As I promised in my last post, I’m on a journey to explore my dark side. I want to travel to places (inside myself) that make me extremely uncomfortable. Today, I meditated a lot on one of the things that scares me and one fear just stood out. I feel that almost everybody (especially Indians :P?) has this fear. The fear that our heroes, the ones who inspire us, might be flawed. I don’t know about you but this is one of my greatest fears.
Heroes are people who do things that we wish we did. It is this gap between us and the heroes that makes us worship them. They inspire us. We feel assured..if they can do it, then so can we.
However, some people take all this too seriously. They forget that their heroes are human beings and they are not here to make their followers happy. We turn them into a property and try to possess them. One mistake and we are ready to pounce on them. There are others who feel disillusioned. They are so sensitive that they are in absolute shock. Do you remember your childhood hero? If you found out that he/she has done something that didn’t match your image of him/her, what would be your reaction? I’m one of those people who tend to get very depressed. It takes a lot of time for me to overcome this shock. I had a mentor whom I really looked upto and one day, he cracked a rape joke. After some time, he cracked another. I just cut off all ties with him. This was something very serious but even if the ‘flaw’ is less serious I tend to get hurt. As I asked myself the reason for this behavior, I discovered that it was about control.
Basically, we all want to live life the way we want. Because of many reasons, we are unable to do so. Deep down, we suspect that the things that we consider impossible (in this case, living life the way we want) are possible. Heroes come into our lives and tell us that impossible is possible. Now, let’s pause here for a moment and talk about this. What does doing the impossible mean? Let’s say that you are a homosexual and you are afraid of coming out. You read about someone who bravely came out in a country like India where homosexuality is a crime. She is your hero. But you discover that she has bribed. Now this is heartbreaking for you. But my question is: why do we think that a human being can be flawless and only good? Is it because we are afraid of the dark side? If so, why? When we find out that our heroes are not flawless, it is a proof that they are unable to control everything in their lives, right? There are times, when situations or power or temptations control them. To put it in other words, there are two thoughts: one thought is of love and the other is of fear. We expect our heroes to always choose the thought of love (I will not bribe because it will harm others in the society) and win over the thought of fear (I cannot face the fear that comes from not bribing). We want to control their minds. The reason? We are unable to control the thoughts in our head. We are afraid of fear. But WHY do we want to control things in our heads? If things are going our way, we do not want to control things i.e. we don’t mind if we have great thoughts in our head. But if things are scary i.e. when negative thoughts crop up, we want to control them. That is why we are so obsessed with fearlessness. But the very desire to be fearless shows that we are afraid of being afraid. If you are truly fearless, why would you want to eliminate fear?
I will put it in other words:You are obsessed with controlling things. But why are you unable to control the need to control itself? You are worshiping your hero because you believe in doing the impossible. But if you really want to do the impossible, why are you not able to do the impossible task of accepting the reality of your hero? Your desperate need to control your hero’s actions shows that you are looking for ways to escape fearful situations.
We hear a lot of motivational speeches where people say stuff like, “Everything is possible!” For a long time, I struggled because I believed in this statement and others believed otherwise. But here’s a question that exposes the fear of fear that the statement hides: If everything is possible then why is it not possible to accept that some things are not possible for some people?
All of the above doesn’t just apply to heroes. It applies to every ‘ideal’ that we create. Conflicts happen when we form nice images and force others to confirm to those.