Inner Bravery and Endurance
The film INVICTUS should be seen by both the young and the less young.
It is an inspiring message on the inner bravery we can find in ourselves in order to endure any deep sorrow or big problem life can hurl at us.
A tribute to Nelson Mandela and to the South African people – the black and the white alike – it displays profound fragments of the soul of 3 men.
The Victorians, Mandela, the Afrikaans
1) A Victorian poet – William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) we never see in the film – who bravely faced life deprived of his left leg since the age of 12 and who wrote INVICTUS (see below,) an inspired poem on endurance.
2) Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who spent 27 years imprisoned in a quasi cubicle and who was strong enough to survive and fight also because motivated by INVICTUS.
3) The South African (Afrikaan) captain of the Springboks‘ – the country’s rugby union team – who, inspired by Mandela in his turn and by that same poem, brings the Springboks to victory, in the 1995 Rugby World Cup hosted by South Africa, by defeating the All Blacks 15-12 in the final.
An event that possibly helped the South African black and white people to better understand each other in the hard path towards a society where racial hate and mistrust may be progressively banned.
Morgan Freeman‘s (starring Mandela, and Mandela’s friend btw); Clint Eastwood; the solid plot-script – these in my opinion the elements that make the film compelling.
I forgot someone. Nelson Mandela.
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley, 1875
Note on Man & Religion
Beautiful. Tremendously inspiring.
Henley’s position is that of the Renaissance too, when the Western man – a truly reborn dantesque Ulysses – found the guts to build his destiny again (and regrettably to conquer the rest of the planet destroying other cultures etc.)
“Man can find all the force he needs within his own human soul and reason, within his character and will,” said many Greek and Roman wise men plus several humanists, no god really helping, no religion really helping.
[The italic text in INVICTUS is mine. It is where I believe the poet mostly expresses the said classic humanism.]
Now, what do readers think about all this? Can we live without religion, without a hand from ‘someone’ up there?
Can we ALL – the men-in-the-street- be the ‘captains of our soul’? Or is it practicable only to the master, to the ‘real tough’?
Is religion basically a question of lack of balls? Or is there more than that?
On Solitude (where the totally self-sufficient Greco-Roman sage is analysed, a quasi-superman, like many Victorians surely were also)
A final note.
(I’ll lose ALL my readers, I know too well …)
INVICTUS attitude is classical. It is close to the Greco-Roman sage who has “like unsinkable goods in his soul that can float out of any shipwreck.”
Stilpon (Στίλπων) who according to Seneca lost his family and all his goods, when asked if he had suffered any harm, he replied: “No, I haven’t.”
Compare now this classical attitude with a passage from the Old Testament (Psalm 91,9.) [the New Testament is identical in this]. You’ll measure the total overturning of many classical values Christianity exerted.
Here in fact man totally entrusts himself to God’s Divine Pro-vidence:
Because thou hast made the LORD,
which is my refuge, even the most High,
There shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon me,
therefore will I deliver him:
I will set him on high,
because he hath known my name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
[exactly what Christ says in the New Testament, MoR]