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Thrymheim
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 05:34 AM
Which is better?

To be a mediocre free man or to be a loyal follower of a great man?

In other words does one gain more honour from supporting one with much honour or for bumbling along on your own, surviving but never becoming great?

I think from the way I've written that it is obvious which I believe!

MockTurtle
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 05:39 AM
Which is better?

To be a mediocre free man or to be a loyal follower of a great man?

Being a loyal follower of a great man, without a doubt. What will the mediocre "free man" ever achieve on his own? Well, obviously the most he can achieve will be mediocrity. If, however, he puts himself in the full service of another person's greatness, then at least he can make a contribution to something much more meaningful.

In fact, 'great men' oftentimes are dependent on their ability to command obedience and inspire loyalty, because it takes many people to fulfill their great visions.

Guntwachar
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 05:49 AM
Being a mediocre free man for me, quite simple the great man was once also a mediocre free man if we would all follow a "great" man there wouldnt be any real great people only sheeps.

MockTurtle
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 06:01 AM
Being a mediocre free man for me, quite simple the great man was once also a mediocre free man if we would all follow a "great" man there wouldnt be any real great people only sheeps.

Why is it that all 'great men' were once mediocre men, in your mind? To me, that doesn't make any sense. One of the common characteristics of 'great men' (as measured by historical impact, objective achievements, depth of soul, etc.) is their ability to bring people over to their side, to persuade people of their gifts and the primacy of their individual destiny. When people start to follow them, it's not because they are 'just sheep', it's because they are being converted to the superior vision of this unique individual.

There's nothing really 'wrong' with that, IMO. After all, not everyone is destined to lead or make an earth-shattering impact. I think it's better that mediocre people serve the vision of great people in order to accomplish something truly magnificent, rather than just revel in their 'freedom' because they didn't possess the spark of greatness themselves.

Guntwachar
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 06:13 AM
Most great man were seen as mediocre persons by others then you need to proof you arent, what do you think that you can walk up and say look how great i am?

This question has only 2 answers where we can pick from so i pick the one a great man would do in my eyes.

Ulf
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 06:42 AM
I'd rather be free to choose than led around like a dog.

Who has more 'honor' the wolf or the hound?

Stormraaf
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 06:54 AM
Who has more 'honor' the wolf or the dog?

Fully depends on what the wolf or the dog's master does. There's a place in the world for both types, I think. I myself would fit the 'dog' profile better, but I have a deep respect for 'wolves' who can accomplish much by themselves.

Also, within a particular cause, it would be favourable for a leader to have been a follower himself/herself at one time, because such a person would understand the leader-follower relationship better and have appreciation for the loyalty given to him/her.

lei.talk
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 12:31 PM
The Role of the Common Man in Atlas Shrugged:
The Eddie Willers Story

The heroes of Atlas Shrugged are men and women of great intellect. Dagny, Rearden, Francisco, Ellis Wyatt, and, above all, Galt are superb thinkers—even geniuses. The story makes clear the multitude of ways in which the great minds are mankind’s benefactors. But an honest reader may ask: What about the common man? Do heroism and moral stature require extraordinary intellectual ability, or can individuals of more modest intelligence aspire to these lofty goals? What is the relationship between a man’s intelligence and his moral character? In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand gives her answer to these questions through the character of Eddie Willers.

Eddie lacks the genius possessed by his boss, Dagny Taggart. He is her diligent, able assistant, but he’s not capable of building the John Galt Line, judging the merit of Rearden Metal, identifying the nature of the abandoned motor, finding a scientist capable of reconstructing the motor, or resolving the chaos that the Taggart Tunnel explosion causes. Likewise, he doesn’t possess the ability to run Taggart Transcontinental. He even states, in his forthright manner, that he isn’t a great man. He knows that if the railroad goes, he won’t be able to rebuild it; if such a tragedy occurs, he’ll share its demise.

But the issue of Eddie’s character is of greater importance. He is as constant in his devotion to the railroad as Dagny. He works the same long hours willingly; he stands at her side through every crisis; he is equally shocked and outraged at the behavior of James Taggart and the looters. Eddie has known, from early childhood, that the railroad is his life. In response to James Taggart’s snide reference to him becoming a feudal serf tied to Taggart Transcontinental, Eddie states, “That’s what I am.”

