Killing our heroes
In a comment to my post on "Role Models", Basile Samel wrote (emphasis is mine):
I think we should stop listening to role models for the sake of it. Multiplying our experiences and indulging in a regular practice of introspection is way better to grow and find our own answers. There was a time where I loved listening to self-improvement podcasts or reading like-minded books, but too often it ends up in intellectual masturbation. In a sense, you need to kill your heroes to become your own hero.
I want to expand and ruminate a bit on the topics raised. I fully agree that introspection and meditation are a way to understand oneselves better and lead a flourishing life. But frankly, I feel it is not an easily accessible one. In the din of everyday life, with barrage of information pouring in and with so many life/work commitments, it is extremely tough to sit back and act in a mindful manner. As a human species, we need skills to wade through this abundance. I digress. My point: it is a privilege to introspect.
I want to draw an analogy of "killing our heroes" to "being an atheist or agnostic". It is so easy to call oneself an atheist and denounce many rituals associated with it. But religion is a tour-de-force. It is one of the longest surviving instituitions of our society. Religion helps people to bond and find meaning to people who are deprived of many comforts of the society.
It will be an interesting experiment to see, how an economically well-off society behaves without any religion in it. My bet is: instead of religion, sub-cultures will be formed. Crossfit, keto diet, micro services, EDM fans are some of the sub-cultures which is similar to religion. Instead of deities, you have coaches, singers or hackers, dispensing their wisdom and opinions from their pulpits.
When deep thoughts, introspection and meditation becomes a luxury, our default mode is that we all tend to orient ourselves into the sub-cultures and emulate our role models. These things are important, because belong in a sub-culture gives you the identity, meaning, helps you bond with the society.
When need not worship and blindly follow our heroes and role-models, but for the role models we sub-consciously choose, we need to be aware of their warts and moles. We need to cultivate the skill of when to take their advice and when to ignore them.