It’s hard to act heroically or epically on a daily basis. Everything changes when you know you’re being watched, and especially when people you like and value are watching you. Now imagine that your every move is being watched as if you were being filmed by a hidden camera.
The Hidden Camera Helps You
To act heroically, you sometimes need motivation. Often, self-love will be enough to make us behave in a noble manner, but sometimes we need to add other sources of motivation. If you’re being watched, you’re putting your need to belong into play.
The Need To Belong
Much of what we do is motivated by the desire to remain united with a group. Our sense of belonging is ingrained in our genes, and has long been associated with survival, which is why humans are such gregarious animals.
Belonging Is Conditioned
If you want to belong to a group, you always have to meet certain conditions, otherwise the group is open to all and loses its special, protective character. You might be tempted to tell me that this isn’t true, and that the “human” group doesn’t meet any criteria apart from being naturally human. But think again. When someone behaves in a horrible or cruel way, we tend to call them inhuman or animal, and thus exclude them from the human race despite their natural belonging to it. The human being is not just a genome, it’s above all a culture, a certain idea of nobility. This same argument has been used by humans to justify the exploitation of other humans, claiming that they were savages, uncivilized (and therefore not belonging to humans).
Pure Unconditional Love Doesn’t Exist
If you think people will love you despite what you do, you’re wrong. With the possible exception of mothers, but then again I doubt it. Belonging to a respectable group implies exemplary behavior. Knowing that you are being watched by members of the group to which you wish to belong is a good incentive to behave appropriately. With our reputation and social standing at stake, we tend to behave more nobly than if we didn’t feel we were being watched. That’s why it’s a good idea to simulate this hidden camera mentally, so you can behave as nobly as possible.
God, The Ultimate Hidden Camera
Many religious traditions made mention of God’s omniscience and ubiquity: all our actions are recorded and will serve as the basis for our heavenly and posthumous judgment. For believers, God is the ultimate coach, the ultimate wingman who accompanies us to test our ability to behave well. Thinking about him on a regular basis can be a source of motivation to act with excellence, discipline and panache, so why not believe in him? You have everything to gain by believing in him.