Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

Defiance in the Face of Adversity

“At once a voice arose among, The bleak twigs overhead, In a full-hearted evensong, Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul, Upon the growing gloom.”

Hardy, 1900, Pg.13


Our surrounding conditions have the ability to consume us.

It is incredibly difficult to fight against relentless and seemingly expanding gloom without being defeated. When we are choking on imposed misery, what are we capable of doing that isn’t a degenerative reaction to adversity.

Defiance is the human spirit’s ability to disobey imposed influence. In a basic act of defiance, we choose to face life and its afflictions everyday. But we can develop it one step further.

Upon receiving a torrent of  sorrow with no way of knowing when it will end, where will we fall?

Often without even realising, we allow the negativity of our conditions to seep in and poison our spirit. For us to show defiance in the face of despair requires real grit and trust in our own substance, but it allows us to govern how our spirit engages with external misery. It is our message to the world that we have the bravery and resolve to defy the expected outcome when met with enveloping difficulties.

If we took every chance given to us to act defiantly towards hardships; to smile when we have reason to cry, to sing in the middle of despair and to face ahead and stand tall when crushing weight should be making us crumble; who would we be?

Hardy, Thomas (1900), “The Darkling Thrush”, The 20th Century in Poetry, Ed.Michael Hulse and Simon Rae, Ebury Press, 2011

Defiance to Adversity, Buddha, Mara
Victory over Mara (detail); Mongolia?; 19th century; Pigments on cloth; 30 7/8 x 25 1/2 (78.42 x 64.77 cm); Rubin Museum of Art; C2006.66.305 (HAR 699) Source:

Buddha defying the influence of Mara’s armies moments before his enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

1 thought on “Defiance in the Face of Adversity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *