A person knows that there are things in the world that are incommensurably more important than his comfort, satiety, health and even life itself: honor, love, homeland. For an animal, the instinct of self-preservation is always the main law.
How does a person differ from an animal? Many of them. A person never forgets his parents. A person knows how to write poetry. And yet - a person knows that there are things in the world that are incommensurably more important than his comfort, satiety, health and even life itself: honor, love, homeland. For an animal, the instinct of self-preservation is always the main law.
In 1937, Leonid Panteleev (aka Aleksey Eremeev) wrote the fairy tale "Two Frogs", in which two amphibians fell into a jar of sour cream.
“That frog that was lazy, swam a little, floundered and thinks:
“All the same, I can't get out of here. Well, I will flounder in vain. Only nerves for free. I'd rather drown right away."
She thought so, stopped floundering - and drowned.
And the second frog - that was not like that. She thinks:
“No, brothers, I always have time to drown. It won't leave me. Better yet, I'll play some more, I'll swim some more. Who knows, maybe something will come out for me."
And she did it. Butter got out of the sour cream, the frog got out. Morality:
"Do not die before death …"
Like those two frogs, Russian officers - Zhilin and Kostylin - landed in the Tatar pit near Leo Tolstoy in the "Prisoner of the Caucasus".
But Zhilin is proud:
"Eh," Zhilin thinks, "with them, being shy is worse." He jumped to his feet and said:
- And you tell him, the dog, that if he wants to frighten me, then I will not give a dime, and I will not write. I was not afraid, and I will not be afraid of you dogs!"
Zhilin's mother regrets:
“Where,” he thinks, “to take so much money for my mother, pay for me. And then she lived the more that I sent her. If you collect 500 rubles for her, you have to go broke in the end. God willing - and I myself will get out."
Zhilin drags his comrade on himself, trying to save:
“He is really relaxed; what should I do with it? Throwing a comrade is not good."
- Well, - he says, - get up, sit on the backs, I'll take it down, if you can't go.
He put Kostylin on him, grabbed him under his thighs, went out onto the road, dragged him.
“Only,” he says, “don’t crush me by the throat with your hands, for Christ’s sake. Hold on to your shoulders.
It's hard for Zhilin - his legs are also covered in blood and he was worn out. He will bend down, correct him, throw him so that Kostylin can sit on him higher, drags him along the road."
No frog will do this. No Kostylin. Only Man is strong, proud, merciful. Strictly speaking, the frog that conquered death demonstrated only a healthy instinct for self-preservation. She floundered to the last, in order to continue to ride and croak. Such a frog will never comprehend the motives of a seven-year-old boy from another story by Panteleev - about his word of honor.
“-… I was sitting on the bench, and then some big guys came up and said:“Do you want to play war?” I say: "I want." They began to play, they tell me: "You are a sergeant." One big boy … he was a marshal … he brought me here and said: “Here we have a powder warehouse - in
this booth. And you will be sentry … Stay here until I replace you. " I say, "Good." And he says: "Give me your word of honor that you will not leave."
- Well, I said: "Honestly - I will not leave."
- So what?
- Well, here it is. I stand, stand, but they do not go.
- So, - I smiled. - How long ago did they put you here?
- It was still light.
- So where are they?
The boy sighed again heavily and said:
- I think - they left.
- How did you leave?
- So what are you standing for then?
- I honestly said …"
And he only agreed to leave the post when a real major came and gave permission.
“A boy who has such a strong will and such a strong word will not be afraid of the dark, will not be afraid of hooligans, and will not be afraid of more terrible things.
And when he grows up … It is not yet known who he will be when he grows up, but whoever he is, you can guarantee that he will be a real person."
Can you explain to the frog that sometimes, if you want to remain human, you have to exert all your strength, all your will in order to … die. Like Sotnikov in the story of Vasil Bykov
Strong Rybak and frail Sotnikov went to a nearby village in winter to buy food for their partisan detachment. First, they ran into policemen, and Sotnikov, in addition to a severe cold, received a wound in the thigh.
The fisherman became a policeman, but Sotnikov refused.
Well, the frog would approve. And the mass, the breakthrough of humanoid beings - too:
“But those who only want to survive at any cost, do they deserve at least one
life given for them? How many of them, human lives, since the time of Jesus Christ have been brought to the sacrificial altar of mankind, and how much have they taught this mankind? Like thousands of years ago, a person is consumed primarily by concern for himself, and the noblest impulse for goodness and justice sometimes seems from the outside at least eccentricity, if not completely dense stupidity."
The frog will call love, honor, any noble idea the same kind of stupidity; everything that requires tension, sacrifice; anything that makes the animal's life uncomfortable. But in the human world - just the opposite: the one who is ready to sacrifice wins. Sometimes he wins in a literal, animal, sense, like the Mexican Rivera at Jack London. But the frog would again be surprised, because in people it is not strength that wins, but will.
