You Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission To Succeed (Podcast)

In this podcast we discuss the subject of having the faith and confidence to follow your creative muse, without looking for the approval or endorsement of others. The herd is always going to try to enforce conformity. Do your homework, do your research, and learn your subject: but at the critical jumping-off moment, you need to keep your own counsel and not let anyone undermine your instinct.

 

This podcast is available in iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, and Soundcloud.  

 

Read more in my new, modern translation of Cicero’s On Moral Ends, which has special features to meet the needs of the general reader:

3 thoughts on “You Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission To Succeed (Podcast)

  1. The importance of this podcast cannot be understated.
    Half-measures are no measures at all, while even the refuse to act is one. Although it is your role to prevent stagnation, the tendency of a group to prevent foolish acts matters as much as the individual’s duty to bring new ways to the table. It’s not a crime to apply a force against another force, especially when both are meant to work together. In Ancient Rome, it was the role of the magistrates, chosen by the citizens, to show their character, to protect what was timeless with their new virtuous approach, through the three qualities of Eloquence, Ability to lead as a warrior, and Knowledge of the law.
    I think, we all had our moments, our “first times”, when under stress or cold anger, we acquire the resolve to do things that we would never dare to do otherwise, because paralyzed by the eyes of others or the 1% chance that all goes wrong (which itself has another 1% chance that it goes inescapably wrong). These times when we stop caring, or where we, by mistake, think we were in our rights (and get them anyway). We need to remember these times, and to be able to get back that moral strength at will, when we need it. For me, it had been the works of years and I had to go into a whole ritual of absolute iconoclasm. Really, I realize how modern society and family fucks us up with their incoherent demands for obedience and dishonesty when it suits them.
    It’s all about courage, it’s about the divine spark within the soul, and it’s about Fortune. She’s like a goddess and every man has his own to court. You have to read the signs, accept her gifts and show yourself worthy of her in return, or she’ll make you pay for your arrogance. Being coy when she gives you the means to achieve your natural goals is bound to turn all of her strengths against the fake personality you made up, and yourself in the process. In the same way, wasting the kindness she gives you (especially in your youth) in favor of edgy self-destructive impulses will have her turn her back away from you and you’ll end up like a shell, dull and forgotten.

    An historical example of this is Napoleon. Through chance and through his character, he had everything given to him, he was led to the right place everytime as History needed a man to lead, and every gift made his legend grow even larger. His Italian nobility and Corsican past led him to his ideals, which led to the politics which led to his Italian republics, his Egypt campaign introduced him and France to the Arab world for the future and made him appear like a mythic conqueror for the present, and his youth, simplicity and popularity attracted the attention of Sieyes which led him even higher, etc. But he wasn’t able to stand up to his fate.
    When Fortune took away the monarch of Russia and the perspective of alliance through regicide, he refused to accept reality and to consider the new czar with suspicion. He forgot about the Jacobin, French Revolutionary ideals which propelled him to the top and meddled with monarchs who, like all aging aristocrats, would never accept a powerful stranger to sit near them, betraying the Polish revolutionaries who believed in him. He treated the plebes of Europe like another hated autocrat, and fell because of that. But again, it was Fortune that saved him again, by allowing to escape Elbe, return to France while the foreign-placed king fled away without a fight, amend for his character by promising a new governance that echoed to his younger revolutionary self. Unlike the disaster of his Russian campaign, this time, his defeat at Waterloo had the sound of a beautiful tragedy instead of a well-deserved demise.
    Robert Greene’s book (you know which one) pretended that the Hundred Days were a controlled scheme to get rid of Napoleon once for all. If that was the case, it was an extremely foolish move that created a antic legend in the modern times instead of cementing a disgrace. The foreign-placed king lost all credibility, his heir was murdered by Bonapartists, and his brother was soon to be ousted from the throne as the tricolored flag made his return in the July revolution of 1830.
    Grinning in 1814, Metternich had less than thirty years later to hide while fleeing Vienna, seeing all the political construction of his life destroyed. In the end, the Bonaparte dynasties did not last as they were the antithesis of what really mattered, the drive of the people to fight for their freedom, which was what marked the century.
    Action is never isolated and that every man has his calling. Tricks are nothing without soul, will and faithfulness to your personal morality. To refuse to be yourself, to follow your star, is a crime against you, against God(s), and against your fellow men.

    Of course, our lives are going to be way more stale than that, but it doesn’t mean that our lives matter less. The unknown life of a man who traveled outside of his comfort zone, cherished his body with a healthy lifestyle, stayed faithful to himself and inspired his loved ones probably has a more important life than the Napoleon who tried most of his life to escape his fate, betraying it in the process. And this is not a coincidence. This is a lesson given to us by Fate itself, so we remember.

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