by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
We need to define what we mean by epopee and the epic spirit well.
Epopee is the marvelous, not only the aesthetic marvelous but the marvelous placed in battle array and exposed to risk, even imminent risk. Epopee is the marvelous of heroism.
From this one can infer what the epic spirit is. It is a spirit turned to the marvelous and enthusiastic about the marvelous. The measure of this enthusiasm is the heroic. In other words, it is to have one’s spirit turned to heroism and to be capable of heroism in the defense of the marvelous. This is truly the epic spirit.
For example: Let’s say one young man meets another young man with a quality worthy of admiration. The first young man can have two attitudes of soul. The first is to admire, to see how beautiful and magnificent that quality is because he is joyful to see the quality of another. The second attitude would be to minimize the virtue he sees by immediately putting the qualities he sees into doubt. He tells himself: “Not so fast! You know something? I’ve noticed this little defect. It’s not much, but it puts any quality he might have into question.”
This is not vigilance; it is stinginess. It is to try to use the other person’s bad sides in order to cover up his good side. Talleyrand says that this behavior is characteristic of the mediocre man. A man with a truly great and elevated soul likes to admire with enthusiasm therefore, admiration is part of the epic spirit.
To have the epic spirit is, above all, to admire something truly admirable and to be ready to run every risk and selflessly make every sacrifice for the sake of what we admire, whether it be a cause, a doctrine, a principle or in our concrete case, Christian Civilization.
This is truly the epic spirit.