Greatness has been largely defined throughout history as superiority based on communal or personal achievements in areas such as politics and military conquests, and/or the acquisition of material, literal or spiritual wealth, and it is often coupled with economical and spiritual control and the exploitation of the masses.
Many of the so called ‘great’ were nothing but egotistical, war mongering psychopaths, who have murdered and looted their way to greatness, such as Alexander the great, Karl the great, King Herod the great etc., who would have been more deserving of the title the ‘horrible’ or ‘terrible’. “Attach a cause to your crimes and you will become a hero”. Your name will make it into the history books as one of ‘the great’. There is no shortage of imposters who cheat their way to greatness. Others are born into or inherit greatness. There is truth in the phrase: “some are more equal than others” (George Orwell, ‘The Animal Farm’). The crocodile has evolved to be great in its own territory.
Some refer to the first world war as ‘The Great War’. What could be so great about millions being slaughtered, sent into senseless battles for nothing more but cannon fodder, by commanders in headquarters far from the front and weapons of mass destruction (poison gas) being used, following broken treaties? Trump wants to make America great again. The Brexit supporters want to make Britain great again. I wonder what sort of greatness they have in mind. Recently I have heard a politician say he wants to make Australia great again. How can Australia be great in its own right, when it is still under the crown of ‘Great Britain’?
True political greatness lies in sovereignty and to live in peace with one’s neighbours. True personal greatness lies in self-dominance coupled with modesty, and to wear one’s achievements with dignity rather than arrogance and to share the fruits of greatness with those who have contributed to it.