The Dangers of Hero Worship and Demonization.
Most people have their heroes, people they look up to and admire. People they seek to emulate and be more like. We see it every day in our society, look up to this person or look up to that person our media is flooded with heroes for us to worship, actors and athletes, celebrities , e-famous bloggers, youtube celebrities, people on twitter…ect
Our culture creates an idea that we need these heroes, that its somehow normal and healthy to put a complete stranger on a pedestal and tell everyone else to be like them.
I say the entire concept is bull.
Nobody has a right to be on that pedestal so I would like to see the social justice community dismantle this concept and discard it. I will even give you a hand with it.
All too often we look up to people as a group, and they let us down or disappoint us in some way. We are hurt by this and look for yet another person to look up to. We have done this for years in multiple ways. This cycle is seemingly without end.
Think about someone you currently look up to/think of as a hero and try to identify the specific traits that you want to emulate and focus on those traits rather than the person representing them. Realize its the traits you truly look for in yourself. Then work toward integrating those traits into yourself if you are able and if you’re not, recognize at the very least its the trait/ideal that is admirable and not the person.
Realize that the person you look up to is just as fallible, lost and confused as you are. Also realize that the person you are hero worshiping is often someone who puts on a persona for the public and it may be only a persona you are looking up to. I think we can all agree on the absurdity in investing ego and emotion into an imaginary construct. We can respect peoples talents, and we can respect someones work or their words without resorting to hero worship.
When you invest emotion and ego into an imaginary construct your mind will fight to defend it. It will even lie to itself and others to do so. This is a very dangerous meme that tie into a lot of other dangerous memes. To put others on a pedestal is to put yourself and others below them and that concept does not sit well with me. Having unrealistic expectations about someone in the long run just creates hostility and toxic environments.
But i do realize just how difficult it can be, its hard to have faith in yourself when everything in your life is shit, or you can’t find a job because of discrimination, or you are unhappy with how you look. You can’t get into dating, you failed out of school because of depression ect.. I get it. Life is hell sometimes. Its hell for me too sometimes and I sympathize. So its easy to look to a figurehead to look up to, someone to emulate, someone whose life seems altogether where yours isn’t. Here’s a secret they don’t tell you though that their lives are just as fucked up as yours is, just probably in different or less visible ways. Everyone is just as lost and confused as you are and nobody has their shit really together. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deluded or trying to sell you something you don’t need.
On the other side of this coin is the demonization that sometimes occurs when our “heroes” fall. Everything they ever touched is turned upside down and used as a way to make them seem like a monster. Thus inverting this real life trope. The inversion of the trope is just as dangerous if not more so than the original, witch hunts can lead to tragic and deadly results, often dogpiling tends to escalate out of control
When the truth of the matter is simple. we’re all monsters inside. we’re all saints inside too. Not in the religious sense mind you in the metaphorical sense. Each and every single one of us has the same potential to do both good and evil inside of us and most of us have done shit we later regret. We as human beings have a wide range of behavior we are capable of, some of us even do both good and evil things throughout our lives. The evil we have done doesn’t detract from the good we did, nor does the good we do balance out the evil, they are two separate piles. Nor does the fact that we all have this potential negate our responsibilities when we fail to live up to them.
How about we do this instead.
Why don’t we just dispense with heroes, idols and “stars” all together. None of them can live up to our expectations in the best of times and at the worst they wind up doing real harm to people around them. Respect people for their skills sure, admire a trait they might have , also ok, spread a great idea a person had. Don’t fall into the trap of assigning personality traits to a person you dont even know. That person with a brilliant idea might have a terrible personality underneath or they might not. Make no assumptions one way or the other. Because thats what it boils down to, hero worship/villain demonization is just another form of armchair psychology, often people making unqualified statements about others mental health/state or otherwise stigmatizing the neurodiverse in the process.
This doesn’t mean we can’t call people out for shitty behavior, of course we can. We still have free will and at the end of the day we are the only ones responsible for our actions. And we can praise those who have exemplary behavior too. Just be realistic about how we go about it and realize the real human being behind the traits you admire might just kick puppies on the weekend. Or conversely someone you despise might have something useful to say. One of the things i talked to my friends about before writing here was becoming one of “those bloggers”, the type who try to act like they are fucking perfect in order to create a brand out of themselves and then sell said brand. They are selling the idea of hero worship for pageviews. It makes me sick. You won’t ever get that from me. You get the raw imperfect me who sometimes might have some interesting things to say along certain subjects, you get me without my makeup on after i just woke up and haven’t had my coffee yet. You get the bizarre and real.
In other words you get real human beings expressing raw and powerful emotions, all of us being complex and dynamic human beings with wide ranges of behavior and experiences and we write words on the internet.
What you won’t find here are any heroes.