Like Dagny, Eddie reveres the achievements of Ellis Wyatt, Hank Rearden, and the unknown inventor of the motor. Eddie is, in the words Rand uses to describe Dagny, a child of the Industrial Revolution. He recognizes the benefits to human life from inventions like Rearden Metal and Galt’s motor, from new methods like Ellis Wyatt’s process for extracting oil from shale, and from industrial production, like that attained by Rearden Steel. In his lifelong devotion to the railroad, Eddie demonstrates his commitment to industry and technology, to the scientific research necessary to create them, and to the mind’s role in promoting human wellness on earth. The theme of Atlas Shrugged is the life-giving nature of rationality, and Eddie is as dedicated to the mind as any of the great thinkers in the story.

Eddie doesn’t possess the brainpower of Dagny, Rearden, or Galt, but he is as fully rational as they are. Galt explains that rationality is a commitment to the facts—an inviolable willingness to face reality, no matter how painful, frightening, or unpleasant the truth may be in a specific case. Rationality means never placing any consideration above one’s honest grasp of the facts. Eddie practices this method as fully as Galt. His rationality is shown throughout the story, but his early dialogue with James Taggart regarding the Rio Norte Line is a specific example. Eddie tells Taggart that there’s been another wreck, the track is shot, and the Phoenix-Durango provides superior service. Eddie also says that the railroad can’t wait any longer for Orren Boyle to deliver new rails. Taggart argues that if his company can’t get the rail because of unavoidable delays at Associated Steel, nobody can blame him for Taggart Transcontinental’s shoddy track or poor service. Eddie seeks to fix the track, but James Taggart only looks to avoid blame. Where Eddie is concerned with the facts, Taggart’s sole regard is for public opinion. The difference between their specific concerns reflects the deeper difference between their cognitive methods. Taggart’s thinking is ruled by the opinions of others; facts rule Eddie’s thoughts.

Eddie’s character demonstrates the difference between intelligence and rationality. Intelligence is intellectual ability, whereas rationality is a method. Intelligence is a capacity for understanding, but rationality is a means of using one’s mind. Robert Stadler, for example, has incomparably greater intelligence than Eddie, but Eddie is far more rational. Stadler has the genius to make significant advances in theoretical physics, but when dealing with men, he often evades or denies important facts. Stadler tries to convince himself that Galt is dead—“he has to be,” he says—and that no connection exists between the prodigy he taught at Patrick Henry University and the man of whom the entire world speaks. Most important, Stadler tries to deny the truth of John Galt’s words, though he knows that all of Galt’s words are true. He repeatedly pushes aside the realization that, in aligning himself with the brutes, he has betrayed the mind. Unlike Stadler, Eddie refuses to push facts aside no matter how painful or frightening they are. He doesn’t deny that the economy is collapsing; that, when the railroad goes, he’ll go with it; or that Dagny, the woman he loves, is sleeping with Rearden. Eddie faces reality at all times. He merely possesses limited intellectual ability with which to do so.

Atlas Shrugged shows that intellect is necessary to promote man’s prosperity on earth. The achievements of Rearden, Dagny, Galt, and the other thinkers dramatize the claim that reason is the primary cause of progress. But intellectual ability isn’t within a man’s volitional control. The ability of his brain is something that a man is born with, but he chooses whether he uses it. Eddie’s consistent choice to accept the responsibility of thinking is the hallmark of a virtuous man. An individual can be judged only by what is subject to his control. On issues that are open to his choice, Eddie is a man of great stature.

Morality, according to the theme of Atlas Shrugged, involves an unbreached commitment to the rational requirements of man’s life on earth. Eddie exhibits such commitment to the end. For example, when the Taggart Comet breaks down in the Arizona desert, the passengers and crew abandon it for a covered wagon, but Eddie refuses to leave the train. “We can’t let it go!” Eddie says fiercely. At some level, he knows that he means more than the Comet and the railroad. Eddie won’t abandon industrial production, technology, science, and progress; he refuses to revert to primitive modes of transport or living. He’ll fix the train and restore transcontinental service, or he’ll die trying. He is loyal to the achievements of modern civilization and the minds that make them possible. This loyalty is the essence of his moral stature.

