One of my favorite movie quotes of all time.From Camelot, the 1967 movie starring Richard Burton and Vanessa Redgrave. Said by King Arthur to a page, Tom (named for Sir Tomas Malory, the author of L'Morte de Arthur):
"O Tom, remember this: In the end, we are all but drops in the ocean, but there are some of us, o, some of us Tom, that sparkle!
I find this beautiful, and it aroused several questions in me. What constitutes a drop that sparkles- someone that makes such an impression on the world that people centuries later still recount their legends? Is becoming a "drop that sparkles" dependent on the person or the myth that surrounds them?
I think we can say that one quality of a drop that sparkles is not so much dependent on personal merit (although such a person has plenty) but the ability to create stories and legend to fit in with the contemporary times. For example, I highly doubt that Bill Gates makes for great storytelling, now or in the future, despite his corporate empire. Tiger Woods is banned from my list, for the same reason.
Another is, perhaps, the fact that these people, although great, are down to earth. With the possible exception of Jesus Christ (whose merit was supposedly being the perfect human) their stories present them as decidely human, with flaws, passions, dreams, and ambition. Their only deviation is the path to greatness, and maybe this is why we like them so much: we wish to see ourselves in these people, identify with something that leaves such an indelible stamp on humanity.
A contemporary sparkly drop is harder to identify then the ones from the "days of yore." While people living 'round the B.C. times and uncertainty (Jesus Christ, Socrates) are easy to pin down because of their certain mystique and achievement, we of the Information Age may find it almost impossible to identify such a person- we are so inundated with information, fact, and hype about people who really make no difference at all... that fame has become something of a free handout, a prize for the next Temptation Island contestant or Britney Lookalike who just happens to have a pair of real assets. If people could one day wipe their eyes and get rid of the subtle persuasions of the media that permeate their brain, maybe we could find the true talents.
Then again, there is the whole "fame after you die" thing to contend with. Like Kurt Cobain, whose legend preceded his fame during life, maybe we humans tend to elevate what once existed, to make us feel like we were part of something important, part of some recently created history.
A few drops with glitter in the middle (not in chronolical order, some fictional):
Alexander the Great
Joan of Arc
And that's all, for now. I'll update when some more glitter catches my eye.