Rivera's victory, arguing like a frog, was not foreshadowed by anything:
“Rivera's appearance in the ring went almost unnoticed. Only a few liquid pops were heard as a sign of greeting. The audience did not believe in him. He was a lamb, given to the slaughter of the great Danny. Moreover, the audience was disappointed. She had expected a spectacular fight between Danny Ward and Bill Carty, and now she had to be content with this pathetic little rookie. Her disapproval was expressed in the fact that the bet for Danny consisted of two, even three against one. And on whom the money is placed, the heart of the public is given to him."
“As soon as Danny undressed, he heard enthusiastic oohs and oohs. His body was magnificent - flexible, breathing health and strength. The skin is white and smooth, like a woman's. Grace, resilience and power were embodied in it. And he proved it in many battles. All sports magazines were full of his photos.
A moan echoed through the hall as Spider Hagerty helped Rivera pull the sweater over her head. The dark skin made his body look even thinner. He had muscles, but much less effective than his opponent."
But how can the frogs know that this eighteen-year-old goner, undernourished, has a fiery dream - the victory of the revolution in Mexico. In order to get money for weapons for this victory, he had to win. The fate of people, the fate of the country depended on him. Its natural vitality was multiplied by ideological fervor.
“No one would call it a fight. It was a beating. Any spectator, with the exception of a spectator of boxing competitions, would have fizzled out in the first minute. Danny has undoubtedly shown what he is capable of, and he did it superbly. The public's confidence in the outcome of the competition, as well as its addiction to the favorite, was limitless, she did not even notice that the Mexican was still on his feet. She forgot about Rivera. She could barely see him: so he was blocked from her by Danny's fierce onslaught. A minute passed, then another. At the moment when the fighters dispersed, the public managed to glimpse the Mexican. His lip was cut, and blood was pouring from his nose. When he turned and entered the clinch, the bloody streaks - the traces of the ropes - were clearly visible on his' back. But the fact that his chest was not agitated, and his eyes were burning with the usual cold fire - the audience did not notice. Too many future championship contenders have practiced such crushing blows on him. He learned to endure them for half a dollar one-off or fifteen dollars a week - hard school, but it did him good.
And in the end:
“The judge reluctantly took his gloved hand and raised it high. Nobody congratulated Rivera. He walked alone to his corner, where the seconds did not even put a chair for him. He leaned back against the ropes and glared at the seconds with hatred, then looked further and further, until he encompassed all ten thousand gringos. His knees trembled, he sobbed in exhaustion. Hateful faces floated and swayed in front of him. But suddenly he remembered: these are rifles! The rifles belong to him! The revolution will continue!"
By the laws of nature, at one sight of Danny, Rivera had to set his tail between his legs and modestly leave. Just like the student Malashkin from the story of Mikhail Zoshchenko "Serenade" had to resignedly yield the female to the strongest and retire forever. And he got into a fight:
“That's interesting. Two people fought. Two people grappled, and a weak man, that is, completely weakened, a scrofulous boy nailed the strong one. Directly even reluctant to believe. That is, how can this weak guy, comrades, violate all basic physical and chemical laws? What did he cheat? Or did he outsmart that one? No! It's just that his personality prevailed. Or I will put it this way: courage. And through this he beat down his enemy."
This student, in response to the insults of a healthy diver, slaps him in the face, and the diver, of course, hits him. The student walked away from the beatings and again to the diver with his intelligent assault:
“Two weeks later, the student, having recovered, beat the diver three more times and got the change twice, although not so sensitively.
And the third and last time the diver did not give back. He just rubbed the beaten person and says:
- I, he says, give up in front of you. I, he says, through you, comrade Kostya Malashkin, was completely worn out and formally reached the handle. My heartfelt request is not to beat me anymore.
Then they admired each other and parted.
The student soon parted with his Shurochka. And the diver went to the Black Sea to dive for the "Black Prince".
And that was the end of it.
So force is force, and there is one more phenomenon against force”.
The human / frog contrast is most pronounced in extreme conditions. Therefore, heroes who are called upon to demonstrate heroism are more often than others find themselves in a war, under a rubble, in a hospital bed … or now - in a prison.
“When Andy came to Shawshank in 1948, he was 30 years old. He was a short, charming man with sandy hair and small, narrow palms. He wore gold-rimmed glasses. His fingernails were always neatly filed and immaculately clean. Perhaps it will seem ridiculous that I remember such things about a man. But his nails impressed me and raised Andy in my eyes. He always looked as if he was wearing a tie and almost in a tuxedo. Prior to jail, he served as vice president of a major bank in Portland. " (Stephen King "The Shawshank Redemption")
The first bloody war of graceful blond Andy was the war with prison rapists.
“He decided to fight. When Bogs and a couple of other bastards from his company approached him a week after the last incident, Andy, without hesitation, hit a friend named Rooster McBride in the nose. This farmer with a massive lower jaw and a low forehead was here for beating his stepdaughter to death. Fortunately for society, he died without leaving Shawshank.
The three of them pounced on him. Rooster and another guy, maybe Pete. Or rather, but I can't be sure, got Andy down to his knees. Bogs Diamond stood in front of him. Bogs had a razor with a mother-of-pearl handle and his name engraved on each side of the handle. He opened it and said:
- Look here, boy. Now I'll give you something to put in your mouth. And then Mr. Rooster will do the same. I believe you will not refuse to please us. Moreover, you had the imprudence to break his nose, and now you must somehow compensate for this.
