From a young age boys are taught to persevere and to win.Boys are told stories with a message you should fight against all odds and attempt to gain the glory you desire. Stories of fantastic knights (often also upholding the valiant code of chivalry) who slay dragons sit in the minds of youth.
Gladiators and conquerors who reign supreme as they fight for what all that is right in the world and defending the people in the local village. Rock stars and champion athletes hold the attention of the world as people scream their names in excitement. These are who we are shown to look up to.
No child is without a glorious hero whose name will go down in legend, and almost every child dreams of being the person who would fight for such things no matter what the cost.
When a young boy is on the verge of collapsing, he is told to hold it in, endure the pain and keep going. The cheerleaders keep on screaming his name, despite his injury. The princess is waiting behind the beasts, as you fight for freedom and justice to save the world around you. That is what victory gets you! Fame! Glory! Power! The love of the people! You are a hero in their eyes and will live on as a god amongst men.
Of course from the knight in shining armor, to the football star, to the brave soldier we also see a sad story in the background. The thousandth knight to face the dragon, the last hope of the football team, and the mighty soldier who saves the day also share something else in common. They are the last to take the challenge. They aren’t as special as much special, as they are the next in line to go against impossible odds. If they fail then someone else will come forth to take their place. Whether it be a pompous fool to fight the beast, the next season’s quarterback, or the infantry reserves-they aren’t the only hope that theyt have been made out to be.
No, in reality they are simply tools. Tools of society. And while that may not seem different than the roles of many others on the surface great heroes put their life at risk, lose everything and destroy them in the process. And if you are destroyed, you are just another tally on the list. And if you fail, then there is more glory offered. The glory of the hero is based on how many people failed before them, the more who fail, the more love there is to maintain. So much for glory.
So how does society get people to seek the glory? Glory is then associated with love. After growing up with countless tales of heroics and the love that comes with glory, you know not unconditional love, but love with a set of requirements. If you do not risk sacrificing yourself, how can you truly be loved? According the whimsical worlds imaginations are filled with, if there is no sacrifice, there is no chance of love.
Men can’t simply have love, men have to win it. By being forced to win love, the masses use love as the bait for the servitude of men. Love will lure the fools towards ideas of glory, leading many to an early, unnecessary demise.
Love is glory, and glory is love by merging them together, men have learned to sacrifice themselves. There is no shrine, no parade, no ceremony for those who succeed without risking self destruction. There are no legends of those who protect without risk. Worst of all, there is no love. Without any sacrifice, there is nothing that can be obtained.
As our heroes bask in glory, they forget the dragon they stand upon covers a thousand corpses. That is the sad reality. The hero did what no one else could, but if he couldn’t they would have found someone else, snaring them in with the promise of love. That is the dark truth behind glory.