Are our great thinkers of today really any better than we are?
— Oprah Network Canada (@OWNCanada) May 25, 2014
Whether it’s Cosmos or Metaphysical Milkshake or Super Soul Sunday, I love to watch documentaries, interviews, whatever – something where someone seemingly better than I am can make me want to reduce my dumbass or douchelord levels (instead of just hating them for it). It’s been said that “great minds discuss concepts, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people”. Yeah (directs a spastic pointer finger at quote)… that thing!
After the tense cultural climate through which my parents trudged in the 60’s, it’s no surprise I feel like some schizophrenic scumbag lovechild of the Lennon-esque era in San Francisco juxtaposed against protests of a war torn Vietnam. My mom was living in the former place – while missing my dad, fighting in the latter locale. I obviously wasn’t alive during the time – but I don’t think mental alterations of this nature just cease or disappear. Trauma lives on and breeds from the people who bear it. Perhaps as epigentic pain. Or perhaps passed unintentionally as anxiety with no identifiable origin.
While modern news is still guilty of fostering this feeling via grief-rotica, it’s met nicely with the counterbalance of our better modern thinkers. I don’t care if they’re spiritual gurus, scientific dudes, or comedians. Often, I just effing need someone whose words silence the malaise mosaic Riverdancing on my mental grave of buried bliss. Sometimes Eckhart can exhume it. Sometimes Russell Brand can. Other times, it’s old Alan Watts recordings.
And some days, it’s a great reaction to acts of Twitdiocy:
Maybe they are better if we’re that ready to pull the Twitter trigger without pausing to see if we’re not just being illiterate peasants.
Buuuut…so as not to be small minded by mocking people themselves (or be “average” and speak about the event itself), I’d like to analyze the idea (see what I did there?) that drove all this butthurt in this post. I mean, don’t blame the digital dipshits. We’re all just people raised in a schizophrenic society. The news makes us anxious. The web lets us vent. Social media doesn’t champion that fine lost art of really listening, reading, mentally ingesting – before thought vomiting.
We just want to be heard without having to hear.
Nice thing is – a decent how-to-live leader worth the throne we sit him on does three things: 1. Shows us how it’s done 2. Doesn’t feign perfection 3. I forget.
For example, Deepak Chopra let his son follow him around like a puppy with a camera, capture all his little foibles, and make a documentary out of it. That’s pretty humble for someone made into a pop-culture guru. I’d have been a typical ego-tistical diva (“Wait, make sure my mala’s on and get my good side!”), but it makes me think – if he can be humble (as a milli-billi-whatever-ion-aire), then maybe I can try a lil bit harder to be less of a dick, overall.
Also, there’s Russell Brand. He’s an open book – oscillating between the entrancing well-read manic (not man-i-ac) – and the ethereally serene teacher setting examples. There’s also the self-observer willing to say of each that yeah, he’s bipolar but he’ll be damned if he takes drugs that stifle innovation. (Plus there’s the whole addiction thing). Either way, the man once told me something that resonated when I expressed doubt about writing or sketching in a life after prescription anxiety squashers. It was really simple but effective: “Drugs don’t help art. That’s a myth.”
As someone who too relies on creativity and clarity for income, it stuck. Not just because it was said directly to me from someone I revere, but also because he offered an alternative and demonstrates how well it works.
Then there are entertainers I’ve judged in times past from my throne of self-righteous douchebaggery (because “my defects are way better than theirs”) who are also doing amazing things to get people like me to try (key word “try”) thinking outside of our boring cognitive corridors.
It’s easy to snub pedestalized people. We like to erect and rip them down. And I’m starting to think it’s not just because we’re cruel. It’s because we’re lazy. We want to be great too – we just don’t want to work for it. So if we canonize Joe Schmoe and quickly punt the pedestal from under his taint, well… now we’re just like celebrity Saint Joe, aren’t we? And when it comes to fame without merit, that’s too easy to do.
But something about witnessing enlightened pimpdaddies backhands our denial across the face. And if we’re lucky, it leaves a bruise.
That’s why it’s nice to see great minds prove via example setting – why they ever gained popularity in the first place. They’re not any better than we are and the good ones won’t let you think that they are. What they will do is show us how to be better versions of ourselves.
It starts with sharing more full attention and fewer fucking opinions (like mine).
— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) May 8, 2014