Magnanimity and Fortitude


I love the relationship between magnanimity and fortitude. Anyone who has worked with teenagers knows that the happiest and most emotionally healthy of them are those who aspire after great and honorable ends.  And certainly not all of them do.  It is not uncommon to see hordes of teenagers loitering every night at the local deli or mall, doing very little with their lives if anything at all.  This is pusillanimity, or smallness of soul.  This rather pusillanimous existence is by no means limited to teenagers.  Many adults have settled for a very small existence, which usually includes but does not seem to go far beyond a house with a well-manicured lawn, a little garden, a nice car, and sometimes a life that deliberately puts pets ahead of children.  These things are not evil in themselves.  Rather, it is the lack of aspiration towards what is worthy of great honor that is small and deficient.  The emotion that suffers in this case is the emotion of hope; for the virtue of magnanimity perfects hope and involves a stretching forth of the mind to great honors.  There is no emotional wholeness without such a stretching forth to the great. There is no peace absent the struggle for glory!

A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner, neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify for usefulness and happiness. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill and fortitude or the voyager. The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism worth a lifetime of softness and security.Author Unknown

A kite flies against the wind. People rise higher as the opposing wind becomes stronger. A sailboat can go forward even when against the wind.  It makes use of conflicting forces, including adverse forces, to move forward. Muscles are developed by putting resistance to them. Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men. Adversity is an opportunity for growth. Behind every adversity is a chance for the soul to grow and mature. A problem is an opportunity in work clothes. Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things. Who hath not known ill fortune, never knew himself, or his own greatness. Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it. Prosperity puffs up narrow souls, makes them imagine themselves high and mighty, and leads them to look down upon the world with contempt; but a truly noble spirit appears greatest in distress; and then becomes more bright and conspicuous. It is not the so-called blessings of life like sunshine and calm and peaceful times that make men, but its rugged experiences, its storms and tempests and trials. Adversity is more often than not, a blessing in disguise.

Be strong! Be Magnanimous!