This essay was directed at at very particular and precise target, but this one quote, IMHO, is nearly universal to the “western” civilization.
“Our lack of self worth and submission to idolatry and ideologues is the real danger. We have always been our own greatest downfall.”
I don’t think there is anything wrong with having heroes or “idolizing” someone that excels in an area that interests you. That being said, since the advent of reality television and social media, those being put on a pedestal these days are questionable at best. What we’re NOT seeing is the “best of the best” being celebrated. Instead, it’s the loudmouth, the braggart, the sleaze-merchant that is held in high esteem by “the public”. But why? That is the question that confounds me.
Why are so many people spending so much time watching other people play video games or “unboxing” stuff? So much so that those “content creators” are amongst the highest paid on YouTube! Now, granted, I’ve never really been a video game guy, even when they were first a thing back in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. After a few minutes I lost interest. But WATCHING someone else play? That’s as bad as watching paint dry. And yet some dude managed to earn millions of dollars by filming himself playing video games for other’s entertainment. Go figure… And don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against those people that found a way to earn a living with no talent or worthwhile skills. More power to ’em. I’d rather a person earn a living like that, than say as a charlatan preacher fleecing their flock or leeching off The State.
What I really can’t wrap my head around is the appeal of this social garbage. When all you bring to the table is the ability to buy a bunch of stuff… what is there to look up to?
Everybody can use some inspiration. Myself included. But what do say, the Kardashians, inspire? Aside from “being rich”? None of them seem to be terribly happy or well-adjusted people. None of them can maintain a relationship. Other than pictures of themselves, they don’t produce anything worthwhile. And yet, they’ve become a household name and amassed tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars because… I’m sorry, I don’t know how to finish that sentence. I cannot answer the “because”, because it makes no damn sense.
Again, nothing against them exactly, I just don’t understand the appeal.
We, as a people, need to start holding up those of worth. Stop supporting the lowest common denominator, and search out the true innovators, the new thinkers, the DIY entertainers that are doing it all without the corporate machine shoving them down our throats.
They ARE out there. Artists, musicians, writers, Podcasters, builders, chefs, etc. Normal, passionate people that are out there doing their thing, because they can’t NOT do it. Regular folk, following their calling. Not for fame and fortune, but because it is a part of their very soul. Seek these people out, and kick the reality TV and the Billboard charts to the curb. Those people, and I use the term loosely, don’t care one iota about you or your life, why should you care about theirs? So you have something to talk about with your co-workers tomorrow?
I fear I’ve kinda got off track here… My point is, there are a lot of great people doing new, innovative, exciting things with their lives and that is what I wish for everybody. Sadly, a lot of folks are led around “by the nose”, never thinking for themselves or attempting to accomplish anything in their lives. That way leads to misery.
Everybody’s got their “something” (H/T to Nikka Costa for that line!). Everybody has their own dreams and aspirations. I just hope for you, that those dreams go beyond “being rich” or “being famous”… Those two “rewards” take an awful toll, not really worth the price of admission IMHO.
So think about it… What’s YOUR thing? What do YOU want to accomplish, to create? Now, with that “thing” in mind, go out and find yourself someone successful in that arena. THAT is who you should be looking up to, not the celebrity du jour.
And above all, believe in yourself. Nobody, not your parents, not your spouse or your partner, not your friends or colleagues truly KNOW what you’re capable of. I’m a firm believer in the idea that we’re all capable of doing whatever it is we need to do to make our lives better. But talk is cheap, the real value is in doing.
I realize this has almost nothing to do with the original essay that prompted this writing, but in the big scheme of things there are certainly parallels. That’s just the way this tired old brain works…a little acorn of an idea leads to something else entirely. Just something to think about.
Thanks for reading!