Lance Armstrong has come clean on his usage of performance-enhancing drugs – and the world has another fallen hero. Lots of fans feel cheated – perhaps rightly so. Before playing judge, I wanted to check what Gibran would have to say on a topic like this – and The Prophet as always didn’t disappoint.
Here’s him speaking on “Crime and Punishment:
Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder to your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteousness cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each of you,
So too the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So too the wrong doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
Or to put it another way, we get what we deserve (heroes in this case). “Take a good look at yourself first man!“ the sage seems to be saying.
After this admonishment, he seems to suggest we ought to perhaps even thank the wrong-doer – try this piece of logic from later in the essay:
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down, he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
Aye, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, have not removed the stumbling stone.
So the fallen hero sets an example for the others who follow – and therefore is a teacher of sorts.
And interestingly, Armstrong said this in his interview with Oprah ((source BBC):
Oprah: Was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping, seven times?
Armstrong: Not in my opinion, that generation. I didn’t invent the culture, but I didn’t try to stop the culture.
Uncanny huh? Eerily the Prophet’s prophecy from 1923 rings true even now – ninety years later. Maybe instead of spending our time on the “blame and victim stories”, some self-contemplation and course correction will get us to a happier, virtuous society? And time to grab a copy of “The Prophet” too?!