Ayn Rand deliberately leaves Eddie’s fate unresolved. His friends may rescue him and take him to the valley, where he deserves to be, but it’s also possible that Dagny and Francisco will be unable to find him in the desert and he’ll die. Eddie’s dependence on the strikers is a final example of the relationship between the common man and the creative geniuses. When the great minds are free to act upon their thoughts, they create abundance and the common man flourishes. However, when geniuses are enslaved, they’re unable to generate prosperity, and the common man suffers as a result. Eddie Willers—the moral best of every man—understands this truth. His moral status lies in his veneration of the mind.http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/LitNote/Atlas-Shrugged-About-the-Novel-Character-Map.id-7,pageNum-14.html

Ulf
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 06:17 PM
Fully depends on what the wolf or the dog's master does. There's a place in the world for both types, I think. I myself would fit the 'dog' profile better, but I have a deep respect for 'wolves' who can accomplish much by themselves.

Also, within a particular cause, it would be favourable for a leader to have been a follower himself/herself at one time, because such a person would understand the leader-follower relationship better and have appreciation for the loyalty given to him/her.

I think I meant it more as a rhetorical question. The wolf's honor comes from his freedom and ability to do as he pleases without any one thing specifically telling him what is best. The hound gains honor from pleasing his master and doing as he's told to the best of his ability. I'd prefer the former.

Which has more honor? It's relative and subjective.

Eccardus Teutonicus
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 09:58 PM
Righteousness gains more honour than freedom.


Which has more honor? It's relative and subjective.

And I disagree vehemently, Ulf, this is perfectly reflective of objective Truth. Honour comes from Justice, which itself flows from Truth, which is born in the Natural Order. Only in adhering to the Natural Order, knowing ones place in society, and living according to the ancient Justice of the Folk-law can any man have honour. Freedom is overrated, its cult is the result of an anti-cultural movement in Enlightenment thinking. Great men gain greatness from their inherent destiny, but most men are not born and destined to greatness. The masses are destined to follow, to recognise, know, and accept their place and adhere with loyalty to the natural order. It is the task of men born to greatness to seek out and maintain (or establish, in modern cases) the natural order and all others to follow them.

Thrymheim
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 03:49 AM
It occured to me that maybe the desire to be a "free man" and not support the great is what is wrong with society today, everybody is too interested in their own self progression and not enough in the progression of their society as a whole.

Personaly I believe that there is more honour in sacrificing your chance at glory to support the chance of a friend, than there is in trying to become great yourself. Anybody can be selfish and want the glory themselves, but it takes a truely great person to step out of the limelight and help someone else reach for the top.

Ulf
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 03:54 AM
Is there no honor in self-sufficiency?

Must I gain my honor by suckling at the tit of other, greater, men?

Only can you sacrifice yourself to those who are great after you have already become great yourself.

Rainraven
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 06:25 AM
If you are bumbling around by yourself you may never become great in the sense of the world but you could be considered great by your family and the people around you. Everyone's trying to be a hero these days...

Eccardus Teutonicus
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 06:51 PM
Is there no honor in self-sufficiency?

Must I gain my honor by suckling at the tit of other, greater, men?

Only can you sacrifice yourself to those who are great after you have already become great yourself.

No, but if you are inferior, accept it and seek your place below greater fighters and greater warriors. If you can attain greatness, then indeed grasp at the cloak of fate as she passes.

There is a place even for the masses, who need not be free, beneath the sway of great men who have the ability to gain glory. Those who are among the masses who follow great men are more honourable than those who seek "independence" at the expense of society. Individualism is anti-social; freedom is overrated. Greatness is for the few. The ability to accept these things is part of social maturity, part of finding wisdom and ultimately the only way to know what one's place is in the natural order.

