Two other things happened...one, I got my taxes done and filed, (which is what took of the bulk of my day, probably not surprisingly...over twelve hours from start to finish)...and two, I finished a draft of what started off as a short story, and morphed into a full-blown prequel novel, if a short one, for my Quentin Black Mystery series, which I'd planned to launch later this year.
See shiny cover, Exhibit A, to your right ~
It's now with the beta readers, but should be out very soon.
The other big thing in writing news...
Well, I'll explain that one later, in a separate post, before I run out of room to muse about anything much at all. As it is, I'm still more or less staring blankly over my first cup of coffee, so this one might be a little more off-the-cuff than usual.
So, what am I going to talk about?
Idols. People we look up to.
Strangely, I realized this was kind of the counterpoint to the whole post about cults and culty behavior, because there is a certain sub-set of minor celebrities who take advantage of human beings' natural desire to look for role models among other people.
I think this is one of those drives that's very easy for certain personality types to misconstrue as weakness, or somehow a lack of having one's own mind.
I even have Galaith talking about that in the Allie's War books, when he's trying to convince Revik to join him in a more interventionist approach to human beings ~
“Don’t be offended, Revik,” Galaith says, raising a hand to silence Terian. “It is not you that is the problem. The Seven certainly mean well, but they are judging my race as if it were their own. But humans are not seers, Revik. Humans...the ordinary mob of humanity...do not need more freedom. They do not even want it. What they want, more than anything, is for the world to make sense. They want their lives to have some greater purpose...a meaning.”
The faceless man smiles wanly, looking out over the muddy exercise yard.
“They want someone to provide that for them, Rolf,” he says, quieter. “They want this in part because they do not trust themselves...much less their fellow man. Which means, more than anything, they want to be led by someone greater than themselves. They don’t want a committee of their peers. They don’t want the truth to shift with the sands of opinion, or time, or perspective. They want an absolute reality. One that makes sense to them year after year, no matter what occurs outside of them. Whether they control this or not is irrelevant to them. They wish the illusion of control...without any of the responsibility.”
I glance at Revik’s face, watch him thinking about this.
I can tell he doesn’t exactly disagree.
Hell, I’m not even sure I do.
Galaith watches Revik too. After a pause, he smiles wanly.
“Rolf, my dear friend...humans are, quite simply, made to be dominated. If not by seers, then by more powerful humans. In truth, they prefer it.” He gestures broadly over the whitewashed buildings, the rows of uniformed men. “This war is a case in point,” he says. “Is it the honest leader to whom the masses flock? The one who gives them greater freedoms? More responsibility for their lives?” He smiles, shaking his head. “No. It is the one who gives them purpose, Rolf. An enemy. A beautiful dream that tells them all of their problems can be solved. Do they care that this dream is borne of countless lies? No. They do not. No modern human leader has ever been loved as the Germans love Hitler, Rolf. Not Churchill, not Roosevelt. Not since the last of his kind...Napoleon, Caesar, the Emperors of old Asia has a leader been loved like this...”
It's something I've always struggled with, personally...in terms of studying history, that is. Meaning, the fact that freedom is so frightening to many of us that we would almost prefer a gilded cage, as long as we're more or less comfortable in other respects. I've also seen that assumption reflected in the speeches and interviews of certain people whose motives, let's just say, I question.
You see something really similar to this impulse in celebrity worship, too, which is sort of the modern-day king- (and queen-) making.
I thought this was a really interesting discussion around the weirdness of our fascination around celebrity, and from a somewhat unlikely source (although he certainly has good reason to have been contemplating it) ~ Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey Baretheon on Game of Thrones.
Here's the whole interview, I highly recommend checking it out, if you have time:
For me, I'm realizing that both of these types of manifestations are a twisting of a much more pure impulse in me, one that looks for ways out of my current circumstances into something that's higher, better imagined, more truly myself.
I don't want to be like those people, not exactly...I want to be as much MYSELF as they seem to be, at least to me. Granted, I don't know most of the people I have fan girl type crushes on, but I want to be as fearless as they seem to me. I want to be as authentic, and in some cases, as generous as they seem to me, and as kind.
I want to have real confidence, the kind that means you're not afraid of being wrong, or looking like a fool, or making a mistake. One that can roll its eyes at people who laugh and point, or better yet, laugh with them, or find some way to turn my mistake into something beautiful, something that might help others who struggle with the same thing.
I want to stand my ground against people who want to twist me into something I'm not.
I think that's why I have such a strong negative reaction to people who try to twist that impulse for emulation and self-growth in others. It's a cliche, but it's a responsibility when you're in the public eye. I don't mean that in a "Miley-Cyrus-Should-Put-On-Some-Clothes" kind of way, but more in the sense that you can't use that position solely as a means of accumulating more power for yourself, or you're abusing the charge, as far as I'm concerned.
If you use it to create little fiefdoms of adulation and agreement, you're truly lost.
Anyway, I'm sure this is a topic I'll continue to chew on now and then, since free will and people who try to constrain that for their own purposes is a topic I tend to obsess on more generally.
For now, I'll leave you with some of my own personal idols, at least a tiny snapshot of them at this moment in time...(and this is no where near exhaustive)...
Hope you're all having a lovely post-blood-moon Tuesday...
Let the fracturing begin!
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