This post is not against meritocracy. To me, meritocracy is a noble idea. Anybody, irrespective of caste, gender and other differences, can rise and achieve. Only the person who is the most deserving, wins. How can someone even have a problem with such an idea? But I just had a little discussion about this concept inside my head and I felt that it can be looked at in a different way as well.
I personally cringe when I see less talented people hogging the limelight. But I have a question here. How do you define talent? For me, the most talented ‘actor’ must be the most successful person but who says that my definition of talent is the only valid one? For a teenage girl, the definition of a talented actor might be someone who can do multiple things like dancing, rapping, singing, romancing along with acting. Maybe she doesn’t care much about the nuances of acting, all she cares about is that the actor’s good looks make her heart sing. Can I tell that teenage girl that she is wrong? Can she tell me that I am wrong? Forget about other person, we have different definitions of talent in different times of our lives.
I believe that a job should go to the one is the most qualified for the job, the most deserving candidate. But then, who decides what is the right qualification? Am I not believing in some objective idea of a ‘right’ qualification? We can definitely have *some* idea about what competency looks like but still, there is actually no right way of doing anything.
I remember the times when I used to feel sad about the fact that brilliant writing is almost never popular but mediocre writing is always on the top of the bestsellers list. I still feel the same to a large extent but once again, how can I say that my judgement of great writing is the ultimate truth? I agree that certain technical parameters can be used but then am I the authority of someone’s life? The bestseller may not appeal to me but what if some woman finds solace in that book? What if that book was the reason why she met her soulmate? What if that book helped her to understand herself? What if she likes the book because it is her dead mother’s favorite?
Maybe, I will choose someone who is very good at a job. But for someone else, talent is a combination of many things. The singer who spends hours together to hone her talent is admirable. It is quite justifiable when she gets angry at a fellow singer who is spending less time singing and more time in building some other skills and yet getting more money than her. But can I say that she is only ‘real’ artist? Atleast for me, the answer is no. Because to say that I know who a real artist is to say that that my idea of art and an artist is the ultimate truth.
We look at merit as something separate. Sometimes, meritocracy reduces human beings to merely…talent or capability which is NOT wrong. We need to continue our efforts towards a meritocratic system but let’s remember that human beings are not just parts. They are much, much more.
P.S. This is my 200th Post. Thanks for your insightful comments, feedback and yes, thanks for bearing my rants 😛 :D.