The human vanity is soaked in self-importance. Each one of is consumed with the desire to be noticed, to be seen, to be heard — in short, to matter to others. An ideal situation for our ego (ahamkara), the ‘I’ maker would be that of being ‘revered’ by others at all times but nothing could be worse for us than to go unnoticed.
American philosopher, William James wrote, “No more fiendish punishment could be devised than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed.” And, so, we look for ways and means to get noticed – from sporting fancy hairdos and hair colours, to tattoos and music, we even make blasphemous statements so that people notice us.
The elite has its own list of things to feel exquisite – limited editions of gadgets, to private jets, beaches…the list is endless, but the aim is the same, to indulge their vanity. They devise new ways to protect infiltration from the general public, who they refer to as the cattle class. As for the ‘cattle class’, it thrives on that 15 minutes of fame to make its existence worthwhile.
While the vast majority of people resort to devious shenanigans to get noticed and join the exclusive club that constantly slights them by its mere presence, some people rely on their innate potential that each one of us is gifted with.
In ancient times, when the caste system dictated one’s striving or ambition there were three ways to become a king – to be born one, to become a hero or to lead an army. And so it is today. We could be born into inheritance or, by way of our talent, we could become a ‘hero’ and gain an effortless entry into the charmed circle. But being a ‘hero’ requires discipline, hard work and perseverance. No matter what our talent, whether it’s in the field of sports or entertainment, writing or carpentry, we pave our path through our talent and are welcomed by men of destiny. It may seem paradoxical, but these heroes just try to be the best they can be, the success is just a by-product.
Many a people have been known to get constricted by their unfavourable circumstances. They view the young and the successful lot as “having all the ingredients to succeed”, but what they don’t realise is that it has taken a couple of generations’ hard work to provide these ‘inheritors’ the platform they enjoy today. And, in all fairness to them, sustaining that success is not easy either. Any complacency on their part can destroy generations of hard work. Each one of us inherits tangible or intangible assets. Our intangible asset is the potential that we are gifted with to realise in this lifetime and create something for ourselves and our future generations.
Hence, circumstances can only do so much, favourable or unfavorable, ultimately the choice to succeed and to be a hero rests with us. As humans, we view each other in accordance with our place in the world and there’s enough room for all of us to create that place.