Monday, August 19, 2013


Some more thoughts.  I suppose they have a tendency to ramble a bit, but I felt the need to get them out.  I also find that rambling is a dreaded side-effect of attempting to explain the unexplainable. So, anyway, apologies for any annoyance.

In my last post I spoke of the new world Alexander created--a Hephaestion-shaped world, my world.  I've often spoken of the profound effect these two mentors have had on my life.  However, I realized I may have failed to give equal attention to my third mentor--who is somewhat related to Hephaestion and Alexander and equally as epic.

With this new world Alexander created came the possibility of the perfect person--someone who combines all that was great in Alexander with the very best of Hephaestion.  Enter Jared Leto.  I have known of his work since the very beginning of his career and have always been a fan, but it is only within the last year, especially the last six months, that I realized how profoundly his work touches me.

As I said, I believe in Jared lies all that made Alexander great with all that Hephaestion was.  The motto Jared adopted for himself and his family is "Provehito in Altum" which loosely translated means "launch forward into the deep".  Jared can constantly be found up in the air over a new deep.  According to sources, this is something Alexander did from the time he could form full thoughts and intentions.  It was this very drive that led him to push to the very edges of the known world and beyond being held back only by the fears of his short-sighted army.

Alexander possessed a great thirst for knowledge begun under Leonidas and Aristotle and continued throughout his lifetime.  As he crossed Asia conquering new lands, he conquered new information.  His retinue included all sorts of artists, philosophers, and scientists.  Artistic competitions held equal footing with games.  It is said Alexander himself even directed the treating of some of his men's illnesses and wounds.  Jared, as well, always seems to be learning something new, always seeking a new experience, always reaching for the next horizon, always fighting for a new dream.

Yes, Alexander had flaws.  As amazing as he was, he could be spoiled, petulant, arrogant and out of control.  Jare is no stranger to trouble having been very open about his turbulent childhood and adolescence.  But as Alexander did not allow these parts to define his whole, Jared overcame his troubles to create a new world for himself--a world focused on knowledge, art, and beauty--all the best gifts of Apollo.

Little is known of Hephaestion,  He rarely surfaces in the ancient sources, and when he does, the information is often contradictory or clearly slanted.  I have detailed in previous posts who I believe Hephaestion to be.  Much as Mary Renault said, I believe him to be the most under-rated man in history.  It is a Hephaestion-shaped world for it is a world created by Alexander and its is Hephaestion who tempered Alexander.  It is Hephaestion who ensured that all that was good in Alexander would control the flaws, at least the majority of the time.

As mentioned above, Jared has admitted to doing some horrible things in his early days.  Both he and his brother lived for some time in a world predominated by chaos, violence, and ugliness.  However, something within Jared finally allowed him to look beyond that to the beauty that was in his world and reevaluate his path.  I would like to think that the beauty in his soul finally defeated the demons hiding the potential of life.  He chose to build a new world for himself that focused on creativity.  In creativity, he found art.  In art, he found beauty.  In beauty, he found himself.

Hephaestion seems to be a man who combined a love of knowledge and art with the physical life of a soldier.  He fought for the better part of a decade yet he possessed the ability to organize millions of disparate people into a vast empire and the diplomatic skills to somewhat unite them behind a common set of ideas.  He lived a life on campaign with rough and tumble men, yet he corresponded with philosophers.  He may not have been Alexanders' most militarily-distinguished general, yet he held his own on the battlefield as attested by both his scars and Alexander's trust.

Hephaestion was  man noted for his physical beauty, one of the few things the ancient sources do mention about him.  As striking as Alexander was said to have been, it was acknowledged that Hephaestion was even more so.  Jared has long been known for his as well.  Much to his frustration, I suspect, the often mindless focus on that physical beauty distracts attention from all that is deeper.  For just as Hephaestion's beauty did not define him, neither does Jared's.  Hephaestion remains a man who defies labeling.  Partially because little is verifiably known, but more so I think, because of his complexity.  Labeling brings one certain aspect into specific relief--assigns a certain category--boxes into a preconceived notion.  Jared defies labeling and will challenge anyone who attempts to give him one.  One of his most common encouragements to those around him is to constantly and consistently challenge that very compulsion to label.  The human desire to do so comes from its deep need to understand what is around it for understanding brings control.  For Jared, the journey is the goal, the treasure.  The very point is to not understand or control for that is what brings growth.

Provehito in Altum

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