When we learn about the ancient world, we come across epic stories of kings fighting for queens. We read of armies going to war over stolen princesses. The most famous example of this is The Trojan War. Between the Trojans and the Greeks, it was initiated when Paris of Troy took the wife of the Greek King Menelaus and brought her back to his country. That women is remembered as Helen of Troy. The war was said to have lasted about ten years, and it lead to the destruction of a city, the death of heroes, and creation of stories that would last for centuries.
If this tale and others like it are true, it is incredible that soldiers were willing to go to war over the wife of another man. In modern days, a person who seduces another spouse is just known as a “home-wrecker.” In addition, any events that involve cheating with a subsequent divorce are seen as a simple act of infidelity. But back then, infidelity lead to the crumbling of empires.
I‘ll reiterate: it is astounding that anyone would ever go to war for another person’s girlfriend. I’ll never understand that notion. But then again, I am a man of a different era.
To put it differently, imagine if Michelle Obama were to run off and hook up with Justin Trudeau. How many of us would be willing to march on to Canada just to get her back?
The story of Helen reminds me of the epic tales of chivalry we read of the past. But in the modern world this idea of “chivalry,” this idea of a knightly code of justice and honor, is just that — a story. Chivalry no longer exists. You can call the Greek king evil for starting a war for his wife, but at least he stuck to his promise of betrothal.
Take a look at another book based on chivalry — Don Quixote. Don Quixote was published in the year 1605 by Miguel de Cervantes. The story chronicles the tales of a wanna-be knight — Don Quixote — and his desires to go on a quest of chivalry. His problem is that there are no famous quests for him to embark upon. Unlike the folktales he reads, there are no castles for him to scale and no princesses for him to save. There are no Helen of Troys to rescue. There are no Trojan cities to lay siege. So, the book ends up being a story about this fool — Don Quixote — and his delusional acts of grandeur.
So, if we take this chivalrous story of Troy and compare it to the wanna-be chivalrous Don Quixote, we have an interesting parallel to the modern world.
America’s youth is struggling for meaning, yet they find themselves in a world without any. To paraphrase Fight Club, we have no Great War and we are striving to have something to live for. The youth are struggling for meaning the same way that Don Quixote was struggling for a life of chivalry, even though the lifestyle he desired was either nonexistent or centuries behind him.
The Greeks went to war for their King’s wife. America’s youth would never go to war if Barack were to lose Michelle. Some would say this is great. But look at what The Trojan War brought us! It brought us epic tales that would inspire centuries upon centuries of writing and storytelling. Why? Because the youth of Greece were willing to go to war for their King’s wife.
So, when people ask why the youth of America are so uninspired, just ask them this: would they ever go to war to rescue Michelle? If the answer is “no,” then I think you know why we have a generation without meaning.
It won’t be long before the modern version of Don Quixote becomes inspired by the fallen dreams of today.
Thank you for reading and thank you for letting me inspire.