In the world today we are inundated and smothered by all things celebrity. We have an admiration that extends past acceptable levels for those we would call famous. The adulation and hysterics have always been there from the athletes of ancient Greece to the Romantics in the 18th century to the popular television and music personalities of the 21st century. It has now evolved into something socially dangerous as we loose track of our individuality through the false identity of so called celebrity.
What we have lost touch with in society is the realisation that celebrities are just people like everyone else. There was a time when they usually had a particular set of skills, like singing or a sporting prowess, that exceeded the ability of most and set them apart in the higher percentile. Thus making them popular as they stood out for their above average talents.
Currently the term celebrity has taken on a ridiculous almost self mocking sentiment, to the point that I would prefer to use the term famous (be it for good or bad reasons). Becoming famous no longer requires that you have a more accomplished talent than others. It has become a job description. You can become famous with supposedly no talent what so ever. I disagree though. I think the successful ones have one particular talent and that is the talent to make themselves famous whether they have any other particular ability or not. It may be fame, money or both they seek. Either way the entire process has become a meaningless vacuum feeding wealth, fame and social media influencing. It has become a mocking parody of itself. Some of these influencers may not care as long as they receive the wealth and fame that accompany being well known. It is brainwashing a significant portion of our population into being hypnotised with an obsession of meaningless mental garbage that dulls the mind and takes it away from any prospect of a higher form of thinking that we might aspire to.
The people who do possess the traditional above average set of skills that marks them out as being famous include the great actors and popular singers for example. They may indeed be exceptional in their respective fields but they are not the demigods that we perceive them to be. They are not omnipotent beings that we should obsess over every detail of their lives. They entertain us and that can be valuable and necessary in our lives but they are just people like me and like you. Jennifer Aniston may have decided to get a divorce but you know what? We probably all know several people who have unfortunately gone their separate ways. Demi Lovato may have had a drug overdose but if you go into any hospital emergency room you will see many similar situations. Not to belittle in any way these adverse circumstances but they are not unique events to the celebrated few. They are universal happenings to those who are known to millions and to those who are known only to a few.
Do we now get our values in life from these famed individuals and are their standards high enough to be getting our values from? Is Tiger Woods a good role model? Maria Sharapova? Elton John? There will be conflicting views on this I’m sure. Are we replacing our deities with these public figures and if so what is missing from our lives that must be replaced by these same people?
There must be an intelligent perspective that brings the luminaries back down to earth and a realisation that that is where they belong. When you take the veil of notoriety away what do you get? Just people of course. People who are content, are despondent, feel pain, get lonely, feel depressed, go on vacation, eat breakfast, go to the toilet, feel nauseous and yes who even one day will shuffle off this mortal coil just like the rest of us. You may think that at least they get to feel those emotions and perform those tasks all in the exuberant surroundings of their mansion residences. The reality being your mansion is not going to stop your constipation! Or give you a meaningful reason to get out of bed in the morning if you can’t think of one.
Probably a more poignant example of fame having a non sensible existence and in this case an apparent divine status is royalty, as seen from recent royal nuptials of Harry and Meghan. Millions of people watched and dissected every detail and movement………of a young couple getting married! That is simply what it was. Royalty does not enter the category of being famous for being above average at a particular talent or skill. They are famous for being famous, for being royalty. Even the term royalty inferring being greater or being of a higher stature than their fellow women or men. Where of course they are not. They are also just human! We need to start seeing them as that. They are simply descended from a medieval feudal system where a few very powerful landowners acquired large amounts of territory through military force and purchase. They should replace the term royalty with just ‘extensive landowners’. The new royal couple, sorry the new ‘extensive landowners’ couple, I’m sure are quiet lovely individuals and all the charity work etc. they perform is admirable but more to the point they are just a young couple with all the ups and downs, good times and bad, joys and heartaches like the rest of us. Can you imagine if when they were married that nobody was watching except their friends and loved ones! What would have happened?….. Possibly, just a wedding! I think most of us may have seen one or two of those in our time. I would confidently estimate a significant percentage of the married spectators spent more time watching the royal nuptials than they spent at their own wedding.
So dare I go back to the term ‘celebrity’ or indeed fame. It has become a distraction that is out of kilter in our lives and in society. Where as previously that same distraction may not have been too worrisome as it may only have taken up a fraction of our day and then we move on. It is now all encompassing on social media, television, radio, newspapers, magazines etc. This is an extraordinary development considering famous people only account for something like 0.0086% of the worlds population. These obsessions are becoming a malignant mental intrusion as they can create feelings of envy, resentfulness and an unreal comparison and expectation of those we seek to emulate. These lives which are not surprisingly too unfamiliar to our own. When we can see this, believe it and accept it, our focus can be redirected back to ourselves, whilst acknowledging these famed people for who they are and what they are about. What follows is an acceptance that celebrities are essentially no better or worse than ourselves. When we redirect that ‘obsession’ back to ourselves we can attend more on becoming a better version of ourselves in this reality instead of looking to someone else for hope and comparison in their non reality.