And in a time when democracies seem to be going the way of dictatorships in a number of places and freedoms and liberties of all sorts are in danger of being curtailed and restricted by leaders and politicians with no credibility and legitimacy whatsoever and whom cannot justify being in power, the only choice is to exercise one’s freedoms as much as possible and to the fullest extent if possible in order to preserve one’s freedoms and liberties and in turn stick it to those in power who incline more towards control as opposed to freedom in any way that is possible. As Albert Camus famously said: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
And as Thucydides said: “The sense is clear: happiness depends on freedom, and freedom depends on courage.” Or as it has also been put, the secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage. To know man is to know this particular chain of logic or reasoning. And as Goethe said: “The individual is free to occupy himself with whatever attracts him, with whatever gives him pleasure, with whatever seems to him useful: but the proper study of mankind is man.”
Moreover, courage has a divine quality to it, and it just so happens that courage is one side of the same coin as creativity, happiness, and freedom. As Goethe said: “The teacher who can rouse our feelings by a single good deed, a single good work of art, achieves more than one who passes on to us in form and name whole rows of inferior natural creatures, for the only result of that is what we know anyway, namely that the human form bears uniquely the image of the divine.” Or as Salvador Dali said: “A true artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others.”
As a result, the combination of courage, creativity, happiness, and freedom is a kind of transcendence which only a few are lucky enough (or perhaps unlucky enough) to experience in life at any given point in time. As Goethe said: “Everything perfect of its kind must transcend its kind: it must become something other, something incomparable. In many of its notes the nightingale is still a bird; then it rises above its type and seems to want to show all the feathered tribe what singing really is.”
And the reward for courage and its various dimensions, facets, and payoffs and thus the reward for transcendence is love. It is love which explains all the efforts and strivings that are shrouded in attributes and qualities such as courage, creativity, freedom, and happiness. As Goethe said: “A life without love, without the presence of the beloved, is only a comédiè à tiroir. You pull out one drawer and shut it again and hurry on to the next. Everything, even the good and significant, hangs together very poorly. You must everywhere be starting again from the beginning and would be glad to end anywhere.” And if it takes courage and transcendence in order to attain love, then it is no surprise that love is as rare as anything that can possibly exist and be found, given the divine and supernatural attributes and qualities it takes in order to attain it.