The Problem with Inspirations and Idols

Do you have an inspiration? Most of us do. There are many people we are inspired from, but there is always that one inspiration who we regard as our role model, and we follow them, we live them. Think, and you will know, who is that person you have always wanted to be like. Of course, the answers will be different, but the pattern is mostly the same. What pattern? That you will discover as you read through this post, as it explores through different aspects of people we regard as our idols, and the problem with Idols.

Well, whomsoever your role model might be, from Steve Jobs to Albert Einstein to Elon Musk, you think about them almost all the time you try execute some task, or you think what they would have done in such a situation. There is a tendency to follow the exact same path as your role model. It is good to be inspired, or to follow someone with regards to his or her principles, as it provides you with motivation to get through kind of-impossible-to-cope-through situations. The thought is, “If he can do, then I can too”. This is a great way to perceive role models and inspirations. But it is often poisonous. Maybe poisonous is a little too harsh a word, but at times it goes to it. Ok, let me explain.

Let us just say, that there is your role model, who is dear to you, no, extremely dear to you. If someone says, “You know what, Steve Jobs was just a public face, he never contributed in Apple’s success”, I would perhaps go mad at that person. Well, now that I have learned that people can have extremely diverse opinions, I go mad at things like this no more, but I see people around me do so. They react as they had been personally offended. It is normal, though. I mean a lot of people are very fond of their inspirations, and they are not ready to hear one word against them. Introspect yourself, and see if you do the same or not. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But the problem is here itself. The people who are closed to any criticism upon their inspiration, according to me, are in loss. There is always room for criticism, no matter who it maybe. The moment you begin to get offended by criticism that is not even upon yourself, things began to get a little wrong. But what is wrong in this? The thing is that such people are going to follow the same path as their inspiration, and if their inspiration is really at fault, these people are near to making a mistake they could have avoided. Here is an example: think you follow, let’s say, a comedian or a youtuber running a roasting channel. It is common that people in such profession, in an attempt to make people laugh, go into saying something that has a negative impact on the society. A lot of people turn against them, but they have a shield, a shield of their own fan following. This becomes toxic. Some blind followers are ready to defend their idols to any extent. This gives birth to controversies. The result? The unending support from his/her fans is enough to convince the person that he/she is not at fault, and then the person will keep on backing his/her statement. Also, If the person has said something about a particular sect or community, the fan following of that person will waste no time in spreading out hate against that sect or community. For this I have a recent example: In India, a roaster on YouTube, known by the name of Carryminati, had released a video in which he took a jab on Tik-Tok users, which was a part of an ongoing YouTube versus Tik-Tok controversy. Now, Carryminati is India’s biggest roaster, and now India’s most subscribed man. When he released his video, his huge fan base, which mostly comprises of fierce teenagers, began to spread intolerable hate to the person who had been roasted in the video. According to some people, the video in question was really improper and had comments that targeted some already struggling sections of the society, after which, they were struggling even more because Carryminati’s fanbase had begun to spread hate against them. After Carryminati received criticism from many people about his video, his fanbase was like a wall, taking a dig at anyone who offered criticism to Carryminati. Carryminati still beliefs that his video was not inappropriate or something that would promote hatred (the video was taken down by YouTube due to violations of terms of harassment and bullying).

This isn’t a point here that if the video was offensive or not, but the point is that there was a huge amount of toxicity that spread because of this. When fans come to the extent of protecting their idol from any valid criticism, the person being protected falls into something called the messiah complex, which basically is the kind of thinking where one sees whatever he/she does as absolutely correct, with no scope of further improvement or criticism. This leads to the person in question making remarks like the previous ones again and again, which helps to spread hate. This messiah complex is mostly subconscious for the person who falls into it. For example, if you solved a maths problem and the whole class agreed to it readily, saying that it was absolutely correct, it is natural to believe it is correct even if you are not sure about the same. This on a big scale, corresponds with the messiah complex. So, you began to see how not only does a public figure influences the general public, but also how the general public influences the public figure. This at times can be beneficial, but most of the times it turns out to be the exact opposite. It is important that you understand this completely and clearly to understand the context and the purpose of this post, from the beginning to the end. So basically, the problem lies at times within us if we cannot gather up the courage to point out to that public figure that what he/she is doing is wrong. As we have already seen, the one who tries to point such a thing out, is often crushed by the hateful remarks that come from the public figure’s fanbase. It is although worth trying. At the same time, it is heart-breaking as well. The thought that crosses your mind will perhaps be that how can someone you believed to be such a good person would have done such a deed, but, but, it doesn’t mean that you start to hate that public figure. What often goes unnoticed in the mist of the person’s success and good nature is the fact that the person is a human at the end of the day. It is impossible for a human to be devoid of mistakes. Steve Jobs had done mistakes, even though he was a celebrated figure, and is still a celebrated figure. With influencers, we have a mindset that they are perfect and hence cannot make mistakes, perhaps because they were able to present you with a solution of almost every problem you had. We should remember they can make mistakes as well. Maybe Carryminati had really done an act of toxicity without even knowing it, or maybe he hadn’t. So, these public figures don’t deserve your hatred, but they deserve a suggestion, or a point-out. There is a huge difference between hatred and pointing out mistakes. This makes us in a position to now look for the solution of this whole problem.

The Solution

Yeah, I have already suggested the solution in some previous lines – public figures need pointing out not hatred – but I deem it as a duty to explain the thing completely and properly so that I make my point clear. Ok, so let’s begin with understanding the difference between hatred and pointing-out mistake, and then let’s continue to connect it with the solution. So, hatred is to simply abuse someone, in most cases as a reply to something, while pointing-out is a polite way of telling mistakes. Wait! There is one more difference, that will drive us towards our solution. The difference is that hatred doesn’t make the person realise of his/her mistake, but instead outrages the person, while pointing-out is quite the opposite of it. For example, if you saw some content that you think is extremely outrageous and toxic, replying with writing a paragraph comprising all the different cuss words you know or you looked up won’t help. Instead it will make the other person outrageous, which will tempt him to reply to you with a longer paragraph of cuss words. This clearly doesn’t solve the problem, but escalates it. Now we move on to pointing-out. So, in the same case described above, it is a better choice to instead tell the person what was the mistake in their narrative or content. This will not outrage the person, but it will only in few cases make the person really work on his fault.

“A good author is that who keeps his opinions in a way that they seem to the other as facts.”

Then what is the ideal choice? The ideal and wiser choice would be to point-out the mistake, but add to it an explanation (as I am doing right now. I told the solution in the first line, but it is better to explain things properly, because the vigour of thoughts is often hard to capture in a single line, and should be avoided in controversies). Adding things like why do you think it is a mistake, and a suggestion as to how it can be corrected, while simultaneously respecting the opinion of the person in question can really be a game-changer. It can force the person to rethink his opinions, and in most chances really change the mindset of the person. Keep in mind that you respect the opinion of the person you’re trying to point out the mistake, no matter (at least in most cases) how anger provoking it is. A good author is that who keeps his opinions in a way that they seem to the other as facts. This helps in changing the mindset of the person. Shouting will not help in such cases. This is something that can prevent the public figure from falling into messiah complex, which ensures that he will also inform the people who are dedicated to him that he was wrong here, and correct there, which in turn will shape the society in a far better way and prevent toxicity from spreading, which is near to (if not a) miracle in a world where wars are always just some distance away, let it be between countries, in countries, or social media.

PS: I hope that you are clear with the purpose and the message of the post. This was my second post, and your support can be invaluable.

Published by Nabeel Nishat

Writing thoughts of a brain. The brain is mine. Writing in my blog.

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