He was a man who lost his touch with reality. Somewhat his mind decided that idea of chivalry is much more appealing than the values of his own, real time. Don Quixote, a man worth laughing at or a man worth admiring? While you contemplate a bit about that, let me show you 10 reasons why being more like this fellow could actually help you to stay sane in today's world.
He chooses what to believe in, and you should too
In today’s world, you cannot really say that the priorities are set straight on the global level and that we are on the right track. You are being bombarded with information, exposed to propaganda, whereas the moral and ethics have been relativized to the point of absurd. Don Quixote turns to some other ethical codes that have honnor, trust and loyalty as their main values. So, have full respect for your illusions, because the truth is often just a matter of choice. As Don Quixote says:
Sancho, just as you want people to believe what you have seen in the sky, I want you to believe what I saw in the Cave of Montesinos. And that is all I have to say.
Enjoy laughing, accepting both roles: the one who laughs and the one being laughed at
Laughter has a healing, purifying effect for humans. It keeps us sane in this crazy world. As Cervantes says:
Laughter distances us from that which is ugly and therefore potentially distressing, and indeed enables us to obtain paradoxical pleasure and therapeutic benefit from it.
Being a gentleman is an essential part of the chivlary
If you feel like you’re getting crazy with all the tips from women’s magazines and advice from your female friends and you still aren’t sure what you’re doing wrong with all your potential girlfriends – relax and take a deep breath. Medieval times may have some questionable values from today’s point of view, but there are some things you can pick up from Don Quixote’s ideals of chivalry. I’m not talking about those cliché romantic ideas and treating your girl like a princess (although some seem to enjoy it), but more of some basic stuff: respect and loyalty. Forgotten values of today, don’t you think? Don Quixote says:
According to the laws of the chivalry, no damsel shalt have any offense whatsoever committed against her person. […] Everything I have done, am doing, and shall do follows the dictates of reason and the laws of chivalry.
Get lost in the books so you can find yourself
Don Quixote tried it: sure, he allegedly lost his mind and created a new world of his own values – but if it makes him happier, isn’t it all worth it? And here comes the everlasting debate: who’s actually crazy – our knight, with pure and honest intentions, and integrity, or the rest of the world?
In short, he became so absorbed in his books that he spent his nights from sunset to sunrise, and his days from dawn to dark, poring over them.
Be authentic: it is the first step to non-conformism
Who wants to be a conformist in today’s world? Rebellion has its various forms, you should try the oddly rarely used one – being yourself. Not everyone will like the way you are, but that is impossible anyway. Remember, Don Quixote teaches us that
The praise of the wise few is more important than the mockery of the foolish many.
In order to stay sane, have your allies by your side
Nobody fights his battles completely alone. Having friends is important so you can communicate your ideas and fight the system in a more concrete way. Don Quixote started his journey alone, but very soon he found a meaning of true loyalty in his sidekick – Sancho Panza. Cervantes shares some beautiful concepts of a true friendship:
Whoever undertakes a long journey, if he be wise, makes it his business to find out an agreeable companion. How cautious then should he be, who is to take a journey for life, whose fellow-traveler must not part with him but at the grave.
Don’t be such a cry baby
Life can get tough, especially if you’re a misfit. You may feel that the world is too mad for your taste, and that you cannot cope with its ways. But giving up on every obstacle is not going to help you progress. Plus, you should stop treating every unpleasant experience like the end of the world because, as Don Quixote says:
He who’s down one day can be up the next, unless he really wants to stay in bed, that is […] There is a remedy for everything except death.
Before you criticise the world, try to think its mechanisms through
Although Don Quixote is considered to be crazy, he has these inspiring lucid moments. We could discuss the deeper meaning and intention of Cervantes when he wrote this novel and make a presumption: maybe misfits and the ones who don’t follow the social norms (but rewrite them, for better) are the ones who prevent life from becoming too still and dull? So, here is one particularly lucid conclusion of Don Quixote:
So it isn’t the masses who are to blame for demanding rubbish, but rather those who aren’t capable of providing them with anything else.
Try giving the world your best. When you criticise it, keep in mind you’re a part of it.
If you feel like nothing’s really going your way, be patient
Maybe you felt like you’re extremely different from the rest of the world and like that somehow made you an outsider. Maybe you’ve been obsessing about your own identity that you didn’t really let yourself to taste the freedom of being who you truly are. And somewhere along the way, you started feeling like a jinx, like you cannot do anything right and that luck simply isn’t on your side. But, listen to Don Quixote and get your sanity back:
Fortune always leaves a door open in adversity in order to bring relief to it.
You have to fight for what you believe in (even if others don’t acknowledge the value of your fight)
Don Quixote has become a paradigm for a person that pursues a futile and useless fight. But, there is an important catch to it: the fight is considered useless due to the outter factors. Nothing is unchangeable and nor are the mentioned factors. You should persist in order to reach your goals. It could be about settling accounts with your inner demons or fighting for the rights of minorities or the disabled; it could be trying to get through to someone or not giving up on someone you love. We live in a crazy world, but are you really to be considered crazy if you fight for what you believe in? Just like Don Quixote leaned on to his friend and said:
Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them.
Here’s a bonus thought from Don Quixote, just to sum it up: Until death – it is all life. Although we do live in a crazy, crazy world, there are plenty of things to learn from Don Quixote and his own madness, especially when keeping in mind that – what’s normal is being defined by the majority.
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