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The desire for fame has its roots in the experience of neglect, in injury. No one would want to be famous who hadn’t also, somewhere in the past, been made to feel extremely insignificant.
We sense the need for a great deal of admiring attention when we have been painfully exposed to earlier deprivation.
Perhaps one’s parents were hard to impress. They never noticed one much, they were so busy with other things, focusing on other famous people, unable to have or express kind feelings, or just working too hard.
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When one has an insignificant or even traumatic childhood, one dreams that some day the world will pay attention.
We also believe then when we’re finally famous, our parents will have to admire us too (which throws up an insight into one of the great signs of good parenting: that your chil...
When we imagine fame, we forget that it is inextricably connected to being too visible in the eyes of some, to bugging them unduly, to coming to be seen as the plausible cause of their humiliation: a symbol of how the world has treated them unfairly.
So soon enough, the world will start...
Every new famous person who disintegrates breaks down in public or loses their mind is judged in isolation, rather than being interpreted as a victim of an inevitable pattern within the pathology of fame.
The world isn’t generally kind to the famous for very long. The reason is basic: the s...
What is common to all dreams of fame: Being known to strangers emerges as a solution to a hurt. It presents itself as the answer to a deep need to be appreciated and treated decently by other people.
And yet fame cannot accomplish what is asked of it. It does have advantages, which...
Fame is deeply attractive because it seems to offer very significant benefits.
The fantasies go like this: when you are famous, wherever you go, your good reputation will precede you.
People will think well of you, because your merits have been impressively explained in advance. You...
Social media hasn’t helped. It’s made it far easier than before to be famous. And therefore, by necessity, far easier to be hated. A minor celebrity can now regularly face all the vitriol previously accorded only to Hollywood stars.
Paradoxically, the famous are the very last people on eart...
But even if our parents were warm and full of praise, there might still be a problem. It might be that it was the buffeting and indifference of the wider world (starting with the schoolyard) that was intolerable after all the early years of adulation at home.
One might have emerged from fa...
Every worst fear about oneself (that one is stupid, ugly, not worthy of existence) will daily be actively confirmed by strangers.
One will be exposed to the fact that people one has never met, about whom one would have only goodwill, actively loathe one.
One will learn that detestat...
For those who are already famous, the only way to stay sane is to stop listening to what the wider world is saying. This applies to the good things as much as to the bad. It is best not to know.
The wise person knows that their products need attention. But they make a clear distinction bet...
Fame makes people more, not less, vulnerable, because it throws them open to unlimited judgement.
Everyone is wounded by a cruel assessment of their character or merit.
But the famous have an added challenge in store. The assessments will come in from legions of people who would nev...
At a collective, political level we should pay great attention to the fact that, today, so many people (particularly young ones) want to be famous – and even see fame as a necessary condition for a successful life. Rather than dismiss this wish, we should grasp its underlying worrying meaning: th...
Fame really just means you get noticed a great deal – not that you get understood, appreciated or loved.
At an individual level, the only mature strategy is to give up on fame. The aim that lay behind the desire for fame remains important. One does still want to be apprecia...
Everything we thought about being famous is wrong.
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