This week’s journal topic: Fame
Being famous is a new career choice and a highly desirable one for Millennials and Gen Z. Twenty years ago, if you asked an elementary school student what she wanted to be when she grew up, she might have named veterinarian, scientist, or doctor as dream careers. The Barbie dolls of the 90’s reflect these choices. If you asked a student of the same age nowadays, you might hear the answer, “Famous!” Closely related are the “careers” of Instagrammer, vlogger, Youtuber, and Twitch star.
Paris Hilton led the way of the tribe of women who are famous-for-being-famous. Kim Kardashian followed a few years later and continues to reign as a pop-culture Queen. And so-called “DJ” Khalid is known more for his social media presence than talent.
Fame certainly has an appeal to our generation. Even though it’s clear that fame is a much tougher game than beautiful Instagram profiles make it seem, the number of young people throwing their entire lives into the ring keeps increasing. After the dust settles, there are few winners and many, many destroyed lives.
Why do we want to be famous, and not “happy”?
Why do we want persona-hood and not person-hood?
Quotes relevant to Fame:
Nietzsche: “There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth.” Fame involves presenting an appealing and glamorous image at all times; what lies beneath the beautiful image of perfection is deep and sometimes troubling.
Socrates: “Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds.” Fame is an ornament, a scented aura that follows a person who has done something heroic. Good perfume is expensive; it’s something we earn with sacrifices of time and effort.
Emerson: “The only person you are destined to become, is the person you decide to be.” If famous is what you decide to become, you can have it.
Thoreau: “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” Truth is valuable above all other things – make truth your object of attainment.
Boethius: “Fame, in fact, is a shameful thing, and so often deceptive.”
- Have you met a famous person before? Describe the encounter and him/her. If you haven’t, who would you meet and what do you think it would be like?
- Can you imagine yourself becoming in/famous and what would you be in/famous for?
- What are the elements of fame, personally and socially? (i.e., what does a celebrity’s life look like in your society?)
- What positive aspects of fame appeal to you?
- What drawbacks deter you from fame?
- Does fame encourage people to hide parts of themselves or to make decisions that they wouldn’t naturally make? Can a person be famous and truthful?
- Can a person decide to become famous? Why or why not?
How to get the most out of Know Thyself 2019
Don’t rush through the questions. Try to do only one question every morning, leaving space to add thoughts that might come up later during the day. The journal is designed to help you develop a consistent, daily practice of self-reflection.
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