Quixotism is the universal quality characteristic of any visionary action. Acts of rebellion or reform are always quixotic, for the reformer aims at undermining the existing institution in order to change it. Often held up to ridicule, frequently destroyed, the quixotic individual has been responsible for many great deeds in history and, conversely, for many misdeeds, even as Cervantes shows Don Quixote being responsible for the sufferings of poor Andrew.
Many outstanding madmen in the world, trying to move lethargic populations to better themselves, have been isolated in history. Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, has a career as fanatic and visionary as the mission of Don Quixote. St. Teresa, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Moses, and, above all, Jesus of Nazareth have lived and suffered and conquered by their quixotic visions. Against all the imposing odds of majority feeling strength of established institutions, belief in existing customs the quixotic heroes have pitted only the integrity of their faith and their will power.
Seeking only "truth" or "justice," the truly quixotic heroes have an internal vision so strong as to see through the illusion of external appearances. Don Quixote, for example, defies ubiquitous institutions so taken for granted that everyone thinks they are harmless windmills, though they may be threatening giants, inexorable machines destructive of the individual.
The clarity of the quixotic vision is further exemplified when Don Quixote, instead of seeing two dowdy prostitutes, sees ladies of quality, who respond kindly to his courteous greetings. Helping the knight to undress, assisting him at his meal, one can only conclude that his will power has transformed their outward identities to agree with the ideal image. This notion agrees with a psychological truism: if a man anticipates inferior performance from another, he will receive what he expects. The converse is also true.
Quixotism, then, is a will power defying...
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