Fine Iron

When it comes to analyzing the past there are different trains of thought according to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcasts. There is the “Trends and Forces” theory, which asserts that  the events of the world are influenced by the pressures of society and the natural order of how things fall, and if you were to remove people from history they would most likely be replaced by another who would capitalize upon the same trends. For example, in Germany after World War 1 the political, social, and economic environment was ripe for an authoritarian leader to seize control and had Hitler not existed another aspiring German would have taken his place in the Nazi Party. On the other hand, there is a competing viewpoint known as the “Great Man” theory. The “Great Man” theory emphasizes the importance of individuals throughout history. It asserts that in critical moments had certain individuals not existed, our world would be a much different place.

As the Whai Whai adventure through Rome concluded, I had an opportunity to see an artifact from one of the lesser known great men of history. Our hotel here in Rome resides upon the ground where Julius Caesar was assassinated, a pivotal moment in history. What I didn’t realize is without the event that the ruins in front of our hotel commemorate the Roman victory over the Cimbri people. The war against the Cimbri and Teutones, two massive tribes appearing from the north with little notice, nearly ended the Roman Republic in 100 BC. Upon realizing the threat, the Roman people abandoned their customs and gave the control of the government, the position of consul, to Gaius Marius. Gaius Marius then led the legions of Rome to defeat this colossal threat, a feat commemorated by the ruins directly out front of our hotel. Little did the Roman people know that the precedent set by Marius’ near dictatorship of necessity and its consequeneces allowed the rise of one Julius Caesar to those same heights a short while later. It is easy to take the greats of history and attribute all their success to their abilities, or distill them down to the trends that led up to them. It is easy to overlook the individuals, lesser known and lesser appreciated, who influence them.

When I look at the two theories, I believe neither fully encompass how great change comes about. In my opinion it does come down to the role of the individual, not simply the one who enacts the change, but those around that “Great Man”—or woman—who grow, influence, and support them. This assertion that the community that surrounds a person dictates what they can achieve isn’t exclusively applicable to history but instead all of humanity. No matter the level of intrinsic talent, intellect, or charisma a person possesses, alone there will always be a ceiling as to what can be accomplished.

This is the beauty of CR 10, it was a perfectly crafted environment to push and challenge. No matter what any of our members go on to do or accomplish, it won’t be alone. The same way it can be difficult to see the influences of the community upon the individuals of history, the same may be able to be said about us, but I truly believe that each of us have impacted each other for the long term. CR 10 forces thought, examination, and reflection of a historic scale on a personal level. The same line uttered on the first day of CR by Jake Lynn stating Dr. P to be one fine piece of iron rings true for us all on the last. As iron sharpens iron, so will on member of the CRedcade sharpen another.

As I return home I have been left the sights, the experiences, the memory, and the people. The impact has hopefully been made, now comes a summer of reflection to make these changes into  reality.


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