This is going to be a short post, just something that I learnt and have now started observing in other people that I think is worth calling out.
One of the biases I used to suffer from was self-inflicted, simply put, it was putting your heroes on a pedestal.
This, for me anyway, started with just having heroes and them making them infallible. As with a lot of people I’m sure, this began at a young age and continued until about 2 years ago.
There are problems with putting your heroes on a pedestal, before we get to them, some clarifications must be made.
There’s nothing with having heroes, I actually think its important to have people you can admire, but, the way I choose to admire them is to respect their achievements and aspire for the qualities that they reveal to me that I like.
This applies to public figures and people in my life.
There is however a difference between having heroes that you admire and putting them on a pedestal, the difference lies in the fact that we set them up to fail by propping them up.
When they (inevitably) fail the standards that we set for them - that they didn’t ask for - we feel wronged, almost like they lied to us about who they were - which they didn’t - and they must be punished for this.
In all of this, the people who more often than not are most affected by putting their heroes on a pedestal are the people who put their heroes on a pedestal, not the heroes themselves.
A modern problem of putting heroes on a pedestal is that, as a result of the omniprescence of social media, with the rise of online personas (personal branding almost) that require very little in terms of old world ‘achievement’ and the ‘social’ status of a person in significantly influenced by their following, there are and will be an influx of ‘heroes’ who are just everyday people who happen to be followed by a lot of people.
This is not to say that they aren’t heroes, they probably are quite admirable people with wonderful qualities, it’s just that they don’t ask to be put on a pedestal.
The problem with this in the social media age is that when such a ‘hero’(quotes just to differentiate between an old school and modern hero) fails our standards, they face significant flak despite not asking to be put on the pedestal in the first place.
In this case, the ‘hero’ is affected and the pedestal-er is left red faced for propping such a ‘hero’ up and must now save face by bringing this ‘hero’ down.
I intend to write a longer post around the idea of cancel culture soon.
There is an exception to this rule in form of virtue signallers - who I think do place the pedestal down for themselves and only ask that it be placed below them.
In summation, don’t put your heroes on pedestals - you’re setting them up to fail and only hurting yourself in the process, instead admire qualities in them that you like, don’t consider them infallible.
Thank you for reading
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