Nor, perhaps, will it fail to be eventually perceived, that behind those forms and usages, as it were, he sometimes masked himself; incidentally making use of them for other and more private ends than they were legitimately intended to subserve. That certain sultanism of his brain, which had otherwise in a good degree remained unmanifested; through those forms that same sultanism became incarnate in an irresistible dictatorship. For be a man’s intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God’s true princes of the Empire from the world’s hustings; and leaves the highest honors that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency. But when, as in the case of Nicholas the Czar, the ringed crown of geographical empire encircles an imperial brain; then, the plebeian herds crouch abased before the tremendous centralization. Nor, will the tragic dramatist who would depict mortal indomitableness in its fullest sweep and direct swing, ever forget a hint, incidentally so important in his art, as the one now alluded to.

~ Herman Melville

Of people that hold an opinion that is popular and that makes them look good: I cannot take your opinions seriously. If you are of a persuasion that is popular and that makes you look like a better person, then you hold that persuasion as a result of no inner convictions of your own; rather, you hold that persuasion as a result of self-consciousness. It takes courage and inner strength to hold convictions that go against popular opinion and that go against what would make you feel accepted in the eyes of most. There are three levels to this sort of consciousness: the first level dictates that you are simply unaware and you go about with daily life with no presumptions, simply going with the flow of everything. The second level is the one that the current generation mostly belongs to: the level of those who believe themselves to be enlightened, awakened. This second level belongs to those who would call those belonging to the first level as sheep. This second level belongs to those who would believe that there are only two levels: one belonging to sheep and another belonging to them. They are unaware of the third level. But the third level of consciousness is the level that belongs not to what those on the lesser level would call as sheep and also not belonging to the second level of those who believe themselves to be free thinkers. At this third level, are those who see plainly that the free thinkers of today are simply a different herd of sheep, who all hold a shared opinion of what it means to be a better person, what it means to be an enlightened individual, what it means to be free. They are the herd that believe themselves to be free. At least the first herd at the first level do not care to go about with such thoughts in their minds: they are the ones who care only of working honestly, living honestly, and doing good deeds. Those on the second level, however, upon believing themselves to be set free of former persuasions, are convinced of their mental and spiritual superiority. But, alas, such individuals would not dare hold any personal conviction if it meant they would be seen in an unfavourable light by their peers, friends, by the masses. Their inner compasses are controlled not by the image they wish to see in the mirror; rather, their inner compasses are controlled by the image they wish others to see when looking at them. Now, at the third level, nothing controls these minds except for the desire to see in the mirror what is true, what is pure, what is better; regardless if anybody else can see it or not. At the third level of consciousness, we find those who have transcended the pleasures provided by the feelings of other people's acceptance, praise, and opinion of them. To be good, and to believe good, not because it is popular, but because it is true and good. At the third level, we will find those whose inner compasses are controlled by their reflections in the mirror, not by their peers, their friends, or the masses.

~ C. Joybell C.