Jäger
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 07:34 PM
Most great man were seen as mediocre persons by others then you need to proof you arent, what do you think that you can walk up and say look how great i am?
"I don’t like him." - "Why?" - "I am not equal to him." - Has any human being answered that way? (F. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)

In general, one should make a clear distinction here, there a followers and menials, and the difference is: "A menial doesn't know about the goals of his master" (Meister Eckehardt).
That said, a follower has always honor, and is a free man, who choose to subject himself to greater men.
And for the menial, well, .. "Many a one hath cast away his final worth when he hath cast away his servitude." (Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra)

SuuT
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 07:44 PM
"I don’t like him." - "Why?" - "I am not equal to him." - Has any human being answered that way? (F. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)

In general, one should make a clear distinction here, there a followers and menials, and the difference is: "A menial doesn't know about the goals of his master" (Meister Eckehardt).
That said, a follower has always honor, and is a free man, who choose to subject himself to greater men.
And for the menial, well, .. "Many a one hath cast away his final worth when he hath cast away his servitude." (Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra)


"It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves" (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Implication: One can be strong and still subject themself to the Will of another. And be no less Honourable.

...The problem with the other origin of the "good", of the good man, as the person of ressentiment has thought it out for himself, demands some conclusion. It is not surprising that the lambs should bear a grudge against the great birds of prey, but that is no reason for blaming the great birds of prey for taking the little lambs. And when the lambs say among themselves, "These birds of prey are evil, and he who least resembles a bird of prey, who is rather its opposite, a lamb, - should he not be good?" then there is nothing to carp within this ideal's establishment, though the birds of prey may regard it a little mockingly, and maybe say to themselves: "We bear no grudge against them, these good lambs, we even love them: nothing is tastier than a tender lamb..." (Nietzsche: The Geneaolgy of Morals).

Implication: The Great are the legislators of Great-ness; and, if for no other reason, to be followed as such.



The 'wanderer', the 'free' man, the mediocre can only insulate themself from culpability of their station - their lot in life - from inside the shadow cast by the Great.

Sissi
Monday, September 15th, 2008, 09:53 PM
The follower of a great man, for a very simple reason: great men don't achieve greatness alone. There is always someone "behind them", who helps them with their research and work. I would much prefer to bring my contribution to something meaningful than to simply cast shadow to the ground.

SuuT
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008, 01:22 AM
The follower of a great man, for a very simple reason: great men don't achieve greatness alone. There is always someone "behind them", who helps them with their research and work.


Are there 'gradations' (Abstufungen) of greatness, then?

Is there "sort of" great, for example?

Where does the applicability of the term end?

Sigurd
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008, 02:38 AM
Which is better?

To be a mediocre free man or to be a loyal follower of a great man?

In other words does one gain more honour from supporting one with much honour or for bumbling along on your own, surviving but never becoming great?

I think from the way I've written that it is obvious which I believe!

The question is really a bit of a theoretical one, because why would one want to be a mediocre free man if one could be a great free man?

It sounds all so easy, but chances are that if he is a mediocre man, that he may all be the loyal follower of a great man, but will he really climb the hierarchy so easily if he were not a great follower of a great man anyway?

Surely, there is much honour for the loyal follower, even if it usually comes at the price, that once the Alpha-Wolf dies, the Beta-Wolf has to leave the pack too.

I have stated before that humans are like wolves parted into three parts: There is the Alpha animal, the Beta animal, and the "commoner". The Alpha animal is a great free man, the Beta animal is his equally great loyal follower. The commoners are his mediocre loyal followers, and even if they declare themselves free men will always remain mediocre, as they lack both the leadership of the Alpha as well as the intelligence, cunningness and strategical raffinesse of the Beta. Yet, as the common soldier they can still gain more honour than as wandering vagabonds, so there is no clear shame in that either.

You usually see it everywhere, up to the structure of fora: Some will always climb to the executive places, other remain in Mod/SMod positions regardless of their devotion and commitment. One is the Alpha, the other is the Beta. There is room for both, and neither is shameful ... and often great Senior Mods will turn into mediocre Admins if given the chance: It needs different abilities.

