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- Talents are ubiquitous, arising from situations ranging from the mundane, yet noble process of nurturing a skill to the chaotic and indifferent genetic lottery. The only constant regarding the creation of talents is that they are all catalyzed by a preceding event, such as a shift in one nucleotide resulting in higher muscle density, catalyzing a penchant for track and field; or an oversaturated job market causing a single mother to take up telemarketing, fostering her public speaking abilities and leading to a successful bid for governor. No talent can arise without a corresponding cause. Horace applies this general principle and claims that adversity can promote talents that may be suppressed otherwise. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that accompany adversity, it serves as one of the most common catalysts for talents throughout history.
- Humanity, as it is currently known, is a product of eons of evolution and natural selection, tailoring traits that allow for better survival. The adversity of the wild allows certain abilities to be prioritized, passed down and become commonplace. In the absence of competition, this process does not occur. Species would find equilibria, forever falling into a monotonous routine to keep the scales of the environment balanced. In the case of humanity, the conflict between ourselves and our environment facilitated the need for innovation, such as flint and steel to create fire, baskets to transport foodstuffs, and irrigation to permit the expansion of mankind into previously desolate areas. If these issues never existed, these inventions would, likewise, not exist. Employees would not want to climb up corporate ladders if they did not face adversity struggling to pay rent and provide for themselves. The world has progressed on the foundation of survival of the fittest. Without adversity’s pressure to create development, one would simply idle and fail to grow as a person.
- Besides affecting our daily lives, adversity drives some of humanity's greatest accomplishments. The Cold War coincided with the space race for a reason, in fact, one could say there would have been no space race without The Cold War. It may have begun as a fear-fueled frenzy to spy on one another, but it concluded with one of mankind's most wondrous achievements. Setting foot on the moon, mapping each star in our vast galaxy, and making a space station in which scientists from around the globe visit to study space are peaceful advancements that would not be possible without the fear and distrust brewed between the US and Russia in the sixties. Adversity is by definition difficult and misfortunate, however, it can lead to growth and betterment on a societal scale.
- The human race has a history filled with strife, but just as how a cold war led to venturing boldly into the final frontier, many of the past’s most horrific events led to changes for the better. The most devastating creation in the world's history: the atom bomb. With the power these weapons gave mankind they could have made the planet a lifeless wasteland within a day. However, after only being used twice, humanity unanimously decided to shelve these tools of destruction, and use them as a deterrent to the carnage of war instead of a means to further it.
- Breaking away from the squabbles of humans, disease is something that has targeted the entirety of the human race indiscriminately since the dawn of civilization. Polio is a more recent example of great suffering. Many infants were paralyzed before they had a chance to walk. This disease led to the creation of the infamous “Iron Lung”, a titanium tube, that allowed the user to breathe but left them unable to see the world outside of their metal coffin. These events led many lives to end before they even began, and the severity of the situation caused scientists across the globe to unite together to create a cure - the polio vaccination.
- Popular literature has also commonly developed defining character traits using adversity. In “The Sound and the Fury”, the Compsons struggle to come to terms with Benjy, their mentally disabled son. The first section of the book is written in his unbiased perspective, showing how his mere existence is a source of shame for the family and causes them constant strife. However, despite the portrayal of Benjy as an absolute negative for those around him, his family's treatment of him as almost subhuman sparks his sister Caddy into becoming more empathetic in a family flooded with egotistical and materialistic values. This leads to Caddy breaking away from her family both morally and physically, as well as distancing herself from the Compsons' traditional values and teachings.
- Hardships may create a temporary setback, however, in our efforts to solve and remediate these issues, people may develop talents they otherwise would not have. From pre-civilization times to the modern-day society, adversity has been ever-present as a driving force behind inventions and abilities. As much as adversity is seen as something to be avoided by our society, one cannot deny that each time humans have faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle not only has it been overcome, humanity has come out stronger than they were before.
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