Life has become a bucket list, a list of things to do before you die such as skydiving, petting dolphins, climbing the Himalayas. Should we be happy with such a society that is not short of imagination when it comes to planning its next vacation?
We have definitely entered the era of the leisure society, at least for a part of humanity. People have more time and better purchasing power. This allows them to challenge themselves in order to fill a void that seriously resembles a loss of meaning.
Religious decline or the disappearance of unifying stories
We no longer have great collective narratives that, even if they crushed people a little, had the advantage of conferring a little modesty. Today, we all need to be unique, we can’t stand not feeling like we are like someone else. Because we don’t feel completely fulfilled in our work, we need to find a differentiating identity in our free time. Social networks have made this quest for uniqueness possible by allowing us to put ourselves on stage in settings that are as breathtaking as they are repetitive. This thirst for uniqueness has made us lose our authenticity. Social networks have transformed us into an army of clones with our pure consent.
Differentiate yourself to exist
To be special is not in the frantic race to reinforce our ego but by going deep inside ourselves to find our authenticity. The problem is that our society is commercial, and we differentiate ourselves like a consumer product: we distinguish ourselves by a kind of marketing process rather than intimacy.
Singularity is not cultivated by accumulating stickers on the body of one’s car or by looking for the best Instagrammable spots to take the best shots. True singularity results from a quest for authenticity. Narcissistic searches only lead to wanderings or corruption of our true nature.
Nature made you unique but you forgot your nature
Since we are social beings, our desire to please is also linked to our desire to be integrated into the human groups we find ourselves in. Before, our need to please was limited to the real world, today it is to the whole planet that we seduce so much Internet gives us a strong virtual identity. To join the society, it is to forget a little of what we are to gain in security and comfort, two benefits among many others of the socialization. Pushing to the extreme in this quest for social recognition, we can simply forget what we were made of and totally adhere to the social mold that is proposed to us. However, at a time when we want to present ourselves to the world as a unique being, it is only necessary to dig deep inside ourselves to find the true source of our uniqueness.
An army of extroverted clones
It is easier to buy a ticket to go around the world than to work on going around ourselves. Real change takes time and it happens on the inside long before it is visible on the outside. It is easier to take a picture of yourself next to a poor child during a “humanitarian” week in a distant country to show off your greatness than it is to truly grow your compassion in the privacy and solitude of regular prayer.
Quests for extraverted pleasures and satisfactions yield only superficial and unsustainable results. To undertake the real change that is the hallmark of a true quest for authenticity, we must face the test of time. What can be obtained and assimilated quickly is of little value on the scale of our improvement. Reading and rereading a book to meditate on its teachings and thus grow takes more time than wearing a T-shirt with the Dalai Lama’s image or the latest colored sarouel to increase our tolerance and our openness to others.
If you sacrifice nothing, you get nothing
You can have everything if you are ready to sacrifice everything to get it.
A society of affluence needs to believe that everything can be obtained because everything can be bought. In reality, nothing is less true. People who are famous in a particular field have often reached an excellent level because they have neglected everything outside their field of expertise.
Therein lies the irony, to have it all, for example fame, wealth and perhaps even glory, you must be willing to give up the desire for nothing more than to excel in your field. Conversely, if you are not willing to give up any comfort or satisfaction, you will not be able to accomplish anything meaningful.
On a larger scale, civilization is built on the sacrifices of its members to some extent. We enjoy a comfort that is due to the people who came before us (they gave their lives for freedom, worked all their lives …). Conversely, a society that can no longer embody a certain idea of sacrifice will not be able to sustain its civilization. Ancient Rome collapsed more under the weight of the banquets and orgies of its leaders in need of guidance than by the vigor with which the “barbarians” swept over its empire.
An argument to help you not to desire fame and thus keep you on the path of excellence and uniqueness.
Just as the Greek gods envied the mortality of ordinary people, stars envy us what they no longer have and yet what they have sought so much and the very reason that distinguishes them from others: anonymity
The stars envy you
Enjoying the simplicity and tranquility of anonymity is a luxury that celebrities do not have. While it’s easy for the common man to have a special day by having a star day, the reverse is not true. A celebrity can hardly live a stranger among people. I’m not talking about influencers or internet stars. I’m talking about stars who justify the stellar name they enjoy: sports or music idols whose travels rhyme with jubilation and frenzy.
The celebrity no longer belongs to himself
Trapped or locked in an image that people expect of them, celebrities can suffer from a split personality: appearing to be what they are not, while assisting in the cannibalization of what they are by what they are expected to be.