A TRUE TEST
The year is 330BCE…
And I am in Spartan military camp.
No man is exempt from military service in our civilisation. For this reason you get a real mix of society. Everybody from the rich to the poor has to train in the art of warfare or else they are cast out into the wilderness.
This is not wise as many primitive and dangerous beasts await the offering of the weak men that are cast out. I’m talking about violent creatures that are long extinct in the modern world you know of today.
To avoid being prey we train until our minds are military. Then we serve as soldiers of the Spartan army until our lives meet the demand of fulfilment and purpose.
Only the finest men make it to service though. Only the finest men get to go to battle in the name of Sparta, to fight for honour, to call themselves protectors of the women and children who rely on our masculinity.
Not everybody in this training camp will meet that demand. Not everybody in this camp is a fine man, just like Hector.
Hector is a bully. We have had many altercations and the truth is, every man in this camp is clueless as to what the generals want to see from us to make the cut.
Every time Hector and I butt heads I am not sure if what I fight for is going to make the grade, or if the sheer aggression and brutality Hector has displayed is what they are looking for.
For example Hector is always telling people what to do. He likes to lead with words whereas I am a quiet man who likes to act initially.
Action to me earns the right to speak so this is how I work to inspire. My actions seem to stoke the fire in the men, which means they then turn to me for words of advice and that creates friction between myself and Hector.
As much as I hate to say it he is the measure I have to gauge myself against when it comes to winning the approval for leadership. I feel I am better equipped to guide the men because in all honesty, I actually don’t want to.
I don’t want to be a leader…
But when I see Hector bullying men from all walks of LIFE I know I have to make myself a candidate.
Hector is full of hate and rage from his childhood. It is commonly understood that his father beat him regularly.
I feel sorry for him truth be told…
But the morals he upholds because of his past do not suit warfare. It would not be fair to send men into battle with a man at the helm who is so reckless. A man who is so careless with his own LIFE because of the constant pain he is in.
I wish Hector healing but for now, I must work out how to become the prime candidate for captaincy. This will not be easy because of Hector’s sheer size and strength.
Hector is a man of great shape and length from an anatomical point of view. It is true that on a physical level…
Hector is a marvel of a man.
He stands at 6ft 7inches tall and looks like a heavyweight bodybuilder, but his muscular capability is fully functional. For a man so large and tall Hector is agile, fast and as I mentioned previously, he is extremely aggressive and brutal.
His complexion is made up of battle marks all over his face and body. He even has a deformity by way of the excessive scar tissue on his back from the years of whipping he took from his father.
Hector is no easy man to submit, so I must outwit him as well as display the deep and true morality that forms the very being of my nature. My personal behaviour is cultivated by the virtue of empathy that I gained after I was abandoned as a child.
I was not smiled upon by LIFE either. Like Hector I had to overcome adversity…
Only I chose empathy once I was old enough to understand.
I was abandoned by my mother and father but over time I realised that was how it was meant to be. The universe gave me the exact circumstances I needed to become empathetic for the human condition.
Rather than take my afflictions out on the world I chose to become an ambassador for the opposite of what I received. Rather than make others bleed for my suffering I decided to use my LIFE as a beacon of hope. If I can cope with my own pain to the point of transmuting it into a force for good…
Others should be able to as well.
I do not live in the shell of my trauma, because I choose to honour the principle of empathy. Everybody else takes their pain out on others, as Hector does, but I would never do this no matter how much I am coerced by evil. Empathy is my fuel and in this military training camp it was given A TRUE TEST!
As a last test before finding out who would be made captain of the squad our endurance was put in the spotlight. We were all made to fight with our own will power. We were all asked to hold up two pillars for as long as we could, while the generals stood and gauged our ability to endure.
Of course Hector boastfully cried out when asked who wanted to go first. The men quietly cursed his name under their breath as he set a new military record for the longest pillar hold in history.
Then it was me. Everybody cheered as I pushed myself to the limit, but no matter how strong my spirit I did not have the physical strength to hold the pillars up for as long as Hector.
No other man could match him either until we came down to the final four candidates. One of my good friends was up next and he was holding strong, until I suddenly noticed something was wrong with the pillar on his left side.
On the last hold the pillars had collided as a soldier wrestled to keep them up and consequently, there seemed to be some damage that had gone unnoticed. This meant that as the damaged pillar began to sway with my comrade’s struggle…
Rocks were beginning to fall.
The tall, muscular physique of Hector began to shake with laughter as everybody realised what was happening. Nobody did a thing though because they were scared to be hurt by the falling debris.
It was time for me to step into action. My past affliction has created the virtue of empathy that cannot watch another become the subject of pain.
I ran to my friend and grabbed the chain wrapped around the left pillar. I said, “I will hold it my brother whilst you run as fast as you can!”.
Just as I was preparing for the worst I felt another man grab hold of the chain. I felt another man who empathised with pain but there was no time to turn and see who had come to the rescue.
I shouted to my friend that it was time to run and so he let go and sprinted from the pillars. Whoever was behind then shouted “run”, to me.
I quickly let go and turned to run for my LIFE. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Hector running in front of me!
It was he who had grabbed the chain. It was he who had felt another’s pain and come to the rescue.
“Thank you Hector”, I said once we were at a point of safety. Without your strength we would probably all be dead.
He nodded his head and shook my hand. “This man should be captain!”, he bellowed at the top of his voice.
The noise was deafening as the soldiers cheered in agreement. It was at this moment that I realised something about empathy.
The man in front of me was no longer my foe, so now I know that to destroy my enemy, then with the weapon of empathy I must make him my friend.
As the great man Abraham Lincoln once said in a more modern time…
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”
This is what I learnt from A TRUE TEST!
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