The average person does not in any way have an impact on major developments in the world. Be accomplishments in politics, science, business, architecture, literature, the common man does not contribute in any major way. He listens to what he is told in the media and by his favorite politicians. He doesn’t question, reason or think. He follows and takes orders, he doesn’t lead, change or create. He thinks and stays inside the box.
Only very few people have the drive and the ability to create, change, and improve things. The greatest technological accomplishments in this world, such as electricity, motor vehicles, aviation, or computers were not made by a collective herd of compliant individuals. They were the work of a few innovative, industrious, and contrarian researchers and businessmen.
Today the American worker enjoys goods and services that a Croesus or the Medici would have envied him for. But he doesn’t realize that it was very few brilliant people before him who made this possible. He mostly takes these things for granted. He doesn’t acknowledge his deficiency when compared to these individuals, in fact he generally scorns them as intellectual elitists.
Those few who create, change, and innovate are caught in a precarious predicament. They need to produce for a large number of people who generally display poor judgment, bad taste, and consume goods of little intellectual value. This is particularly true in the fields of entertainment and literature. The majority of people prefers shallow movies and novels. But in a relatively free system the producers have no choice. They have to serve their consumers as they please and subordinate their will to the wishes of the masses.
Nobody likes to accept the fact that he himself is a tiny cog in a huge machine and that he has contributed nothing to the accomplishments of his age. Thus he finds refuge in the words of the politicians. The people who tell him that all humans are equal. That no one person contributes more than another. Thus he falls for the soothsayers of collectivism. He begins to sympathize with the mindless blather of the worshipers of nature, the people who tell him that human accomplishments will always be inferior to the creations of the seas, the earth, and the winds, that the merely man-made New York skyline is dwarfed by the colossal beauty of the Alps, the Sierra Nevada mountains, or the redwood trees of the Yosemite valley. He finds comfort in the words of religions that tell him that in the end we’ll all be judged by god in heaven and that mundane accomplishments won’t matter anyway.
Thus he begins placing his trust in government instead of in his own capacities. The government, as the mystical force that can conjure up wealth out of nothing. The government that tells him everything he wants to hear. The government that represents the mighty collective versus the callous and rugged individual. The government that will fix all his problems. The thought of that is way too appealing to be cast aside as a result of any logical reasoning. Plus an army of self styled intellectuals stands ready with simple and shallow justifications for any government policy, no matter how mindless and harmful it will be.
Thus he begins placing his trust in the god almighty instead of human logic and reason. God, the ultimate judge of all his inferior children. God who will welcome him in his benign aegis as one among equals once his sorry mundane life is over. Again an army of self styled intellectuals stands ready with simple and shallow justifications for any particular religion one happens to have fallen prey to.
Justification for one’s relevance unwittingly turns into a genuine hatred of mankind in general, and ultimately self hatred.
Ayn Rand put it best in The Fountainhead. When the opportunistic, yet brilliant publisher Gail Wynand tells his soon to be wife Dominique on their romantic excursion on his yacht:
“[T]he person who loves everybody and feels at home everywhere is the true hater of mankind. He expects nothing of men, so no form of depravity can outrage him.”
“You mean the person who says that there’s some good in the worst of us?”
“I mean the person who has the filthy insolence to claim that he loves equally the man who made that statue of you and the man who makes a Mickey Mouse balloon to sell on street corners. I mean the person who loves the men who prefer the Mickey Mouse to your statue-and there are many of that kind. I mean the person who loves Joan of Arc and the salesgirls in dress shops on Broadway-with equal fervor. I mean the person who loves your beauty and the women he sees in a subway-the kind that can’t cross their knees and show flesh hanging publicly over their garters-with the same sense of exaltation. I mean the person who loves the clean, steady, unfrightened eyes of man looking through a telescope and the white stare of an imbecile-equally.”
“You’ve never felt how small you were when looking at the ocean.”
“Never. Nor looking at the planets. Nor at mountain peaks. Nor at the Grand Canyon. Why should I? When I look at the ocean, I feel the greatness of man. I think of man’s magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that senseless space. When I look at mountain peaks, I think of tunnels and dynamite. When I look at the planets, I think of airplanes.”
“It’s interesting to speculate on the reasons that make men so anxious to debase themselves. As in that idea of feeling small before nature. It’s not a bromide, it’s practically an institution. Have you noticed how self-righteous a man sounds when he tells you about it? Look, he seems to say, I’m so glad to be a pygmy, that’s how virtuous I am. Have you heard with what delight people quote some great celebrity who’s proclaimed that he’s not so great when he looks at Niagara Falls? It’s as if they were smacking their lips in sheer glee that their best is dust before the brute force of an earthquake. As if they were sprawling on all fours, rubbing their foreheads in the mud to the majesty of a hurricane. But that’s not the spirit that leashed fire, steam, electricity, that crossed oceans in sailing sloops, that built airplanes and dams . . . and skyscrapers. What is it they fear? What is it they hate so much, those who love to crawl? And why?”
It is ultimately their own deficiency they hate. It is what makes them follow false ideas. But ultimately there is no problem with deficiency per se, so long as one accepts it and makes an effort to improve. The problems only arise when people reject reality, refuse to improve, and begin to delude themselves.