The Peace and Love Lifestyle

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Ernest Hemingway on Courage.

To recognize the purpose contained in our suffering, the potential resting within our sadness, and the tragically comedic nature of our existence requires the sensibility, intelligence, and faith only a hero, or poet, commands. Many have become heroes, but few have been able to pull the poetry from their existence, and place it on a canvas, on scales, or on paper. Ernest Hemingway on Courage, in Death in the Afternoon, articulated the beauty created when man executes his bravery, sensibility, and nimbleness in order to overcome and conquer his hesitations.

Hemingway understood the objective is to overcome ourselves; he found this universal truth reflected in the bullfights of Italy. Being a matador, and also a bull, required courage, and most importantly, improvisation, for the matador responds to their circumstance through the recognition of their physical limitations and relies of the superiority of their mind. One must do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are; as the matador dances with the bull to survive, we dance throughout our days to do the same. However, it is better to die pursuing our dreams than forever live a life of quiet anonymity–Hemingway says:

It was preferable that he be gored rather than run from the bull. To be gored was honorable.

Ernest Hemingway on Courage.
Ernest Hemingway on Courage.

A cowardice man receives no sympathy. The man that overprepares determines the outcome of every battle. The first enemy in every battle is unpreparedness and laziness. Hemingway looked at bullfighting as a allegorical ritual of the necessity to overcome ourselves. He revealed the adventurous nature of the bullfight. One must not act out of fear–Hemingway makes this clear when he says:

The knees are for cowards. If he was a coward why did he insist on being a bullfighter? There was no natural sympathy for uncontrollable nervousness because he was a paid public performer. It was preferable that he be gored rather than run from the bull. To be gored was honorable. They would have sympathized with him had he been caught in one of his nervous uncontrollable jerky retreats. Which they knew were from lack of training, rather than for him to have gone down on his knees.

Because the hardest thing when frightened by the bull is to control the feet. And let the bull come, and any attempt to control the feet was honorable. Even though they jeered at it because it looked ridiculous. But when he went on both knees, without the technique to fight from that position. The technique that Marcial Lalanda, the most scientific of living bullfighters, has. And which alone makes that position honorable; then Hernandorena admitted his nervousness. To show his nervousness was not shameful; only to admit it. When, lacking the technique and thereby admitting his inability to control his feet. The matador went down on both knees before the bull. The crowd had no more sympathy with him than with a suicide.

Ernest Hemingway on Courage.
Ernest Hemingway on Courage.

Can one experience heartbreak without ever feeling love? The fears of being lonely are often more dreadful than the loneliness itself, but their are moments, in my reflections of being in the ring, where I reflect on the loveliest moments with partners that bring the sting of heartbreak. The lover in a conversation raises their head with a wide smile, beautiful looking as the morning sun and intensely refreshing, and their eyes that stare into mine, concentrated and loving, continually speaks with gentleness while their nostrils widen and they lift their head with excitement as our dialogue becomes more passionate with each moment then I have succeeded.

Because I have experienced a rare honesty, openness, and joy, I have succeeded. For it is better to have experienced loved than never loved at all. One must discover our bravery through diving into love, fear, and our dreams; Hemingway speaks eloquently on the inner satisfaction of being in the ring with a bull saying–

Many go in from pride, hoping that they will be brave. Many find they are not brave at all; but at least they went in. There is absolutely nothing for them to gain except the inner satisfaction of having been in the ring with a bull; itself a thing that any one who has done it will always remember. It is a strange feeling to have an animal come toward you consciously seeking to kill you, his eyes open looking at you, and see the oncoming of the lowered horn that he intends to kill you with. It gives enough of a sensation so that there are always men willing to go into the capeas for the pride of having experienced it and the pleasure of having tried some bullfighting manoeuvre with a real bull although the actual pleasure at the time may not be great.

Sometimes the bull is killed if the town has the money to afford it, or if the populace gets out of control; every one swarming on him at once with knives, daggers, butcher knives and rocks; a man perhaps between his horns, being swung up and down, another flying through the air, surely several holding his tail, a swarm of choppers, thrusters and stabbers pushing into him, laying on him or cutting up at him until he sways and goes down. All amateur or group killing is a very barbarous, messy, though exciting business and is a long way from the ritual of the formal bullfight.

Ernest Hemingway is encountered as a human being, without the veil of fiction throughout Death in the Afternoon. He is a writer at the height of his creative powers and at the height of his own arrogance. Ernest Hemingway on Courage shows his readers a clear picture of who he is by describing the things he loves and the things he hates. This picture is not always a flattering one. It contains his greatness, his pettiness, and his cruelty. The picture is, however, an extraordinarily accurate one. Continue diving into the Hemingwayan wisdom with his final words before his suicide.

Ernest Hemingway on Courage.
Ernest Hemingway on Courage.

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