Sunday, June 28, 2009

Attention Part 2

I see fame as a major way of seeking attention on the mental, psychological physical, and emotional level. From my personal experience when I performed on stage I watched the world stop and zoom in on me. Although I performed because I loved to dance maybe there was a more subconscious reason which was the search for glory and attention. The fact that everybody was hanging off my every move was breathtaking and enticing. It is quite an addictive feeling that consumes you once you are on that stage!

I want to explore a concept that I mentioned earlier. I think the root for that attention could also be low self esteem or insecurity. Why do we have to be acknowledged for the things we do, is it because we have the need to be valued and told that we are important? There are two possible outcomes that can occur as a result of other people's perceptions of us. One of the outcomes is that you can thrive off other people's positive perceptions. Another outcome is that you can wither off of other people's negative perceptions. Ultimately our self esteem is affected by the comments that other people direct towards us and how people view us. If people give us attention and view us in a positive light we feel good about ourselves. If people view us in a negative light then we do not feel so good about ourselves.

Any attention that we can get is a psychological signal telling us that people like us and that we are significant figures in society. If we receive awards and trophies for athletic and scholastic achievement society perceives us as prominent people. These are all forms of attention. But why do we need it? Ultimately I believe we need it for the sake of superficially building our self esteem, filling some type of void, and covering up any insecurities. Attention temporarily heals any wounds from our past. But attention seeking is ubiquitous and it cannot be escaped. It can only go so far in making ourselves feel better about ourselves. In the end it is who we are inside and how we realistically feel about ourselves despite the negative perceptions, ridicule and name-calling that will help us grow. This genuinely autonomous feeling of being important will carry us to a higher state of inner being and higher plateau of self esteem! I am going to leave you with words from one the greatest artists of the century, Hector Lavoe.

Yo, soy el cantante
muy popular donde quiera;
pero cuando el show se acaba
soy otro humano cualquiera.

Y sigo mi vida
con risas y penas
con ratos amargos
y con cosas buena

Translation: I am the singer, very popular wherever I go
but when the show is over I am just a regular guy.

And I still live my life with cries and laughs
Through the good times and the bad

Clearly Hector Lavoe got the attention he wanted and the one that everybody else craved. As the lyrics depicted, he realized that he was a regular guy but his inner state wasn't stable and he wasn't happy. Attention at the most extreme level does not make you happy. Attention is essentially unnecessary. You have to be in control of your emotions and have an inner sense of value and self esteem in order to know you are special!

Attention Part 1

Pardon my use of vulgarity but for the sake of illustrating my point I will use this word one time. Why are we (by we I mean humans) such attention whores. I mean really, why does everybody from Michael Jackson to the kid everybody picked on in third grade crave attention!?!?!?

Is it due to some innate sense of low self esteem, which can only be elevated by receiving attention. Or is it symbolic of a deeper and larger issue? The issue of wanting to be accepted and understood. Or is that we need to be constantly recognized in a public fashion. Or is it due to the desire to achieve fame and to be extolled. Or it could be as simple as looking for that approval which we lack. These are all individual postulates for what the answer could be. Maybe the answer is multifaceted and all of these factors contribute to reason why we search for attention. From my perspective there could be no right or wrong answer since everybody has their own opinion. But I have my own theory.

We are all attention mongers. Everybody has a different level of what I call the attention seeking syndrome, some more severe than others. I think everybody has an individual subconscious reason for seeking attention that which we may or may not be aware of. Some people I think seek attention for egotistical purposes. This group of attention mongers will do anything in their power to be publicly acknowledged because they love the spotlight. They may seek attention through telling jokes, or showcasing talents that are other forms of entertainment such as dancing or singing. Some people even seek attention by making random comments such as "I'm tired" when they are clearly not or they will speak about an event they attended over the weekend when nobody asked. Or some people will yearn for people to call, text, or I'm them so they can feel special. This is an alternative form of attention seeking. I am guilty of this form of attention mongering! We even seek attention by wearing certain clothes that will make us appear provocative (for females) and dapper(for men. We also like to draw attention by wearing uncanny articles of clothing or jewelry)! Anytime we defy the norm with our fashion we seek attention!

I am intrigued by the possible cause of attention seeking. There must be some nascent quality that humans possess which stimulates the necessity to be recognized. One universal mode of attention seeking is the pursuit of fame. Why are humans so obsessed with being famous and being on television. Honestly Hollywood stars are recognized so much more than the person who cured Polio. Again I was allured by the thought of being rich and famous but with further analysis of the invasive lives that celebrities lead I examined my desire to be famous! I must admit I used to perform with a dance troupe in college and the euphoria that runs through your veins when you are on stage is indescribable. Hundreds, thousands of people come to watch you perform all at the same time never mind cheer you on. Again the key word in the previous sentence was "you", everybody else on stage wasn't even acknowledged which points towards the innate egotism of the human existence!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Talented Tenth

I have always wondered if this concept of the talented tenth really exists. By the talented tenth I mean an elite group of people who are bound for unparalleled success. I ask this philosophical question because I have met people that grow up in the worst socioeconomic conditions however grow up to be very successful. This special group of people have the outstanding ability to overlook the negativity and to overcome insurmountable obstacles. I know somebody who fits this archetype. He is a doctor and his two sisters are lawyers. The image most people have of these three young professionals entailed them coming from a family where being a lawyer or a doctor is the norm and they are just following in everybody else''s footsteps. This is because our preconceived notions which are influenced by society have conditioned us to think that people of a certain social class or racial background are not supposed to or just aren't capable of attaining such status.

