Modern Man Doesn’t Realize He’s Yearning for Greatness

"Napoleon Crossing the Alps" by Jacques-Louis David, 1801. Public domain.

Modern man is hungry for an epic narrative. Unfortunately, our only available options seem to be comic books and Game of Thrones.

This isn’t to suggest a problem with comics or something – I have pictures of Batman and Iron Man hanging up in my office.¬†But this media will never replace our need to actually live up to those values ourselves.

At times, this can be hilarious.

While we’re all pretending that our values are politically correct, we’re still spending billions¬†on media that show us gorgeous warrior princesses and body-building billionaire geniuses on massive screens.

Not that these stories are making us more satisfied. Media can only do so much to fill the gap.

Show me someone who doesn’t see themselves engaged in an epic story – like between good and evil, or between great and pathetic – and I’ll show you someone living a miserable life.

Narratives matter, and I don’t just mean the political kind. I mean the kind of actual stories. They strike so fundamentally deep, even we don’t know what’s going on until much later, if at all.

As civilization “wins” against basic human problems, this chasm between what we are and what we yearn for will only get stronger.