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Sauve qui peut! The ordinary French troops fled in retreat.

The destruction of the Imperial Guard was now at hand and they bravely marched to their deaths. To what purpose? What was worth dying for to them? Their nationalist pride? No, really a dedication to their leader even unto death. And it is always emotional, such dedication. Seldom considered rationally.

But what of the retreat where “everyman” was for himself? Was it any better for them? What of the man who did escape and knew that he had fled while fellow soldiers stood and fought? Would he be better off? Or would his thoughts be haunted by his past actions and find no restful solitude? Once he forsook the brotherhood of a cause unto death, could he find relief in a peaceful life with friends and neighbors? I hear the soldiers often struggle to find such rest. But the one who has, in the heat of battle, chosen to be by himself may never find companionship again.

And in our normal life in peaceful suburb, the man who chooses selfishly to live for himself, not choosing vulnerability to be known and dependent upon another, must be everyman. And as he grows crooked and alone, unchecked by perceptions from others and left to his own misguided and twisting ideas regarding himself, he must experience the loneliness and regret without a friend who knows him.

Everyman for himself

Everyman by himself.