If you’re my age, near to it, or older than me – though I can’t vouch for the younger sorts – you’ve had some exposure to the tale of Icarus and his father, Daedalus. And, we’ve always had taught to us a cautionary tale against hubris or excessive ambition – essentially a fable of what dire consequences come from not knowing your place and acting above your station or means.
But what then if Icarus laughed as he burned and fell?
Yes, what if Icarus laughed through his pain as he burned and fell? That would change the tenor and the moral of this ancient fable.
There is a bitter triumph in crashing when you should be soaring
And isn’t there such a bitter triumph? To fly in the face of greater powers; to force them to recognize your existence; to feel their wrath upon your flesh, knowing that those powers can wrack and ruin your flesh, end your body’s life, but cannot quell your soul. That is triumph, albeit a bitter one. That is a death well-earned and rarely equaled.
There is a certain beauty in setting the world on fire
and watching from the centre of the flames
And yes! I’m honest enough to admit – indeed, to proclaim – that there is a certain beauty in destruction and that the best and greatest view of it if from the epicenter of the flames.
So not what Ovid’s work was meant to teach, but truer to the spirit of Man. What greater and more terrible beauty can there be than scream out our spite till the flames melt our lungs and burn out our voices? What more awesome beauty is there for any of to see than world burning around us until it melts the eyes from our faces?
It is hard to deny the beauty and majesty of not just refusing to go quietly into the long night; not just raging raging against its coming – but laughing as we bring the light of our pyre into it.