When intellect was grace and each word imbued with wisdom, humanity craned its collective head to listen. The likes of Newton, Gallileo and Einstein, all were venerated for their reach into the hidden secrets of science and society, so much so that their bones, fingers and brain respectively, were held in awe for centuries.
Sometime in the 20th century a different core of “intellectuals” emerged. These were driven by sycophants, adoring groups and the easily influenced. Joseph Goebbels spoke of the Fuhrer as the “natural, creative instrument of divine fate.” This knee-bending worship led to the creation of tyranny that took seven years of war to demolish. And yet that same thought continues today. From the “broken individuals” who find fame and wealth in Hollywood to the young minds that create magic on a silicon wafer we are engulfed by a sea of the "adoring" and the “adored.”
Equally we find it emotionally satisfying to pin the hopes of the planet earth on the worship of a single human being, who flawed in his humanity, as all humans are, is made to be the one to stop the ocean levels to rise. When reality, cuffed and bound, eventually staggers in, the disappointment is great.
Besides our desire to adore and worship humans, we also have this uncanny want to put non-human entities on the pedestals. The oft-mentioned and mostly deferred to even in the echelons of medicine is the much adored Centers of Disease Control or CDC. The fault lines of this entity of late suggest that even though the brick and mortar in Atlanta has an imposing visage, it is still governed by a group of fallible human beings. The “hissing doorways” in their Level Four containment centers. The highly infectious bacterial agents lying in containers outside of containment areas and the recent debacle in Ebola virus strategies point to the failings of such pedestal exposed ornamental worship, especially when politics and personal fame override the charter of such entities.
Enough with this hero worship. We should finally come to an understanding that what is at play is “… a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Maybe we should encourage all to gain access to their potential and reap the rewards from the intellect of the many rather than venerate one to the exclusion of the many and make him or her the tyrant that any hero-worship is wont to. Maybe it is time to do some critical thinking on our own rather than rely on some propped-up patron.
Maybe we should let meritocracy rise above mediocrity for those that strive. If we are careful not to suppress it through arbitrary means for fear of loss of political power and self-enrichment and put natural constraints against limitless power, we just might have a functional society. It might be time to let Kant’s “Reason” rise to the surface in our thinking and analyses and Bentham’s “greatest happiness principle” to espouse the “nonsense on stilts” of the natural law.