Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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Symbols of success

Watched Cinderella Man this weekend and enjoyed it, but that and Netter's posts about Oprah got me thinking. The main character in the movie became a hero to the downtrodden in the depression. And it just kind of struck me how much human beings are able to live their dreams vicariously through the success of another. And Oprah seems like one of those symbols as well, through which many are able to somehow feel their hopes are fulfilled, or kept alive. Athletes are a common expression of this as well. We admire people who are able to achieve what we dream of achieving.

This isn't any revelation. But it still fascinates me. Many seem to find it very satisfying to live vicariously. And I guess this happens as well when a group we are involved in also represents some idealized value -- we can live through the group's success. Of course, this creates problems as well since we are led to defend our heroes at all costs, even the exclusion of others.

I can understand the desire for the feeling of particpating in something larger than yourself -- it is something I crave -- something that transcends my own particular fate, something I can give myself to. And I find some sense of satisfaction in a theistic framework. But for every hero, there seem to be 1,000 who are crushed by the same system that propels the hero to the forefront. And I have a much harder time attaching to the hero than to the 1,000.

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