These days, when admiration for superstar athletes, pop singers, and models sets the tone across the globe, it’s worthwhile to look at the phenomenon of admiration and how we can use it positively.
When chicks hatch, they naturally follow their mother. If their mother is absent when they hatch, they will follow anything big and moving as though it were their mother. We, too, have that tendency to follow someone great, someone who can direct us and protect us, someone worth following.
Our need for guidance begins at childhood. First, we admire our parents, who literally mean the world to us. Later, we learn to appreciate teachers, friends, peers who seem successful, and other people that we idolize. Without idols, we feel disoriented and uncertain where we want to go.
Interested parties exploit that vital need. Through mainstream media and social networks, they direct us where they want us to go and make us do what they want. They raise social media idols to stardom, turn them into celebrities that set the tone in public discourse, and make us think that these people are the greatest.
Gradually, through the influence of the social environment, our appreciation becomes admiration. This is already a higher level of relation to the object of attention. Fans are active; they have a sense of belonging and power, which stem from feelings of self-righteousness and entitlement that admiring the “right” people gives us.
To the rulers, this is the ideal situation. When people feel complacent and entertain themselves with sports, movies, and pop concerts, they can be easily manipulated. This allows the elite to gain wealth and power undisturbed.
If we are to advance to a better place than we are in today, as individuals and as a society, we must first determine the values that we want to promote. These values should coincide with the direction of the global development, which is making the world an interconnected and interdependent place. In fact, today, our level of mutual dependence has come to the point where we are dependent on each other for the most basic necessities.
Since this is the case, we need social values that correspond to our condition. Otherwise, we will create a dissonance between our aspirations and values, which stem from the selfish idols we emulate, and our reality, which is entirely interconnected and requires unselfishness as a basis for existence. In fact, this dissonance is why so many people are dissatisfied with life today.
The sooner we learn to value and promote mutual responsibility, caring, and consideration, the sooner life will change for the better. If we learn to respect people who promote cohesion and a sense of bonding in society, it will be easy for everyone to rise to the next level in our development, where the global village that we are is a thriving one, sustaining all its residents abundantly and easily, and everyone feels safe in it, and happy.