Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"It is a far, far better thing that I do,
than I have ever done;
It is a far, far better rest that I go to
than I have ever known."
- Sydney Carton, on his way to the guillotine,
in Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities"
To give up something that is extremely important to us for a
Higher Cause is both the Ultimate Sacrifice and Ultimate
Reward. This "Thing" can be our life, our safety, or something
(or someone) very dear to us.
A powerful example of The Higher cause comes to us in the very
touching final scene from "Casablanca". In this scene Rick Blaine
(Humphrey Bogart) gives up the woman he Loves, Ilsa Lund
(Ingrid Bergman), because he realizes that she will be a much more
valuable asset to her husband Victor Laszlo, who is the leader of a
multi-national Resistance Movement fighting the Nazis in World
War Two. Rick and Ilsa met and fell in Love at a time when Victor
Laszlo was reported to have died in a Nazi concentration camp.
It is in this scene that Rick tells Ilsa that "...the problems of two
people don't amount to a Hill of Beans..." in comparison to the
Higher Cause of the Resistance Movement during the "dark days"
of World War Two.
We see another admirable example of The Higher Cause in Charles
Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities". Sydney Carton trades places with
his look-alike, Charles Darnay, and goes to the guillotine in Darnay's
place. This allows Darnay and his wife to escape and carry out their
Work during the brutal oppression of the French Revolution. We
are left mesmerized by Carton's final Words on his way to the
guillotine: "It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever
The Higher Cause manifests itself over and over again in everyday
...A fireman going into a burning building to rescue an infant;
...A passerby pulling an injured person from a wrecked car just
before the car catches fire;
...Someone without any life-saving experience risking their life
to save another person from drowning.
The list goes on but the elements of the story are always the same.
Someone risks their life in order to rescue a total stranger from
extreme danger; asking for neither recognition nor reward.
This person risks their life for A Higher Cause that is so
important that personal safety is not even a consideration.
When the "Hero" is later asked what prompted them to risk their
life for this Cause their reply is always the same, "I don't know...
I just did it."
The Truth is, we really don't know why we do what we do when
confronted with a Higher Cause, we just "do it".
At this moment some kind of a Higher Power consumes us. All of
our concerns about death, injury, doubt, and fear vanish. A powerful
force is awakened in us. We acquire a Strength and an
Unquestionable Sureness that enables us to carry out our Heroic
feat. We risk our life, or we give up something very valuable, for this
Higher Cause. And, again, we do this with no expectation of
recognition or reward.
It is a highly Spiritual and exhilarating, yet humble, experience.
It is a part of our Spiritual Nature. It is the overwhelming Power
of The Higher Cause.
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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.
© copyright Joseph Panek 2008