Well to no surprise my friend and his two sisters are Latinos from the housing projects in New York City. Him and his two sisters have broken so many barriers by going to college and on top of that they decided to shatter the ceiling by acquiring a graduate degree. This vanguard is not only the exception but an anomaly. To survive a situation in which the surroundings are despondent is incredible to say the least. It takes a special person to have that drive and self motivation. But what I don't understand is why doesn't everybody get up and out of the hood if he was able to do it.

My answer is that there are only a few people who are predestined for greatness while many others will fall into the mediocre category especially coming from an urban environment. The prestigous cohort also known as the talented tenth has has their fair share of trails and tribulations . I also have a theory that people who grow up in impoverished neighborhoods are mentally stagnant and believe they can't achieve what is not tangible. But the talented tenth is an innately brilliant group of people who are overachievers in their own right, and are divinely inspired to be leaders of the world. They view the world through a different lens and see innummerbale possibilities while visualizing their future! These prominent people are born to accomplish great things and already have a path set out for them. But it is up to each person to realize their destiny and fulfill their true potential. I want to let you in on a little secret though. Anybody could be in the talented tenth if you wanted to be. As long as you believe in a higher power, work hard and you utilize the power of the mind then anything is achieveable.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Masks 2

Other modes of fakeness derive from pursuing ephemeral acquisitions that give you temporary highs such as fame and Hollywood. This encourages people to be more superficial and focus on material things rather than focus on the genuine fabric and substance of our inner selves that make us human. However we as people naturally yearn for attention by seeking popularity or other modes of public acknowledgement while trying to attain the material goods in order to fit in. Some people do not have the financial backing to purchase material goods but in order to fit in they succumb to society's norms and buy them anyway. For example some people in and around Hollywood wear strictly name brand clothing. What does the name brand clothing mean? In a sense it is a symbol of artificiality. It is a symbol of “prestige and affluence”. If you wear a Gucci suit it doesn't make you any better of a person than the next person who got their suit at a discount store? The clothes is just covering up who you really are so form this perspective it is fake. Another way somebody can be fake is by saying they are going to do something but never do it. If you tell me you are going to take down my number to call me and then act like we are the best of friends when we really aren't but you never call me then this is unacceptable and fake.

Another more common way that we show our fakeness is by hiding our feelings or not exposing our true feelings. We should be more transparent about our lives and less guarded. I understand that transparency can simultaneously show vulnerability but it is when we are the most vulnerable that we can forge close connections with one another. Being transparent about our lives has the power of making us more intimate as social beings on this planet.

One of my favorite divinely inspired quotes is: you can only perpetuate a facade for so long until your genuine self is revealed. You can put up a front for as long as you want but sooner or later the veracity of your character will surface. Your genuine self will be exposed like it or not. The truth is ugly at times but it must be revealed in order for us to grow. THE TRUTH SHALL PREVAIL IT IS INEVITABLE! People have so many masks that they can't figure out which one to wear anymore. Do you pick the facade or the truth? Being somebody else is easy, now being yourself is an arduous task!


This is something I have thought about intermittently. I thought about how many fake people I have met in my life and I must say that there is an overwhelmingly populous amount of "fake" people that out populate genuine people. Is being genuine "played out" or is it blaze or uninteresting. There is so much fakeness that I find myself stratifying different levels and modes of fakeness. Many people put of a facade that masquerades their true feelings, thoughts and most importantly their true selves. Maybe its because the majority of the world is fake in one way or another so it becomes daunting to be real and remain grounded.

The levels of fakeness I have observed are distinct but carry a similar theme, act one way in a situation and be a total different person in another situation. One of the fakest behaviors I have seen is where you know somebody and they greet you one day but the next day they act like they never met you in the first place. Another very common fake behavior is where a group of people are in a room but as soon as that person leaves they begin speak about them and then another person leaves the room and people start speaking about them behind their backs. The cycle never ends; even best friends when you are not around may bad mouth you. Unfortunately this possibility is part of life and sometimes we have to deal with it because we would like to conserve our friendships. But most of the time we have a choice to voice our opinion and have the golden opportunity of being truthful without being fake. This "fake" behavior is honestly appalling. This is foreshadowing of future betrayal amongst other things. The realest people will be completely honest with you and are not afraid to disclose who they are.

Another mode of fakeness is one where people refuse to be honest with one another. Like when people lie to each other about trivial matters. If somebody asks you: what do you think about their outfit, you should just speak your mind and tell the truth. Instead, most people will say it look goods in order to appease the person although
they disapprove with what the person is wearing. Other ways that people are fake is by personifying or impersonating somebody they are not. For example if you work at the local grocery store but you tell people you that you are a rock artist, releasing an album soon on a major label, and waiting to go on tour. This scenario would lead me to question how genuine you are you. Why is it necessary to emulate an image that is not yours, especially if it is not an image that you would like to portray? This action implies that you do not feel comfortable in your own skin so you try to embody somebody else's life that is not yours. I really do not see the logic in this especially since people are eventually bound to be scrutinized and exposed for who they really are.