When did we all become obsessed with other people?
Is social media to blame?
We all want to make a good impression but I think a lot of what people are selling is a cheap knockoff and social media is the egocentric platform that advertises the product.
But do we really need the real deal or is a knockoff good enough?
We’ve all heard the novel phrases ‘live your truth’ and ‘live your best life’ along with the notion of an “influencer”, many of whom clearly have the ego of a Renaissance free thinker, but without much of the wisdom to inspire more than an eye roll.
I think we all know at least one “friend” who’s a really good salesperson, who, like the cheap knockoff, comes in the flashy branded packaging but when you take a look inside, isn’t worth much.
Now you might think I’m being a bit harsh, if so, you’re lucky to not have anyone so vacuous on your friends list or you just might be one of these people yourself.
If Leonardo da Vinci rose from his grave and set up a YouTube account and touted himself as an influencer, I’m sure he’d have us all strapping ourselves into a pair of cardboard wings by lunchtime.
Now that I’ve said that, I’m not so sure he’d be any more responsible than any number of Pied Pipers leading their followers.
But let’s be honest Influencer is not an attribute that scientists and inventors usually put on their CV.
Where does this need to impress people come from and why do so many of us find so little impressive? Is it the fact that the majority of people in any society live with very little so even the most average of people may seem to “have it all”?
Is it merely the human condition to want what others have, to hold them up to high standard or unattainability? After all the Bible itself tells us not to worship false idols and something about coveting oxen.
So perhaps we as human beings can’t help but wonder if the grass really is greener on the other side of the hill. But does that mean we shouldn’t try to fight our nature? The Bible also states we shouldn’t murder or steal, these commandments are written in law, and yet it’s perfectly legal to envy the celebrity entity and to fashion ourselves into idols.
Do these false idols give us poor mediocre people something to strive for? It’s all too easy to be influenced.
As a writer everything you read or see or hear influences your work, but like many a mother growing up they’d be quick to tell you ‘that friend is a bad influence on you.’ So perhaps there are different kinds of influence, the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
Should we allow ourselves to be influenced or just believe in our own capabilities without an example to imitate?
Oscar Wilde said ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery mediocrity can pay to greatness.’
If that’s true, should we be perpetually in pursuit of followers? Does it fill oneself with a sense of pride or achievement?
I myself have 0 followers on any platform that I have subscribed to and yet self publishing my first book, which in this day and age isn’t particularly impressive, anyone can do it, still fills me with a sense of pride and achievement.
I haven’t penned the greatest novel of our time, I haven’t inspired anyone to greatness, I haven’t catapulted to fame and fortune from my years of research and writing.
I’ll never be Shakespeare, but that’s ok. I’m not the soul of an age, I am the quoted mediocrity, but instead of flattering the greats with imitation, I’ll be myself, whether I go far or stay right where I am.
Notes: I have just discovered I have 1 follower… someone hand me my flute.
The only reason I mention the Bible is because it is the foundation of law in our society, so don’t get triggered on me now, I myself do not subscribe to the Christian faith but I recognise it as the basis for law and morality in the country I live.
Also any point or message that may or may not be derived from these ramblings are of your own making. I really kind of lost it halfway through and didn’t know how to find it again. 🤣
I found myself musing on a number of things whilst visiting the amenities, basically be happy being you, be the best you you can be, don’t live your life trying to impress people or living up to their outlandish expectations, be reasonable, be sensible, if you must influence to give your life purpose or meaning try to inspire invention, creation and logic. Be an ancient Greek, be a Renaissance man, be an overweight, 30 something, mother, with mental health problems, who waffles to nobody on her blog. Whatever you are, make sure it makes you happy, fulfilled, decent, honest, kind and just be ok with that.