Human beings have a tendency to admire people who have been portrayed as great teachers and leaders – people who seem to exemplify what is good and great in this world – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem arises when we view these people as being somehow different from ourselves; we put them on a pedastol for their great deeds and wise words, but in doing so, we paint a false picture of that person and bring judgement into the equation.
These judgments usually come in the form of praise, and yes, praise is a form of judgement, just as is condemnation. The very act of judging someone prevents us from viewing them as our equal, as another part of ourselves – instead, they are either above us or below us.
Stick To The Message
It is possible to listen to the great and impactful messages that have contributed to changing our world for the better, but it’s also important (I believe) that we stick to what resonated with us in the first place – the message itself.
Imagine yourself reading some wonderful words of wisdom – close your eyes and just picture it. Now picture the name beside the quote as Hitler. What does that do to your mind? How does it change the way you feel about the words that were said? Some of the most beautiful words and action shave come from what society perceives to be the most awful people. Everybody has that light within them, some are just disconnected from it.
What if one day we found out that Ghandi was a murderer, would his words of wisdom stop resonating with your heart? Or would your judgement of his actions cause the words to no longer resonate? Murder might be a little extreme, but do you get my point? Would it make him a “bad” man? What about all the revolutionary feats he accomplished? What about all the “good” he has done for the planet and for so many people?
That being said, there is nothing wrong with looking at someone in a positive light. Really, we should do it more often. It becomes problematic, however, when we begin to think that they are somehow “better” than others. It’s more probable that the people we elevate to sainthood would tell you themselves that they are simply regular people and would rather be viewed as such.
Idolization Triggers Ego In Others
Another issue with regards to someone who is seen in a “different” light by most, or as some sort of “saint,” is the fact that this kind of idolization tends to trigger an ego reaction in others. People become insulted by the fact that the “saint” is seen in that “special” light. For example, if I told you something terrible about Jesus (just as an example), that only his sister or best friend knew, there might be something within that sister or best friend that wants others who hold Jesus in such high regard to know what that terrible thing is. It’s the idea that they are not “deserving” to be seen in that light, but truth is, nobody is. We’re all the same, we are all equal, and we should all be viewed in that regard. Look at someone else and see their beauty, no matter who it is or what they’ve done: that’s how you can change lives. It’s also important to note that helping one person in some way is the same as helping a million; it’s the intent in your heart that matters, so if you have a strong desire to help others you are already making a giant impact from that desire alone (it will turn into action). Do what you do and don’t ever feel like your contributions are not great enough if you are doing what you can with all of your heart.
These ideas are something that I’ve always thought about and questioned, and I was happy to see Russell Brand, an actor/comedian and quite popular celebrity figure, touch on the topic a couple of years ago. He was travelling the world giving his talk, “The Messiah Complex.” He has made a lot of noise lately, and it’s great to see a celebrity (because they can reach so many people) raise their voice in an attempt to change the world for the better.
He made some great points, the main one being that even truly great people like Ghandi are “flawed.” Ghandi is a great example, he is as close to a saint as almost anyone in history, and is an immensely positive role model. He coined the term “be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you want love, be love, if you want peace, be peace, if you want health, be healthy. It’s a phrase that deeply resonates with all of us here at Collective Evolution, and obviously many others around the globe.
Did you know that Gandhi married a girl who was only 13 at the time? Gandhi was often arrested for his revolutionary ideas and opposition to corruption and state, and as a result his wife sometimes accompanied him to prison. She became very ill, however, and while medicine was available he did not let her take it. He did not let her have a say in the matter and as a result she died. Two weeks later he caught the same disease, but took the medicine that was offered to him.
This is a great example of flawed or unusual actions taken by people who we consider heroes, and I believe this is a good thing to share, that it’s something we really need to be aware of. It doesn’t change the fact that they were all prepared to die for what they believe in, and had tremendously large hearts, and were excellent examples for all humans.
Malcolm X is another example, a reformed “criminal” who did a lot of drugs, and served a lot of time for “pimping” women.
Despite shedding light on a side to these people many people don’t really know about (or necessarily wish to hear), these stories don’t change the fact that they are responsible for some of the greatest deeds and messages to play a part in changing our world for the better. If they could see just how widespread the movement they had a hand in kick-starting has become, no doubt their hearts would fill with joy.
Russell has a gift, he is very good at being articulate while still being relatable to everyone – not just politicians and academics; he really knows how to drive a message home. He definitely does a better job than me on this subject and provides us with many thought provoking points. The video below is long, but I thought I’d post it here for those who are interested in having a listen. He goes into more detail about four figures that currently have saint-like status, three of which are mentioned in the title of this article.
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