest person in the entire world, for I am spending time with them seeing their inherent breathtaking beauty. And yes, the greatness that is inside them. Maybe it is enough for one person to hear their voices, to grow under their influences? But it is voice and influence.

And I know how lonely it is to have talent in isolation, without voice.

occ It is no problem. John is very talky. He loves to discuss. 8^) We are thrilled you answered!
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ooc
 ynez_castillo
 
14:50:27, January 23rd, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
Ynez Castillo: OOC
Ahahahahaa! I love this!
Description: OOC
 
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(no subject)
 winterlion
 
23:19:04, January 23rd, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
Winterlion
He thinks of a wild bird caught indoors, beating its wings to propel itself through a closed window, expending its energy until it is forced to flap frustrated on the floor.

and so you describe my childhood, my youth and most of my years since.

To be misunderstood is to fail to communicate, whether the fault lies with the actor or the audience.

and all too often, it's both.
I speak a sentence and lacking the audience's context, they misunderstand.
I speak a sentence and - the audience lacking mine - they misunderstand.

Cheers, sir. You have caught it properly.
 
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(no subject)
 john_h_holliday
 
3:42:20, January 24th, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
John Henry Holliday, DDS
Sometimes we see in pictures.
Thank you kindly.
8^)
 
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(no subject)
 attic_nights
 
22:03:07, January 25th, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
Lord Crispin FitzRoy: Hand
Greatness gives one voice and influence.

To be misunderstood is to fail to communicate, whether the fault lies with the actor or the audience.


Do these two taken together suggest that a great man, in order to have influence, must be possessed of a great audience?
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(no subject)
 john_h_holliday
 
17:36:03, January 26th, 2008 (UTC)
 
 
John Henry Holliday, DDS: Dental office 1874
Not necessarily. I am not prepared to discuss a great audience at this time. Does a great audience, like a great man, possess voice and influence? Is a great audience one that succeeds in understanding? One might argue this last, but a great man may be misunderstood and yet have voice and influence. And there is the question of number, as in Tonks comment. If one person understanding and changing gives a man voice and influence, then how does that person balance against, for instance five people misunderstanding? Or what if the five people have wealth and power and the single person is a sympathetic and well-informed friend? In short, the definitions necessary are not something I can at this time address. What had you meant by 'great audience?'
Description: Dental office 1874
 
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