Contra-Oppression

This is what the steely-faced but doughy-spined administrators of our hostile occupation do not understand:

Just as in our daily life the so-called genius needs a particular occasion and sometimes indeed a special stimulus, to bring his genius to light, so too in the life of the peoples the race that has genius in it needs the occasion and stimulus to bring that genius to expression. In the monotony and routine of everyday life even persons of significance seem just like the others and do not rise beyond the average level of their fellow-men. But as soon as such men find themselves in a special situation which disconcerts and unbalances the others, the humble person of apparently common qualities reveals traits of genius, often to the amazement of those who have hitherto known him in the small things of everyday life. That is the reason why a prophet only seldom counts for something in his own country. War offers an excellent occasion for observing this phenomenon. In times of distress, when the others despair, apparently harmless boys suddenly spring up and become heroes, full of determination, undaunted in the presence of Death and manifesting wonderful powers of calm reflection under such circumstances. If such an hour of trial did not come nobody would have thought that the soul of a hero lurked in the body of that beardless youth. A special impulse is almost always necessary to bring a man of genius into the foreground. The sledge-hammer of Fate which strikes down the one so easily suddenly finds the counter-impact of steel when it strikes at the other. And, after the common shell of everyday life is broken, the core that lay hidden in it is displayed to the eyes of an astonished world. This surrounding world then grows obstinate and will not believe that what had seemed so like itself is really of that different quality so suddenly displayed. This is a process which is repeated probably every time a man of outstanding significance appears.

And it will cost them dearly.

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