How fortunate Eden Prairie is to have a young adult like Harini Senthilkumar. Her article in the Sept. 12 issue of your paper was articulate, insightful and informative. She nails some current and very vexing social attitudes and behaviors. I would have liked her to go farther with “a culture consumed with celebrity persona.” Oh, and “persona” is a Greek derivative for “the Drama Mask” that hides the real person acting.
Remarkable how American culture has elevated celebrity. Occasionally, when something brave, great or extraordinary happens we declare a “hero.” And, these folks do a great thing without demand for a reward, and have little desire for notice. Alfred Adler, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, knew that humans seek attention. He also knew that focusing ones life on seeking attention is neurotic. With the “hero” there is a maturity. Doing “the right thing” without desire for attention and reward shows the maturity of being socially interested. It demonstrates full humanity.
Her treatment of “gossip” and “being in the know” and on “the inside” was compelling.
Supposedly, that is intended to elevate ones significance. So, ones significance is an “outside-in” process or transaction. If that is so, then ones significance is tenuous and subject to all the “outside” forces in the world. Perhaps, this is the major source for the cultural increase in depression and anxiety. Folks, stuck in a “no win” struggle of their own making. That also may explain the growing worship of “celebrity”. They are “the significant ones” who have mastered “attention-getting.”
Harini also points out the dark side of “gossip.” It is used to elevate the “gossipers” position over the “gossipee.” Adler also spoke about this. He observed and recorded that elevation is a move to overcome personal “inferiority.” Those who use it are attempting to attain a “superior” feeling and position over and against someone they think or feel is doing better than they are. Adler went further. He said, thus, if one is jealous, one might work at growing and approving. However, if one was envious, then one is more likely to destroy the object of envy. Thus “celebrity” is “gossiped” about.
Finally, the point Harini made that seems to go to the core is these are ways to not meet “the demand of real relationship.” Real relationship is face-to-face. Person-to-person. The tools of “gossip” are remote, creating a pseudo sense of connecting, intimacy and presence. Harsh things said demonstrate a lack of the courage it takes to relate.
Again, Adler pointed out that life has difficulty and struggle. Normal people see that, and they use their energy and courage to adapt to life’s demands. When they adapt, it benefits them and others. They do this with “the others.”
So, I am very thankful to Harini for what she wrote and more importantly, she honestly admitted her own misuses and shortcomings. That is real and authentic. That is honestly human.