Another thing I thought about was failure. The word “failure” is ubiquitous in Hungarian history. In fact, I can think of few countries that have “failed” as often as Hungary has. A mere three hundred years after its establishment as a Christian kingdom, the country and its people were nearly wiped off the European map by the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century. Three centuries later, Hungary suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Mohács and was subsequently occupied by the Ottoman Empire for nearly two centuries. After the Turks left, the country was essentially incorporated into the Austrian Empire by the House of Habsburg. The Hungarians revolted against the Austrians in the nineteenth-century, but the revolt, yes you guessed it, failed. Hungary was on the losing side of the First World War and consequently lost two-thirds of its historical territory as well as more than one-third of its population. When the Second World War ended, Hungary found itself on the losing side once again. Shortly after the war, the country was essentially annexed by the Soviets who quickly installed a Stalinist government in Budapest. A decade later, the Hungarians revolted against the communist regime. As mentioned above, the uprising ultimately failed, and Hungary endured communism for another three decades afterward.
Nevertheless, despite its failures Hungary continues to exist. Oddly enough, it has somehow managed to find success in this long list of failures. The empires and enemies it unsuccessfully attempted to defend itself against are all gone, yet Hungary remains. True, it is but a shadow of its former self, but the country continues on regardless, stretching its 1100 year history farther into the unknown future. The same cannot be said of the Ottomans or the Soviets, despite their many historical successes.
Perhaps there is something more to success and failure than meets the eye. Perhaps some failures in the physical world resound as great successes in the metaphysical realm. Conversely, some successes in the material world may actually mask tremendous failures in the spiritual realm. Whatever the case, it’s certainly something worth thinking about.