Being the boss anywhere is lonely. Being a female boss in a world of mostly men is especially so.
It does not matter how many tumbles you have in this life, so long as you do not get dirty when you tumble; it is only the people who have to stop to be washed and made clean, who must necessarily lose the race. And I can assure you that there is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life. You learn that which is of inestimable importance
Thomas Henry Huxley, On Medical
I saw a ship of material build (Her standards set, her brave apparel on)Directed as by madness mereAgainst a solid iceberg steer,Nor budge it, though the infactuate ship went down.The impact made huge ice-cubes fallSullen in tons that crashed the deck;But that one avalanche was all--No other movement save the foundering wreck.Along the spurs of ridges pale,Not any slenderest shaft and frail,A prism over glass-green gorges lone,Toppled; or lace or traceries fine,Nor pendant drops in grot or mineWere jarred, when the stunned ship went down.Nor sole the gulls in cloud that wheeledCircling one snow-flanked peak afar,But nearer fowl the floes that skimmedAnd crystal beaches, felt no jar.No thrill transmitted stirred the lockOf jack-straw neddle-ice at base;Towers indermined by waves--the blockAtilt impending-- kept their place.Seals, dozing sleek on sliddery ledgesSlipt never, when by loftier edgesThrough the inertia overthrown,The impetuous ship in bafflement went down.Hard Berg (methought), so cold, so vast,With mortal damps self-overcast;Exhaling still thy dankish breath--Adrift dissolving, bound for death;Though lumpish thou, a lumbering one--A lumbering lubbard loitering slow,Impingers rue thee ad go slowSounding thy precipice below,Nor stir the slimy slug that sprawlsAlong thy dead indifference of walls.
Herman Melville, The Berg (A Dre
...the staff at my university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and later all of Boston were behaving strangely towards me. ...I started to see crypto-communists everywhere. ...I started to think I was a man of great religious importance, and to hear voices all the time. I began to hear something like telephone calls in my head, from people opposed to my ideas. ...The delirium was like a dream from which I seemed never to awake.
To say that there is a case for heroes is not to say that there is a case for hero worship. The surrender of decision, the unquestioning submission to leadership, the prostration of the average man before the Great Man -- these are the diseases of heroism, and they are fatal to human dignity. History amply shows that it is possible to have heroes without turning them into gods. And history shows, too, that when a society, in flight from hero worship, decides to do without great men at all, it gets into troubles of its own.
Thus we feed on genius, and refresh ourselves from too much conversation with our mates, and exult in the depth of nature in that direction in which he leads us. What indemnification is one great man for populations of pigmies! Every mother wishes one son a genius, though all the rest should be mediocre. But a new danger appears in the excess of influence of the great man. His attractions warp us from our place. We have become underlings and intellectual suicides. Ah! yonder in the horizon is our help;- other great men, new qualities, counterweights and checks on each other. We cloy of the honey of each peculiar greatness. Every hero becomes a bore at last. Perhaps Voltaire was not bad-hearted, yet he said of the good Jesus, even, I pray you, let me never hear that man's name again. They cry up the virtues of George Washington,- Damn George Washington! is the poor Jacobin's whole speech and confutation. But it is human nature's indispensable defense. The centripetence augments the centrifugence. We balance one man with his opposite, and the health of the state depends on the see-saw.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complet
Hero-worship is the deepest root of all; the tap-root, from which in a great degree all the rest were nourished and grown . . . Worship of a Hero is transcendent admiration of a Great Man. I say great men are still admirable; I say there is, at bottom, nothing else admirable! No nobler feeling than this of admiration for one higher than himself dwells in the breast of men.
All sorts of Heroes are intrinsically of the same material; that given a great soul, open to the Divine Significance of Life, then there is given a man fit to speak of this, to sing of this, to fight and work for this, in a great, victorious, enduring manner; there is given a Hero, -- the outward shape of whom will depend on the time and the environment he finds himself in.
The Great Man's sincerity is of the kind he cannot speak of, is not conscious of: nay, I suppose, he is conscious rather of insincerity; for what man can walk accurately by the law of truth for one day? No, the Great Man does not boast himself sincere, far from that; perhaps does not ask himself if he is so: I would say rather, his sincerity does not depend on himself; he cannot help being sincere!
A fundamental mistake to call vehemence and rigidity strength! A man is not strong who takes convulsion-fits; though six men cannot hold him then. He that can walk under the heaviest weight without staggering, he is the strong man . . . A man who cannot hold his peace, till the time come for speaking and acting, is no right man.
Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.
Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image, c