This week after watching Kevin Macdonald’s film Marley I noticed Great Men. They are recognised for what they do in the world. Greatness is heaped upon them. They are revered for the influence and reach over the globe, alive or dead. Macdonald said “There’s a reason why he’s on every student wall” Marley and Chee Guevara. They wanted to change the world and make it a better place: which is an attractive notion to all of us.
In our 21st century culture we make people like Marley and Chee Guevara into role models. Apparently we need role models?
But it seems that one of the criteria of a role model is the outside influence the man has on the world. What about the inside influence? What does this mean? The inner world? Intimate and family relationships? What appears to be a challenge for great men is to be able to both the outside and the inside. The inside is the one to suffer. Wives and children feeling left and abandoned as they cannot compete with a world audience. Perhaps it is the same as in the more mundane world of life and work that having a big career takes a lot of time and energy. An international career eclipses everything else. Another factor appears to be an early lack of recognition leading to issues of identity, to be compensated for by world recognition. Great men seem to want to make up for something.
What does it say about our world that we revere great men who excel outside, and not do so well inside? This idea is so well established that it is difficult to imagine any other way: such as people being revered for the inside. This seems so problematic and that it is not worth consideration. Great Men need the rest of the world to buy what they are selling. Perhaps the inside is done better by the rest of the world? Perhaps Great Men are not so great? What about Great Women?
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2012
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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.