Man in the Arena



  • I'm an admirer of Theodore Roosevelt, consistently ranked by academic historians and political scientists among the top five Highest Rated Presidents. This began innocently enough years back during my first solo backpacking trip in Yosemite when I became curious about those responsible for preserving of some of the most awesome natural wonders in the United States, and indeed the World.

    Teddy Roosevelt is perhaps best known for his "Speak softly and carry a big stick" quotable quote, but the man offered up many other choice bits of wisdom as well, which I often parlay into my signatures. One that does not but really speaks to me is from his Man in the Arena: Citizenship in a Republic Speech in 1910 at the Sorbonne, in Paris, as it is too long for a signature and any editing to shorten would not do it justice. Some good thought food there so I thought I'd share it here.

    Man in the Arena

    "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

    Theodore Roosevelt; "Citizenship in a Republic," Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

    Enjoy! ✌



  • I've been a Teddy Roosevelt fan for a while. However, I used to post on a blog site, where one of the militant left-wingers attempted to paint him as a racist. Of course, at the turn of the century, The U.S. was a far more racist nation than it is now. In that environment Teddy Roosevelt incurred the wrath of racist papers in the south by inviting African American spokesman Booker T. Washington, to dine with him and his family at the White House, which was a presidential first. Roosevelt, while governor of New York, had frequently had black guests to dinner and sometimes invited them to sleep over.

    I think it's a little too "politically-correct" to judge folks that grew up in the 1800's by our current standards of behavior.



  • @FritzRay said in Man in the Arena:

    I think it's a little too "politically-correct" to judge folks that grew up in the 1800's by our current standards of behavior.

    It is all too easy to say "How could they not have understood?", whether it be about race, religion, sex, war...

    I wonder what our grandchildren's children will think of us? Just as it is easy to blame earlier generations for not understanding what we understand now, it is also easy to believe we finally have it right.

    And regarding the "Man in the Arena" address, it has long been a foundation of my approach to life.



  • Yeah, I've known that quote for decades.

    Arena in latin is the plural form of "sand", a reference to the sands of the Coliseum.



  • @FritzRay

    Heh.... Seems Teddy had a message for the SJW PAB's over a century before their time!



  • @David-Harris said in Man in the Arena:

    @FritzRay said in Man in the Arena:

    I think it's a little too "politically-correct" to judge folks that grew up in the 1800's by our current standards of behavior.

    It is all too easy to say "How could they not have understood?", whether it be about race, religion, sex, war...

    I wonder what our grandchildren's children will think of us? Just as it is easy to blame earlier generations for not understanding what we understand now, it is also easy to believe we finally have it right.

    We have it far from right. History will show the current era as an exceptionally feckless one.



  • The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it

    Engraved with the Spirit's pen on the Rubaiyat Spire in the Black Hills . . .



  • @jgill Not much background in philosophy. Nor classical literature. I do enjoy Shakespeare but that is about the extent of it. IT evolves so fast it kind of becomes all consuming to the point you find yourself "needing to get a life" if you're not careful to feed your brain a more balanced diet. Moreover, just like a poor diet wreaks havoc with our physiological being, absence of balance in the brain food department takes it's toll on the mind as well.

    In any event, thanks for stretching my mind a bit Mr. Gill.


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