The phrase “Larger than Life” falls into the category of “Apophasis”—an ancient Greek Sophist rhetorical 3 part trick of: (I) mentioning something in passing while declaring an intention not to mention it, but then proceeding to bring up what it refers to quite distinctly. In this way, listeners’ imaginations formulate imagery larger than what is known about it in their living experiences. In the process, (II) “Paralipsis” (omission) briefly mentions there is much more being left out than one can imagine. This is followed by (III) the irony of “speaking off”—i.e. denying what one just said and just did which one was especially saying and doing–a feigned showing of passing over, or dissuading it. These 3 designed the stage for the entire thinking about the setting for the contingency of “Larger Than Life” being on a pedestal–a setting applied to ancient Greek religion as a psychological experience to be found in the mystical
aspect called “Numinous”. This mysticism embraced the immediacy and primacy of direct divinity-consciousness. In this Western context, “Divine” concerns Supernatural Contingent Beings. “Metadivine” means transcending these divinities to thereby possess a Supernatural mind–as with the Greek goddess Juno–Mother of Earth and the giver of material wealth (e.g. land, food, precious metals and gems). From the standpoint of mystical realm innovators, its “Larger Than Life” features include: (A) an apprehension of Supernatural powers, which influence events affecting humans; (B) a contact with these powers; and (C) a visualization of norms for special ways of living that will affect the totality of humans and that have transcendental meanings. From the viewpoint of the Supernatural Believers, one or more of these are present: (1) a set of beliefs in the existence of Supernatural powers; (2) attempted contacts with or efforts to affect these
powers in various sorts of ways; and (3) the adoption of special ways of living that are reputed to affect the totality of humans and to have transcendental meanings. The combination of (C) and (3) makes for an in-group of Supernatural Believers whose mission is to carry out a conspiracy that provides the in-group with unfair advantages and the out-group victims with unfair disadvantages. This is displayed in how Europeans (in-group) deal with Black People (out-group).

The “Larger Than Life” nature of the European Supernatural is kept isolated from discussion or attack since Western literature fails to elaborate on it or to pin-point its true origin or to even provide its meaning—all because the Supernatural does not exist. Hence, in the early 1800s it had no specific denotative meaning and yet carried a variety of vague connotative meanings like: exaggerated in size, appearance or behavior sufficiently to be very un-natural or supranatural; a tendency to attract attention; and legendary in the sense of ones character, persona, and deeds continuing to affect the living well after her/his death. Nevertheless, although present since humankind began, “Larger Than Life”  concepts are to be distinguished from “Large as Life”—a concept originating a few centuries back and referring to the same size of a statue or portrait relative to the object represented—i.e. life size (e.g. a person, in the flesh). This
concept expanded so as to point to humans “twice as natural”—i.e. exceedingly imposing, impressive, especially in appearance or forcefulness—as well as being so interesting and exciting as to make them memorable.

Of that bunch, it next embraced disproportionately important individuals who symbolized the embodiment of what people deemed most significant. Such began with Joe Louis, the heavy-weight boxing champion of the world serving as one of the few focal points for African American pride in the 1930s. He represented the USA vs. Germany’s Max Schmeling—symbolizing the struggle between democracy and fascism. Although Schmeling had beaten him prior, Louis won in two minutes and four seconds into the first round. Schmeling was hospitalized 10 days with several broken vertebrae. Louis thereby was deemed to be “Larger than Life.” Thereafter, Europeans diluted and polluted the “Larger than Life” characterization as, for example, in the 1950s by referring to any flamboyant persons and by designating their legends as <larger–than–life heroes>–it suggested having an aura of greatness–very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size
or scale)–perhaps not supported by the real person.