“Everything that ends up in my mouth will be lost forever by you. Andy answered calmly.
Bogs looked at him like he was an idiot, Ernie, who was in the laundry that day, told me later.
- No, - he said slowly, as if explaining the simplest things to a stupid child, - you do not understand me. If you try to jerk, you will know the taste of this blade. Is it now?
- I got it. I'm afraid you misunderstood me. I said that I would bite off whatever you try to shove into me. As for the blade, it should be borne in mind that the sharp pain causes the victim to urinate involuntarily, defecate … and the strongest clenching of the jaws.
He looked at Bogs, smiling his characteristic, subtle, ironic smile. As if the whole company were discussing with him the problems of human reflexes instead of going to rape him. It was like he was in his chic woolen three-piece and with a tie, and not lying on the dirty floor of the utility room, held by two bullies, blood oozing from his ass.
“And by the way,” he continued, “I have heard that this reflex manifests itself so strongly that the victim’s jaws can only be unclenched with a metal lever. You can check, but I would not recommend it.
Bogs left Andy and he didn't put anything in his mouth that February night in 1948, and neither did Rooster McBride. And as far as I know, no one has ever dared to stage such an experiment. Although the three of them beat Andy pretty badly that day, and ended up all together in the punishment cell. Andy and Rooster were then taken to the infirmary.
How many times have these guys tried to get theirs from Andy? Do not know. McBride lost his taste pretty quickly: a broken nose was not conducive to this kind of entertainment. Bogs Diamond also fell behind in the summer.
Then Andy defeated federal bureaucrats and created a great library in the prison.
Then he defeated the ignorance of the young criminal Tommy Williams.
He defeated the main scoundrel - the director of the prison.
Finally, he defeated the prison itself, regaining his freedom.
Life to pass is not a field to cross. At every step there are temptations: do not do it yourself, let them do it for you; take it for yourself, others will manage; turn away when they ask for help and so on, and so on. It is difficult to crush a frog in yourself and live as a Man. Therefore, the will must be trained. Since childhood. With little things. Take an example of Viti Maleev for service:
“I decided that I needed to develop a strong will. What should be done for this? For this I will not do what I want, but what I do not want at all. I don’t want to do exercises in the morning - but I will. I want to go play football - but I won't. I would like to read an interesting book - but I won't. I decided to start right away, from the same day. On this day, my mother baked my favorite cake for tea. I got the most delicious piece - from the middle. But I decided that since I want to eat this cake, then I will not eat it. I just drank tea with bread, and the cake remained.
- Why didn't you eat the cake? Mom asked.
“The cake will be here until the day after tomorrow night - exactly two days,” I said. - The day after tomorrow evening I will eat it.
- What is it you gave a vow? - says mom.
- Yes, - I say, - vow. If I don't eat this cake before the appointed time, then I have a strong will.
- And if you eat it? - asks Lika.
- Well, if I eat, then it means that she is weak. As if you don't understand yourself!
- It seems to me that you will not stand it, - said Lika.
- But let's see.
The next morning I got up - I really didn’t want to do exercises, but I did it anyway, then I went under the tap to pour cold water over myself, because I didn’t want to pour cold water either. Then he had breakfast and went to school, and the cake remained on the plate. When I arrived, it was still there, only my mother covered it with a glass sugar bowl lid so that it would not dry out until tomorrow. I opened it and looked, but it hadn't even started to dry yet. I really wanted to finish him off immediately, but I fought this desire in myself.
On this day, I decided not to play football, but just relax for an hour and a half and then start my lessons. And so after dinner I began to rest. But how to rest? You can't just rest like that. Relaxation is a game or something interesting. “What to do? - think. - What to play?" Then I think: "I'll go play football with the guys."
Before I had time to think about it, my feet carried me out into the street by themselves, and the cake remained on the plate.
I was walking down the street and suddenly I thought: “Stop! What am I doing? Since I want to play football, I don’t need to. Is this how a strong will is brought up? " I immediately wanted to turn back, but I thought: "I'll go and see how the guys play, but I won't play myself." I came, I looked, and there the game was already in full swing. Shishkin saw me, shouts:
- Where do you go? We've already got ten heads! Hurry to help out!
And then I myself did not notice how I got involved in the game.
I came home again late and I think:
“Eh, I'm a weak-willed person! I started so well in the morning, and then ruined everything because of this football!"
I looked - the cake was on the plate. I took it and ate it.
“All the same,” I think, “I have no willpower.”
Lika came and looked - the plate was empty.
- Could not resist? - asks.
- Why couldn't he bear it?
- Did you eat the cake?
- What do you want? I ate it, and I ate it. I ate the cake not yours!
- Why are you angry? I don't say anything. You endured too long. You have great willpower. But I have no willpower.
- Why don't you have it?
- I do not know. If you hadn't eaten this cake by tomorrow, I probably would have eaten it myself.
- So you think I have willpower?
- Of course have.
I was a little comforted and decided from tomorrow to take up the education of will again, in spite of today's failure. " (N. Nosov "Vitya Maleev at school and at home")