In today’s world fame is not merely seen as a by-product or as a consequence of achieving something; fame is pursued directly and as a goal in and of itself.
With there being numerous examples of people who place fame as the ultimate achievement in life and above anything else; it might seem that fame is what one is on this planet to attain.
In the past one typically became famous through what they had given to the world. And although this might have not always been something that benefited humanity, it was usually something significant.
In the modern day world, there are people that are routinely in the media who are classed as being famous simply for being famous.
It would be easy to say that the majority of people who are famous today have very little to offer and that they are famous simply because they have been in the media so often. But if these people are in the media, then they are fulfilling certain needs that society has.
These needs may be different to the needs of long ago, at least on the surface, but they are needs nevertheless. And unless people needed what they were offering, then these people wouldn’t be elevated to the position of being famous.
On one side we have the desire of some individuals to be famous. And on the other side we have the individual that is prepared to look up to and assist in another person achieving fame. It is a symbiotic relationship; where In order for one to exist, the other also has to exist.
Now, as I have stated above, fame per se is not negative or dysfunctional, it is often unavoidable and merely a consequence of doing something that one enjoys. For an individual that enjoys singing, playing an instrument or for someone who enjoys acting, due to the nature of what they are doing, it is often natural for them to become famous.
However, this type of fame is not pursued directly by the individual. It just so happens that what they like doing, interests enough people and therefore they will become famous.
The other type of fame is not achieved through people appreciating and valuing what one has to offer the world, the other type of fame is fuelled out of the need to be famous.
And how this person achieves this is not important, all that is important is to be famous.
One might ask: is being famous the highest possible achievement in today’s world? Is this the whole purpose of life itself? Let’s pause here and take a moment to reflect on this modern day obsession and addiction.
Is This New?
What is clear to see is that this is a relatively new occurrence in the world, at least in its current expression; but I think it would be naive to think that this means it is a desire that didn’t exist before.
The reasons that motivate an individual to want to be famous may have existed for a long time, before this craze came to the fore in today’s world. What today’s world has created, with the development and power of the media and through the internet, is a platform for fame to exist and to grow like never before.
One might also argue that this has a lot to do with our survival needs and that the more people one knows, the better chance one has of surviving. And I believe there is an element of truth here, and what it also clear to see is that in the modern day world, one doesn’t need to be famous in order to survive.
A Closer Look
I believe that in order to understand people’s motivations and behaviours, one has to look not only at another’s current psychological disposition, but also at anothers childhood development.
Ones childhood may have occurred many years ago and one may have no interest in psychology today. The body might have changed and one may have had many experiences since that time, however one thing has remained.
The Inner Child
How the inner child affects ones life today will depend on the quality of their upbringing and also if they have done any work on themselves. The needs of a child are going to be radically different to the needs of an adult.
A child is described as being egocentric and this is ultimately because the child doesn’t have the capacity at the age to be any other way. This is neither good nor bad; it is just how a child is.
The child has to rely on its caregivers to take care of every need it has. This could be to do with being loved unconditionally, being emotionally mirrored and validated and being accepted and approved of.
As Time Goes By
When these needs are not met during ones childhood, ones inner child will have been wounded during these important stages. And what this will then do is influence and affect ones present day needs, wants and behaviours. The wounded inner child is also what conditions ones ego mind.
Here one will regress to the wounded inner child and will then become emotionally dependent on others. And this is because a child has no way of validating or approving itself; it has to gain this externally through its caregivers.
These needs of the inner child cannot be fulfilled directly and this is due them being childhood needs and not adult needs. As the child has no way of fulfilling these needs, it meant that these needs were insatiable and needed to be constantly fulfilled by caregivers.
And when one regresses to these needs today, it is like an abyss; these needs can never be met directly and will only lead to obsessive and compulsive behaviour.
One has to grieve these forgotten needs and to acknowledge and validate what happened. This is possible through awareness, observing what is occurring and feeling these original feelings and not through the attachment to what happened.
What is evident among people who want to be famous or who are famous is there constant need for attention. It is as if they have no identity other than the one that is given to them by other people. Whether they feel good or bad or love or hate themselves is being defined by the views of other people.
The ability to approve or accept themselves internally does not seem to be in action. And although they are adults, their behaviour is very similar to that of a needy and egocentric child.
And just like how a child can only be regulated through other people, people that desire fame also often exhibit this inability to regulate themselves.
What this shows is how powerful this wounded inner child is and that as long as it is left unobserved, it will continue to affect and influence ones life.
The Other Side
So what about the people who help to elevate these individuals, what is their benefit? What is occurring here is an action of the ego mind called - identification. Here the ego mind will identify with people who are expressing the behaviours that it wants to display.
And through this process one can feel and experience these things through the attachment to the other person.
I believe that the obsessive need for fame in today’s world is a consequence of ones childhood. On the surface these people can be judged as attention seekers and as being self centred.
While this is an appropriate description; I believe that what we are seeing is the emergence of ones wounded inner child. And this child is craving all the things that it didn’t have taken care of many years ago. This age regression will continue to appear, until one has validated and acknowledged these neglected childhood needs.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.