I know that I would much rather be a King's Right Hand than a King or a Commoner, but then again I tend to be fairly good at advising. I wouldn't say I'd make a bad king, but would I make as good a king as a chief advisor? Only if I had the same loyal advisors that I had once been too, that complimented me as to where my weaknesses kicked in. It's a symbiosis. And thus I might find a friend who was better qualified for the position and cede my claims.

Even if you know that you wouldn't be a mediocre free man, will you be as great a free man as you could be a great advisor? Only if the question is a clear yes, or you know that you'd excel at both (and become a Platonic philosopher king if you will ;)) should you go for your option as a free man, as it requires different types of abilities.

Or to cut it all short - it is obviously more honourable to be the loyal follower of a great free man than to be a mediocre free man, Heß certainly has a better record than Nero or Caligula, for instance. ... but yet better, and maybe more honourable, is to be a great free man - if you have the abilities for it, otherwise you will just be a mediocre free man anyway.

The trouble with today's society is not for people declaring themselves leaders - it is for people not qualified, or unable of such responsibilities, to declared themselves leaders. It is rather an egotistical drive to profile yourself than to assess who might be best suited for the position and allow someone else to take it if they are more qualified. It's all become less collectivist and more Darwinist...

There is no shame in taking any position, as long as it is not the egotistical choice for mediocrity.

Rainraven
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008, 02:38 AM
I think you can be great in different ways, I guess depending on how large the scale of people that know of your greatness and how long it will be remembered. However I disagree with achieving greatness from being a follower, then you are simply piggy backing of someone elses ideas and successes.

MockTurtle
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008, 02:56 AM
However I disagree with achieving greatness from being a follower, then you are simply piggy backing of someone elses ideas and successes.

The issue isn't about achieving 'greatness' as a follower; I don't think that's possible. The issue is whether or not it's more honorable for someone of mediocrity to submit himself to greatness, or continue existing in a solitary state outside the influence of a different person.

Rainraven
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008, 03:29 AM
Sorry, my mistake.

In that case I believe it's still more honourable to be the person that you are, the person that you're loved for being than to conform to somebody elses expectations and beliefs.

I guess if you find a great man who hold these same beliefs for you to follow then you're just lucky ;)

Crabby Badger
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 05:45 AM
I have never been one to drink the proverbial cool-aid no matter the flavor. I value my freedom highly. Very highly. I cannot think of a single person living or dead that I respect so much as to give up my personal dominion, my will, my honor, for. This is called a personality cult or a cult of personality. There was a rock song written about it that sums it up pretty well whether they accomplished something "good" or "bad." "I'll tell you one and one makes three...." is the last thing I need to hear from yet another "great leader."

What some consider mediocrity, I consider honorable, just, and decent. The absolute best people I have ever known or could hope to lived and died ( or will die) in quiet obsurity without great praises sung by millions of rabid followers. Their memories will be carried on by family and friends who speak of them fondly and miss their presence. These are the truly great people.

My sense of history has taught me to beware of those who seek power especially without a real sense of struggle and sacrifice. And I dont mean in the process to consolidate power but rather the road leading them to their destiny that the Norns have spoken. Great leaders are made thru the forge and fire. They are nearly always not pretty, nor smooth talkers, nor the coolest. They never ask for more sacrifice from you than they themselves are willing to give themselves. And generally they rise only for a moment and then seek to gratefully return to a quiet life. They are not glamorous. Nor seek glory. When they are remembered it is because they actually deserved it.

As far as I can tell, this pretty much leaves most people out. Until the day that I do, I will be happy to honor a community of everyday people living by a solid code of honor and viture even if none are so fancy as to seek stardom. When the time comes for true leaders to arise - they will. And that time will come. It always does and it wont be a fun time I expect.

Jäger
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 09:23 AM
The absolute best people I have ever known or could hope to lived and died ( or will die) in quiet obsurity without great praises sung by millions of rabid followers.
You are doing word flick flaks here.
So would you honor those who subject themselves to these "absolute best people" of mediocrity, because they are not as good as those and seek guidance to achieve something they knew they couldn't achieve alone?